USGS

Water Resources of Colorado

Trace Elements in Streambed Sediment and Fish Liver at Selected Sites in the Upper Colorado River Basin, Colorado, 1995-96

by Jeffrey R. Deacon and Verlin C. Stephens

Available from the U.S. Geological Survey, Branch of Information Services, Box 25286, Denver Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225, USGS Water-Resources Investigations Report 98–4124, 19 p., 9 figs.

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Abstract

Trace elements were analyzed in streambed-sediment samples collected from 16 sites and in fish-liver samples collected from 14 sites in the Upper Colorado River Basin in Colorado as part of the National Water-Quality Assessment program. Sites sampled represented agricultural, mining, mixed, and urban/recreation land uses and background conditions. The results for 15 trace elements in streambed-sediment and in fish-liver samples are presented in this report. Fourteen of the selected trace elements were detected in streambed-sediment samples collected at all sites. Twelve of the selected trace elements were detected in fish liver at more than 50 percent of the sites. Cadmium, copper, selenium, and zinc were selected for a more detailed analysis.

Cadmium, copper, and zinc concentrations in streambed sediment were highest at mining land-use sites in the Southern Rocky Mountains physiographic province. Selenium concentrations in streambed sediment were highest at an agricultural land-use site in the Colorado Plateau physiographic province. The concentration of trace elements in streambed sediment generally increased as particle size decreased.

Concentrations of trace elements in fish liver generally did not follow the same relation to land use as concentrations in streambed sediment; however, cadmium concentrations in fish liver were highest at a mining land-use site in the Southern Rocky Mountains physiographic province, and selenium concentrations in fish liver were highest at an agricultural land-use site in the Colorado Plateau physiographic province. Copper and zinc concentrations in fish liver were highest at mixed land-use sites.

Comparison of streambed-sediment and fish-liver concentrations to two other similar NAWQA studies in the Rocky Mountain region generally indicated similar patterns in relation to land use for streambed sediment, but not for fish liver. Cadmium, copper, and zinc concentrations in streambed sediment were highest at sites affected by mining in all three study units. Selenium concentrations in streambed sediment did not indicate relations among the three study units when compared to land use. Cadmium in fish liver was highest at sites affected by mining in all three study units. Copper, selenium, and zinc in fish liver did not indicate relations among the three study units when compared to land use.


Table of Contents

Foreword

Abstract

Introduction

Purpose and Scope

Description of Study Unit

Acknowledgments

Sample Collection and Analysis

Trace Elements in Streambed Sediment

Trace Elements in Fish Liver

Comparison of Selected Trace Elements in Streambed Sediment and Fish Liver to Those from Other NAWQA Study Units in the Rocky Mountain Region

Summary

References Cited

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