IP11 Investigations of the Columbia River and Estuary (USA)
B113 & B114
8:00 AM - 12:00 PM, Thursday

(IP092) Contaminant concentrations and biomarker responses of piscivorous and benthivorous fish in the Columbia River Basin.

Hinck, J1, Schmitt, C1, Blazer, V2, Denslow, N3, Bartish, T4, Tillitt, D1, 1 USGS-CERC, Columbia, Missouri, USA2 USGS-LSC, Kearneysville, West Virginia, USA3 University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA4 USGS-MSC, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

ABSTRACT- The Biomonitoring of Environmental Status and Trends (BEST) Large River Monitoring Program measured tissue concentrations of selected contaminants and evaluated biomarker responses in carp (Cyprinus carpio), black bass (Micropterus spp.), and largescale sucker (Catostomus macrocheilus) at 16 stations in the Columbia River Basin (CRB) from September 1997 to April 1998. Sampling stations were located on the Columbia River and its major tributaries including the Snake, Willamette, Yakima, Salmon, and Flathead Rivers. Concentrations of some previously identified chemicals of concern in the CRB continued to exceed wildlife toxicity guidelines or thresholds. Concentrations of lead (>0.4 ug/g ww) in the upper Columbia River, selenium (>0.6 ug/g ww) in the lower Salmon and mid-Columbia Rivers, and mercury (>0.1 ug/g ww) throughout the basin exceeded one or more wildlife criteria. Concentrations of total DDT (>0.15 ug/g ww) that could be harmful to piscivorous wildlife were measured in fish at most stations. Total PCBs (>0.11 ug/g ww) and TCDD-EQs (>5 pg/g) exceeded wildlife guidelines in the mid- to lower Columbia River, and EROD activity was elevated at many of the same stations. Trend analysis reflected decreasing or stable concentrations of PCBs, p,p-DDE, mercury, selenium, and lead at stations where historical data were available. The variation in biomarker results, concentrations of vitellogenin, and presence of ovotestis demonstrates the necessity to evaluate multiple species in this study. Several male bass near Lewiston, ID and Warrendale, OR were identified as having ovotestis. Male bass, carp, and sucker containing low concentrations of vtg were common in the CRB, although comparatively high concentrations were measured in male fish from the CRB at Creston, MT, Grand Coulee, WA, and Pasco, WA. This study indicates some organochlorines and metals remain at concentrations of concern in CRB fish, and biomarker responses are consistent with contaminant exposure in parts of the CRB.

Key words: metals, Organochlorines, fish health, histopathology

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