Occurrence and Potential Risk of Microplastics in Lake Mead and the Delaware River

Science Center Objects

There is mounting evidence that microplastics present a significant threat to aquatic organisms. Microplastics – defined as plastic particles less than 5 mm in diameter – come from many different sources, including synthetic textiles, industrial waste products, personal care products, and the breakdown of litter, car tires, and other objects. This study will assess the occurrence of microplastics in water, sediment, fish, and mussels in two National Park Service-managed waterways: Lake Mead National Recreation Area and the Upper, Middle, and Lower segments of the Delaware National Wild and Scenic River. Results from this study will provide NPS managers and the public with a better understanding of microplastic occurrence, sources, and potential risk to aquatic organisms in these treasured national waterways.