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Subject: Re: lead contamin in freshwater salmonid habitat
From: Ray Kinney <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 9 Apr 1998 18:02:06 +0000

text/plain (84 lines)

     I am concerned that  coastal western Oregon salmonid habitat streams are at
 high risk of  elevated dissolved lead bioavailability from huge numbers of lost
 fishing sinkers in very low hardness water of fairly low pH, and
that there is a possibility that this may contribute to increased
near-ocean-entry population decline due to predator avoidance and
food acquisition problems.
 I have been looking into the possibility that chronic low-dose
 behavioral effects (among other effects) constitute a generally
 unrecognized limiting factor for salmonid population recovery on
 the Siuslaw river .  Snorkeling  shows  huge numbers of large sinkers
 present, pH 5.8 - 7.2, hardness 10 - 20, summer low flow temps 64 -75
 degrees F., declining populations of salmonids, millions of dollars
 spent for instream restoration projects, no water quality sampling
 specifically for this potential lead problem, lots of literature
 support for lead tox possibilities in fish (Weber, Spieler,Schmitt, etc.).
 Working as a director of Siuslaw Soil and Water Conservation District
 I took a few grab samples as a reality check on the theory and found
 quite high levels below a heavily-fished hole( 22ppb dissolved lead).
 Also, using same method sampled water from upper watershed which
 showed non-detect. Took a sinker from the lower site and carefully
 suspended it for a day in upper watershed sample and tested out at
 86ppb.' Ultra clean' EPA methodology was not used ... though much care
 was taken to avoid obvious poss contam. Now trying to get some
 responsible agency to followup in a timely manner with a higher
 order of QA.... very long slow process w/o great success as yet.
 Would like to speak  in depth about various aspects of
 lead toxicology re this prob. I've been gatherinbg a lot of info
 and spoke with research people (they all seem so specialized that
 they only know about a couple of aspects, bigger picture not
  We are designing projects on the stream to clarify problem but
 funding not certain. If we collect tissue samples (Salmonid presmolt,
 crayfish hepatopancreas, clams & muscles, etc. we need guidance doc
 on procedures... hope to get responsible agencies to do it but feel an
 urgency that we need to get past the politics if the fish are to
 benefit soon.
   Many questions re: metallothionein induction, neurotox effects,
 BBB peroxidation as it might relate to synergistic tox with other
 pollutants, stream bioassessments that might show lead specificity,
 energy budget lead effects blood ALAD inhibition, erythrocyte age
class population abnormalities, cytochrome P 450 inhibition, etc.
  Talked with hundreds of people, read hundreds of abstracts and full
 papers, my general impression from all of it is  that lead
 exposure from this source most likely constitutes an unrecognized
 limiting factor for anadromous fish in coastal freshwater habitat of
 Oregon in stream segments that are heavily fished.
 The 22ppb Pb test result is only one test and not much weight can be
 ascribed to it without followup  BUT, together with all indications
 it seems fiscally and ethically irresponsible not to check it out
 this summer. The 22ppb is ,as i read it, a couple of hundred times
 the EPA ambiant water quality criteria for lead in freshwater ....
 based on our specific water characteristics. That is for chronic
 exposure... also it is many times the acute exposure.
 I know I am pretty nieve politically on this issue but feel the need
 to get feedback from the science community ... from an indepth
                      Any direction from you that might speed up my
 processing would be most appreciated.
 What might 22ppb exposure for one week do to coho egg elasticity?
 Schooling and feeding behavior? Swim-up fry mortality? Four weeks?
Three months exposure??
 How can i convince some agency to do adequate testing to
 EPA ultra-clean QA? With the money that is already being
 spent on the salmon issue you would think that anyone with
 a bio 101 class behind them  would insist on checking it out, yet
 twenty or thirty fisheries biologists can stand next to an in-stream
 project deciding how to monitor it for effectiveness and not even
 think to test the water below the fishing hole that fishers are
 throwing hundreds of sinkers into. i don't get it.
                    Thanks for any incite! (er... insight!)    .I hope someone can
 convincingly shoot this possibility down.
                            Ray Kinney
                            Siuslaw Soil and Water Conservation District
                            Dir. for water quality
                e-mail    [log in to unmask]

 91636 West Fork Rd.
 Deadwood, Or 97430
 ph 541 9643981 voice

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