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Decreases in aluminum toxicity and mortality of caged brook trout in Adirondack Mountain Streams

November 30, 2020

Mortality of juvenile brook trout and water chemistry were characterized in six western Adirondack streams in northern New York State during spring 2015, 2016, and 2017 and compared with results from comparable tests done between 1980 and 2003 in many of the same streams to assess temporal changes in inorganic monomeric aluminum (Ali) concentrations, Ali-toxicity, and the role of Ali-exposure duration on mortality. Ali concentrations of 2 and 4 micromoles per liter (µmol L-1) corresponded to chronic- and acute-mortality thresholds for brook trout, but prolonged exposure to ≥ 1 µmol Ali L-1 also produced low-to-moderate mortality levels. The variability, mean, and highest Ali concentrations in Buck Creek (BUC) year-round, and in several other streams during spring, decreased significantly over the past 30 years. Predictive models indicate that Ali surpassed highly toxic concentrations at BUC for three to four months annually during 2001–2003 but for only two to three weeks annually during 2015–2017. The current lack of extremely high Ali concentrations indicate toxicity has declined markedly between the 1989–1990, 2001–2003, and 2015–2017 test periods, yet acid- Ali episodes can still cause moderate-to-high levels of brook trout mortality during high springtime flows. Assembled models show how mortality of brook trout in several Adirondack streams likely declined in response to the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments and offer a means to predict how changes in United States regulations that limit the atmospheric emissions of nitrogen (N) and sulfur (S) oxides, and the deposition of N and S, could affect brook trout survival and impaired stream ecosystems in the western Adirondack region.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2020
Title Decreases in aluminum toxicity and mortality of caged brook trout in Adirondack Mountain Streams
DOI
Authors Barry P. Baldigo, Scott D. George
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype State or Local Government Series
Series Title Summary Report
Series Number 20-35
Index ID 70219169
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization New York Water Science Center