Mercury Transport in the Carson River Basin
- Feasibility Studies
- Site Characterization
- Lahontan Reservoir, NV
- Carson River Basin, NV
||To Be Determined. Could include streambank stabilization
and the creation of an upstream reservoir.
Due to concerns about elevated levels of mercury in fish in the
Carson River Basin from Dayton, NV, to the Lahontan Reservoir, the
Nevada State Division of Health is advising anglers to not eat fish
caught from this part of the river basin. The source of the mercury
in this part of the Carson River Basin comes from the erosion of
upstream bank sediments that were severely contaminated with mercury
during gold mining operations in the late 1800s at the Virginia
City Comstock Load in the upper part of the Basin. In response to
the growing concern about the mercury contamination in the Basin,
USGS scientists in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (USEPA) began an investigation in April 2001 to determine
factors affecting the fate and transport of mercury species in Lahontan
Reservoir, part of the Carson River Basin. Based on methods developed
by the USGS Toxic Substances Hydrology Program's San
Francisco Bay studies, USGS scientists are determining the remobilization
and discharge of mercury species from sediments of Lahontan Reservoir.
The magnitude of the remobilization is estimated by determining the benthic flux of dissolved contaminants from the reservoir’s bottom sediments. In addition, water-column chemistry and mercury methylation/demethylation
rates are being determined to provide a scientific basis for remedial
actions for the reservoir and watershed, both in terms of water-quality
and fisheries resources. Based on these measurements by the USGS
research team, a mercury fate and transport model will be constructed
for the Lahontan Reservoir by our collaborators at the University
of Toronto. This information will then be used by USEPA (Region
9) to assess various remediation strategies aimed at reducing methylmercury
production and bioaccumulation in the Reservoir and the river/wetland
- James Kuwabara, USGS, National Research Program, Menlo Park,
- Mark Marvin-Dipasquale, USGS, National Research Program, Menlo
- Kuwabara, J.S., Marvin-Dipasquale, M., Praskins, W., Byron,
E., Topping, B.R., Carter, J.L., Fend, S.V., Parchaso, F., and
Krabbenhoft, D.P., 2002,
of dissolved forms of mercury across the sediment-water interface
in Lahontan Reservoir, Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources
Investigations Report 02-4138, 48 p.
- Bevans, H.E., Lico, M.S., and Lawrence, S.J., 1998,
- Water quality
in the Las Vegas Valley Area and the Carson and Truckee River
Basins, Nevada and California, 1992-96,: U.S. Geological Survey
Circular 1170, updated March 19, 1998.
- Hoffman R.J., Taylor R.L., 1998,
- Mercury and suspended sediment, Carson River Basin, Nevada--Loads
to and from Lahontan Reservoir in flood year 1997 and deposition
in Reservoir prior to 1983: U. S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet
FS-001-98, 6 p.
- Hoffman R.J., Thomas K.A., 2000,
- Methylmercury in Water and Bottom Sediment Along the Carson
River System, Nevada and California, September 1998: U.S. Geological
Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 00-4013, 17 p.
- Kuwabara, J.S., Berelson, W.M., Balistrieri, L.S., Woods, P.F.,
Topping, B.R., Steding, D.J., and Krabbenhoft, D.P., 2000,
flux of metals and nutrients into the water column of Lake Coeur
d'Alene, Idaho---Report of an August, 1999, pilot study: U.S.
Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 00-4132,
- Marvin-DiPasquale, M., Agee, J., McGowan, C., Oremland, R.S.,
Thomas, M., Krabbenhoft, D., and Gilmour, C.C., 2000,
degradation pathways--A comparison among three mercury-impacted
ecosystems: Environmental Science and Technology, v. 34, no.
23, p. 4908-4916.
- Topping, B.R., Kuwabara, J.S., Parchaso, F., Hager, S.W., Arnsberg,
A.J., and Murphy, F., 2001,
- Benthic flux
of dissolved nickel into the water column of South San Francisco
Bay: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 01-89, 50 p.
Other Studies Using the Same Methods to Determine the Benthic
Flux of Metals
USGS Studies Related to Mercury Remediation
San Francisco Bay Information
Back to Toxics Program Remediation Activities Index