Mercury mobilization and biomagnification resulting from the filling of a Piedmont reservoir

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Prepared by the Water Resources Research Institute


bass, yellow perch, perch

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Mercury contained in flooded soil and vegetation can be mobilized upon flooding of anew reservoir. The mobilized mercury is accumulated by fish in the new reservoir, andconcentrations of total mercury in muscle tissue of predatory fish such as largemouth bass,yellow perch, and other piscivorous species is likely to exceed 1.0 ppm within the first two yearsafter the reservoir fills. The concentrations of total mercury in Russell Reservoir (South Carolina)water were found to be less than in the Savannah River before impoundment, but the total massof mercury in the impounded water was greater than could be accounted for by that brought in viathe inflowing water. Concentrations of total mercury in fish continued to increase during the first18 months after closure of the dam.

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