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AuthorLong, Edward R.
Carr, R. Scott
Scott, K. John
Anderson, Jack W.
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractAs a component of a three-year cooperative effort of the Washington State Department of Ecology and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, surficial sediment samples from 100 locations in southern Puget Sound were collected in 1999 to determine their relative quality based on measures of toxicity, chemical contamination, and benthic infaunal assemblage structure. The surveyencompassed an area of approximately 858 km2, ranging from East and Colvos Passages south to Oakland Bay, and including Hood Canal. Toxic responses were most severe in some of the industrialized waterways of Tacoma’s Commencement Bay. Other industrialized harbors in whichsediments induced toxic responses on smaller scales included the Port of Olympia, Oakland Bay at Shelton, Gig Harbor, Port Ludlow, and Port Gamble. Based on the methods selected for this survey, the spatial extent of toxicity for the southern Puget Sound survey area was 0% of the total survey area for amphipod survival, 5.7% for urchin fertilization, 0.2% for microbial bioluminescence, and 5-38% with the cytochrome P450 HRGS assay. Measurements of trace metals, PAHs, PCBs, chlorinated pesticides, other organic chemicals, and other characteristics of the sediments, indicated that 20 of the 100 samples collected had one or more chemical concentrations that exceededapplicable, effects-based sediment guidelines and/or Washington State standards. Chemical contamination was highest in eight samples collected in or near the industrialized waterways of Commencement Bay. Samples from the Thea Foss and Middle Waterways were primarilycontaminated with a mixture of PAHs and trace metals, whereas those from Hylebos Waterway were contaminated with chlorinated organic hydrocarbons. The remaining 12 samples with elevated chemical concentrations primarily had high levels of other chemicals, including bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, benzoic acid, benzyl alcohol, and phenol. The characteristics of benthic infaunal assemblages in south Puget Sound differed considerably among locations and habitat types throughout the study area. In general, many of the small embayments and inlets throughout the studyarea had infaunal assemblages with relatively low total abundance, taxa richness, evenness, and dominance values, although total abundance values were very high in some cases, typically due to high abundance of one organism such as the polychaete Aphelochaeta sp. N1. The majority of thesamples collected from passages, outer embayments, and larger bodies of water tended to have infaunal assemblages with higher total abundance, taxa richness, evenness, and dominance values. Two samples collected in the Port of Olympia near a superfund cleanup site had no living organisms in them. A weight-of-evidence approach used to simultaneously examine all three “sediment qualitytriad” parameters, identified 11 stations (representing 4.4 km2, 0.5% of the total study area) with sediment toxicity, chemical contamination, and altered benthos (i.e., degraded sediment quality), 36 stations (493.5 km2, 57.5% total study area) with no toxicity or chemical contamination (i.e., high sediment quality), 35 stations (274.1 km2, 32.0% total study area) with one impaired sediment triadparameter (i.e., intermediate/high sediment quality), and 18 stations (85.7km2, 10.0% total study area) with two impaired sediment parameters (i.e., intermediate/degraded quality sediments). Generally, upon comparison, the number of stations with degraded sediments based upon the sediment quality triad of data was slightly greater in the central Puget Sound than in the northern and southern Puget Sound study areas, with the percent of the total study area degraded in each region decreasing from central to north to south (2.8, 1.3 and 0.5%, respectively). Overall, the sediments collected in Puget Sound during the combined 1997-1999 surveys were among the least contaminated relative to other marine bays and estuaries studied by NOAA using equivalent methods. (PDF contains 351 pages)
Publisher or UniversityNOAA/National Ocean Service/National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science
Series : NrNOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS CCMA