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Investigations of Sediment-water Interactions in Western U.S. Water Bodies
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Project Staff

San Francisco Bay, CA

Lake Coeur d'Alene, ID

Lahonton Reservoir, NV

Camp Far West Reservoir, CA

Guadalupe River Watershed, CA

Upper Klamath Lake, OR




Staff working onbaord ship at Lake Coeur d'Alene, ID

Lake Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Experimental design, data and sample collection, and analytical activities developed as a collaborative effort within and outside the U.S. Geological Survey to address, by complementary approaches, the question, "Is the magnitude of the benthic flux metalsand nutrients to or from the water column of Lake Coeur d'Alene significant relative to major reverine inputs (namely, the Coeur d'Alene and St. Joe Rivers)?" The question was motivated by a number of factors.

First, a significant mass of metal has accumulated in bottom lake sediment down gradient of long-term (decadal time scales) mining activities (links to related publications follow). One might therefore question whether some fraction of these sediment-associated solutes may become remobilized for transport to the water.

Second, initial diffusive-flux calculations indicated that benthic flux of certain dissolved metals, like zinc and lead, may be significant at certain lake locations. That is, the concentration gradient near the sediment-water interface was large enough to drive significant transport.

Third, vertical water-column gradients for all metals and nutrients (except manganese and lead) have consistently exhibited increases near the bottom sediment as one might expect when a benthic source is dissipated upwards and horizontally.

Fourth, previous work by others have shown that changes in redox conditions and nutrient availability near the sediment-water interface can dramatically alter the mobility of metals and ligands associated with the bottom sediment of the Lake.

Finally, there is a growing body of evidence from other aquatic systems that benthic flux or internal recycling of solutes is an important process to consider in developing appropriate water-quality models. The question posed in this pilot study may therefore affect our fundamental view of contaminant transport in Lake Coeur d'Alene, and hence help assess the implications of solute remobilization processes in the lake for proposed remediation activities in the Coeur D'Alene River.

Related Publications:

Free Zinc Ion and Dissolved Orthophosphate Effects on Phytoplankton from Coeur d'Alene Lake, Idaho
Environmental Science and Technology - Link to abstract

Interactive effects of dissolved zinc and orthophosphate on phytoplankton from Coeur d'Alene Lake, Idaho

Importance of Sediment-Water Interactions In Coeur d'Alene Lake, Idaho, USA: Management Implications, 2003
Environmental Management - Link to pdf

Benthic Flux of Metals and Nutrients into the Water Column of Lake Coeur D'Alene, Idaho:
Report of an August, 1999, Pilot Study

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May 6, 2016

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