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Year-round monitoring of contaminants in Neal and Rogers Creeks, Hood River Basin, Oregon, 2011-12, and assessment of risks to salmonids

June 29, 2016

Pesticide presence in streams is a potential threat to Endangered Species Act listed salmonids in the Hood River basin, Oregon, a primarily forested and agricultural basin. Two types of passive samplers, polar organic chemical integrative samplers (POCIS) and semipermeable membrane devices (SPMDs), were simultaneously deployed at four sites in the basin during Mar. 2011–Mar. 2012 to measure the presence of pesticides, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The year-round use of passive samplers is a novel approach and offers several new insights. Currently used pesticides and legacy contaminants, including many chlorinated pesticides and PBDEs, were present throughout the year in the basin’s streams. PCBs were not detected. Time-weighted average water concentrations for the 2-month deployment periods were estimated from concentrations of chemicals measured in the passive samplers. Currently used pesticide concentrations peaked during spring and were detected beyond their seasons of expected use. Summed concentrations of legacy contaminants in Neal Creek were highest during July–Sept., the period with the lowest streamflows. Endosulfan was the only pesticide detected in passive samplers at concentrations exceeding Oregon or U.S. Environmental Protection Agency water-quality thresholds. A Sensitive Pesticide Toxicity Index (SPTI) was used to estimate the relative acute potential toxicity among sample mixtures. The acute potential toxicity of the detected mixtures was likely greater for invertebrates than for fish and for all samples in Neal Creek compared to Rogers Creek, but the indices appear to be low overall (<0.1). Endosulfans and pyrethroid insecticides were the largest contributors to the SPTIs for both sites. SPTIs of some discrete (grab) samples from the basin that were used for comparison exceeded 0.1 when some insecticides (azinphos methyl, chlorpyrifos, malathion) were detected at concentrations near or exceeding acute water-quality thresholds. Early life stages and adults of several sensitive fish species, including salmonids, are present in surface waters of the basin throughout the year, including during periods of peak estimated potential toxicity. Based on these data, direct toxicity to salmonids from in-stream pesticide exposure is unlikely, but indirect impacts (reduced fitness due to cumulative exposures or negative impacts to invertebrate prey populations) are unknown.

Publication Year 2016
Title Year-round monitoring of contaminants in Neal and Rogers Creeks, Hood River Basin, Oregon, 2011-12, and assessment of risks to salmonids
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0158175
Authors Whitney B. Temple, Jennifer L. Morace, Elena B. Nilsen, David Alvarez, Kevin Masterson
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title PLoS ONE
Index ID 70174210
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Oregon Water Science Center