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Twin Cities Field Office Environmental Contaminants Biologist Presents GLRI Research and Projects at Conferences
Midwest Region, April 10, 2012
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Zachary Jorgenson, Environmental Contaminants Biologist with the Twin Cities ES Field Office, explains Remediation-to-Restoration projects initiated in the St. Louis River at the 2012 St. Louis River Estuary Science Summit in Superior, Wisconsin.
Zachary Jorgenson, Environmental Contaminants Biologist with the Twin Cities ES Field Office, explains Remediation-to-Restoration projects initiated in the St. Louis River at the 2012 St. Louis River Estuary Science Summit in Superior, Wisconsin. - Photo Credit: Michael K. Anderson

The "Early Warning Program to Detect and Identify Contaminants of Emerging Concern and Their Effects to Fish and Wildlife" and “Remediation to Restoration” Projects in the St. Louis River were topics of recent presentations by Fish and Wildlife Service staff at a conference and a science summit.

Early Warning Program
The "Early Warning Program to Detect and Identify Contaminants of Emerging Concern and Their Effects to Fish and Wildlife" is a Great Lakes-wide investigation of the sources, routes to exposure and impacts to fish and wildlife and their habitats of new contaminants or of older contaminants with a newly expanded distribution, altered release, or a newly detected presence in the environment. 

 Biologists are collecting water and sediment samples at locations around the Great Lakes to determine the concentrations of chemicals of emerging concern. In conjunction with water and sediment sampling, biologists are also collecting fish and analyzing them for multiple endpoints to determine if there are any adverse effects. We are currently reviewing data to determine if effects seen in fish are correlated to chemical concentrations measured at associated locations. We collected samples in the fall of 2010 and the spring of 2011 and we plan to continue in the spring and fall of 2012.

 The "Early Warning Program to Detect and Identify Contaminants of Emerging Concern and Their Effects to Fish and Wildlife" is funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

 “Remediation to Restoration”
The St. Louis River, a river that flows between Duluth, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin, is the focus of two “Remediation to Restoration” projects - also funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. 

 Remediation involves removing pollution or contaminants from the environment; often from soil or waterway sediment.  Restoration usually involves restoring the affected area in terms of water quality but also in terms of physical structure and quality of fish and wildlife habitat.  Often, the two steps are conducted separately and sequentially with the goal of first removing the contamination and then repairing damage done by contamination.  Remediation to Restoration is an effort to tie remediation efforts to restoration goals.  Using this process, we can fine tune remediation by customizing the methods based on site-specific characteristics.  This process also improves efficiency by ensuring that if opportunities for restoration become available during remediation, they can be capitalized on at the time without having to wait until the remediation is completed.  

 While “Remediation to Restoration” generally follows the Superfund cleanup process, it is guided by the ecological vision and remains adaptive to take advantage of opportunities and to allow for differences in desired outcomes for each location. There are two ongoing “Remediation to Restoration” projects in the St. Louis River. For both projects, the Fish and Wildlife Service and partners are preparing an Ecological Design Report that will characterize current conditions at project locations based on sediment chemistry, vegetation community, benthic invertebrate community and substrate type. The Ecological Design Report will also include possible design scenarios using a Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Modeling program that the Service and local partners are developing. The Ecological Design Report will help the ongoing projects as well as future planning for continued work in these locations that will ultimately lead to remediation of contaminated sediment and the restoration of fish and wildlife habitats in the most efficient way possible.

 Project summaries and results to-date were presented at the 2012 Midwest Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Conference which was held March 20-21 in Minneapolis, Minnesota and at the 2012 St. Louis River Estuary Science Summit held March 8-9 in Superior, Wisconsin.

 

 


Contact Info: Zachary Jorgenson, 612-725-3548 Ext 2247, zachary_jorgenson@fws.gov



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