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Copper, cadmium, and zinc concentrations in juvenile Chinook salmon and selected fish-forage organisms (aquatic insects) in the upper Sacramento River, California

January 1, 2001

This study assessed the downstream extent andseverity of copper (Cu), cadmium (Cd), and zinc (Zn)contamination from acid mine drainage on juvenile chinook salmon(Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and aquatic insects over aroughly 270-km reach of the Sacramento River below KeswickReservoir. During April–May 1998, salmon were collected fromfour sites in the river and from a fish hatchery that receiveswater from Battle Creek. Salmon from river sites were examinedfor gut contents to document their consumption of variousinvertebrate taxa, whereas salmon from river sites and thehatchery were used for metal determinations. Midge(Chironomidae) and caddisfly (Trichoptera) larvae and mayfly(Ephemeroptera) nymphs were collected for metal determinationsduring April–June from river sites and from Battle and Buttecreeks. The fish hatchery and Battle and Butte creeks served asreference sites because they had no history of receiving minedrainage. Salmon consumed mostly midge larvae and pupae (44.0%,damp-dry biomass), caddisfly larvae (18.9%), Cladocera (5.8%),and mayfly nymphs (5.7%). These results demonstrated thatinsects selected for metal determinations were important as fishforage. Dry-weight concentrations of Cu, Cd, and Zn weregenerally far higher in salmon and insects from the river thanfrom reference sites. Within the river, high metalconcentrations persisted as far downstream as South Meridian (thelowermost sampling site). Maximum concentrations of Cd (30.7 μg g-1) and Zn (1230 μg g-1),but not Cu (87.4 μg g-1), in insects exceeded amounts that other investigators reported as toxic when fed for prolonged periods to juvenile salmonids.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2001
Title Copper, cadmium, and zinc concentrations in juvenile Chinook salmon and selected fish-forage organisms (aquatic insects) in the upper Sacramento River, California
DOI 10.1023/A:1012096321425
Authors Michael K. Saiki, Barbara A. Martin, Larry D. Thompson, Daniel Walsh
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Water, Air, & Soil Pollution
Series Number
Index ID 70170493
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization California Water Science Center