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TP11 Metals in the Environment: Aquatic Biological Perspectives
(ALL-1117-491204) Longitudinal characterization of stream communities downstream of lead mining in the Missouri Ozarks.
Allert, A1, Fairchild, J1, Schmitt, C1, Besser, J1, Poulton, B1, Brumbaugh, W1, DiStefano, R2, 1 USGS-CERC, Columbia, MO, USA2 Missouri Department of Conservation, Columbia, MO, USA
ABSTRACT- The Viburnum Trend mining district in the Ozark region of southeast Missouri is one of the largest producers of lead ore in the world. Exploration for additional ore deposits in the Mark Twain National Forest could result in expansion of mining in this region. We have studied fish and aquatic invertebrate communities at 16 sites to assess the ecological effects of lead mining in the Black River drainage. Studies conducted in summer 2004 focused on sculpins (Cottus spp.) and crayfish (Orconectes spp.) as potential indicator species for mining-related impacts. Stream surveys were conducted at four reference sites with no known upstream mining activities and at 12 sites downstream of active mining areas. Samples were collected by electrofishing (for sculpins) and kick-seining (for sculpins and crayfish) in riffle habitats. Physical stream habitat was characterized using both microhabitat variables and landscape variables. In conjunction with the community assessment, depositional sediments were collected for sediment toxicity tests, and metals (Pb, Cd, Zn, Ni, Co) were analyzed in sediment and pore water, and crayfish and sculpin tissues. Densities of sculpin, and crayfish were significantly less at sites immediately below active mines than at reference sites. Densities at sites further downstream of mining (greater than 7 km) did not differ significantly from those at reference sites. Densities of crayfish and sculpins were correlated with porewater metal concentrations, with strongest correlations observed for nickel and zinc. Mining-related impacts on crayfish could severely impact Ozark streams because crayfish play an important role in food chain processes and because they are preferred prey of predatory fishes, such as black basses (Micropterus spp.). These results are consistent with our previous findings and indicate that current mining practices in the Viburnum Trend mining district adversely affect aquatic biota at sites in the Black River drainage.
Key words: mining, sculpin, crayfish, metals
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