Contaminants in Fish and Wildlife of Lynx Lake, Arizona : Final Report
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Sediment, water, crayfish, and fish were collected at Lynx Creek and Lynx Lake, Arizona in 2004 and 2005. Granite Basin Lake was used as a reference site. Both sites are located in the the Prescott National Forest. Concentrations of arsenic, copper, manganese, mercury, lead, and zinc in sediments from Lynx Creek exceeded sediment toxicity thresholds. Sediment toxicity tests were conducted in 2005 with sediments from Lynx Creek. Sediments in Lynx Creek were consistently toxic to Hyallela azteca. There were no exceedances of Arizona’s water quality standards in Lynx Lake, but exceedances of acute water quality standards were found for cadmium, copper, and zinc in Lynx Creek. Chronic exceedances of water quality standards for cadmium, chromium, copper, lead and zinc were found in Lynx Creek. Low pHs were detected in Lynx Creek. Crayfish from Lynx Creek had concentrations of aluminum, barium, cadmium, and magnesium greater than potential toxic thresholds. Carp and catfish from Lynx Lake had elevated concentrations of cadmium, copper, lead, and zinc. Mercury in fish from Granite Basin Lake was elevated compared to other studies and to EPA’s water quality criterion guideline for methylmercury for human health.
A conservative risk screening was conducted to assess the potential risk to bald eagles. Bald eagles at Lynx Lake are at risk from exposure to lead in fish.
The Forest Service remediated the abandoned Blue John Mine on Lynx Creek where lead and arsenic were elevated in tailings in 2006. The EPA also plans to remediate the abandoned Sheldon Mine on Lynx Creek in 2008. These actions will decrease loading of contaminants into the Lynx Creek watershed, but contaminated sediments in the watershed will remain in the creek and lake until scouring or dredging remove them or uncontaminated sediments dilute or accumulate over the contaminated sediments.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/arizona/Documents/ECReports/lynx%20lake%2008%20final%20report.pdf, 4 MB
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Arizona Ecological Services Field Office