Final Evaluation Memorandum: Strategies for Resolving Low Dissolved Oxygen and Methylmercury Events in Northern Suisun Marsh

Siegel, Stuart and Bachand, Philip and Gillenwater, Dan and Chappell, Steve and Wickland, Bruce and Rocha, Orlando and Stephenson, Mark and Heim, Wesley and Enright, Chris and Moyle, Peter and Crain, Patrick and Downing, Bryan and Bergamaschi, Brian (2011) Final Evaluation Memorandum: Strategies for Resolving Low Dissolved Oxygen and Methylmercury Events in Northern Suisun Marsh. Sacramento, CA, State Water Resources Control Board, 353pp.

PDF (Final Evaluation Memo investigating low dissolved oxygen events in Suisun Marsh, CA, reviewing BMPs and their potential impacts, and developing future recommendations.) (The document's language is English .) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
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The purpose of the project is to improve our understanding about best management practices that can be utilized on diked managed wetlands in Suisun Marsh for reducing the occurrence of low dissolved oxygen (DO) and high methylmercury (MeHg) events associated primarily with fall flood-up practices. Low DO events are of concern because they can lead to undue stress and even mortality of sensitive aquatic organisms. Elevated MeHg levels are of concern because MeHg is a neurotoxin that bio-magnifies up the food chain and can cause deleterious effects to higher trophic level consumers such as piscivorous fish, birds, and mammals (including humans). This study involved two years (2007-2008) of intensive field data collection at two managed wetland sites in northwest Suisun Marsh and their surrounding tidal sloughs, an area with prior documented low DO events. In addition, the study collected limited soils and water quality field data and mapped vegetation for three managed wetland sites in the central interior of Suisun Marsh, for the purpose of examining whether wetlands at other locations exhibit characteristics that could indicate potential for similar concerns. In Year 1 of the study, the objective was to identify the baseline conditions in the managed wetlands and determine which physical management conditions could be modified for Year 2 to reduce low DO and MeHg production issues most effectively. The objective of Year 2 was to evaluate the effectiveness of these modified management actions at reducing production of low DO and elevated MeHg conditions within the managed wetlands and to continue improving understanding of the underlying biogeochemical processes at play. This Final Evaluation Memorandum examined a total of 19 BMPs, 14 involving modified water management operations and the remaining five involving modified soil and vegetation management practices. Some of these BMPs were previously employed and others have not yet been tested. For each BMP this report assesses its efficacy in improving water quality conditions and potential conflicts with wetland management. It makes recommendations for further study (either feasibility assessments or field testing) and whether to consider for future use. Certain previously used BMPs were found to be important contributors to poor water quality conditions and their continued use is not recommended. Some BMPs that could improve water quality conditions appear difficult to implement in regards to compatibility with wetland management; these BMPs require further elaboration and feasibility assessment to determine whether they should be field tested. In practice for any given wetland, there is likely a combination of BMPs that would together have the greatest potential to address the low DO and high MeHg water quality concerns. Consequently, this report makes no sweeping recommendations applicable to large groups of wetlands but instead promotes a careful consideration of factors at each wetland or small groups of wetlands and from that assessment to apply the most effective suite of BMPs. This report also identifies a number of recommended future actions and studies. These recommendations are geared toward improving the process understanding of factors that promote low DO and high MeHg conditions, the extent of these problems in Suisun Marsh, the regulatory basis for the DO standards for a large estuarine marsh, the economics of BMPs, and alternative approaches to BMPs on diked managed wetlands that may address the water quality issues. The most important of these recommendations is that future BMP implementation should be carried out within the context of rigorous scientific evaluation so as to gain the maximum improvement in how to manage these water quality issues in the diked managed wetlands of Suisun Marsh.

Item Type: Monograph or Serial Issue
Title: Final Evaluation Memorandum: Strategies for Resolving Low Dissolved Oxygen and Methylmercury Events in Northern Suisun Marsh
Personal Creator/Author:
Number of Pages: 353
Date: May 2011
Publisher: State Water Resources Control Board
Place of Publication: Sacramento, CA
Projects: Project Number 06-283-552-0
Funders: State Water Resources Control Board
Contact Email Address:
Uncontrolled Keywords: BMPs, dissolved oxygen, mercury, Suisun Marsh, managed wetlands, best management practices, methyl mercury, hydrology, tidal water quality, Wetlands and Water Resources, Bachand and Associates, Suisun Resource Conservation District, California Department of Fish and Game, California Department of Water Resources, University of California Davis, U.S. Geological Survey
Subjects: Agriculture
Item ID: 6470
Depositing User: Dr. Philip Bachand
Date Deposited: 28 Jul 2011 00:59
Last Modified: 28 Apr 2015 20:59

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