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U.S. Geological Survey, Open-File Report 2007-1026

Proceedings of the U.S. Geological Survey 2004 Mercury Workshop—Mercury Research and Its Relation to Department of the Interior Resource Management

Edited by John A. Colman

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Report covers 4 and 1 (11" by 17" tabloid) also are available for viewing and printing.

Slides and video recordings of the workshop proceedings can be downloaded here.


As part of the Department of the Interior (DOI) program Science on the DOI Landscape Initiative, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Eastern Region, held a workshop during August 17–18, 2004, in Reston, VA, on mercury in the environment as it relates to DOI resource management. DOI bureaus manage millions of acres of land and offshore resources subject to mercury deposition and to the effects of mercury on ecosystems and human health. The goals of the workshop were to (1) summarize information on mercury sources and cycling on DOI lands in the eastern United States, (2) learn the perspectives of the DOI bureaus regarding mercury on DOI lands, (3) provide information to DOI land managers about monitoring mercury and minimizing mercury accumulation in wildlife and humans, and (4) consider future directions for mercury monitoring and research on DOI lands.

The workshop focused on mercury research as it relates to DOI resource-management issues primarily in the eastern part of the United States (east of the Mississippi River). Topics included the influence of ecosystem setting on mercury biogeochemical transformation, land- and air-management practices as they affect mercury in the environment, mercury source issues, and effects of mercury on humans and wildlife. Mercury research topics were addressed by 24 invited oral presentations and 30 contributed posters. The perspectives of the DOI bureaus and land managers were addressed through a panel of scientists from the DOI resource-management bureaus and a Chippewa Indian Tribe of Minnesota. Discussion at the conclusion of the workshop was directed toward goals and long-term strategies for mercury research that will benefit DOI resource management. The panel, presentations, and discussions were videotaped and are available at the following URL, along with the slides presented: Abstracts from the presentations and posters are included in this report, together with summaries of each presentation session.

The abstracts in this volume that were written by U.S. Geological Survey authors were reviewed and approved for publication by the Survey. Abstracts submitted by researchers from academia and from state and other federal agencies are published as part of these proceedings, but do not necessarily reflect the Survey’s policies and views. The use of trade, product, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.


Executive Summary

Conversion Factors and Water-Quality Information




Session 1: Overview of Mercury Research and Relation to DOI Resource Management

Session Summary


Overview of the Mercury Contamination Problem and the Remaining Gaps in Understanding Related to Mercury Cycling and Fate in the Environment

Update on USEPA’s Regulatory Approach to Reducing Mercury Emissions

Panel presentation and discussion on DOI resource managers’ perspectives on mercury issues and needs for future research

Session 2: Case Studies on DOI Lands and Effects of Land Management on Mercury

Session Summary


The Aquatic Cycling of Mercury in the Everglades (ACME) Project: Integrated Research Providing Information for Management and Science

Mercury in Wetlands on the Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge, North Dakota

Mercury in Voyageurs National Park (Minnesota) Aquatic Food Chains

Session 3: Biological Effects

Session Summary


Target Species at Risk: Evidence of Endocrine Disruption and Reproductive Toxicity in Invertebrates, Fish, and Alligators

Threshold Levels of Mercury in Bird Eggs: What We Know and Don’t Know

Human Health Effects

Effect of Methylmercury Exposure on Reproductive Hormones of Male Northern Pike in Voyageurs National Park (Minnesota)

Exposure and Effects of Mercury on Terrestrial Wildlife

Session 4: Tools for Accessing Data, Models, and Ancillary Information

Session Summary


National Descriptive Model of Mercury in Fish Tissue

A Web-Based System for Environmental Mercury Mapping, Modeling, and Analysis

The Mercury Deposition Network (MDN) - National Status and Trends

Trends and Uncertainties in Mercury Data Analysis: An Evaluation Using the Contaminant Exposure and Effects— Terrestrial Vertebrates (CEE-TV) Database

Session 5: Mercury Sources

Session Summary


Use of Atmospheric Mercury Monitoring and Speciation in Source-Receptor Investigations

Non-Atmospheric Mercury Contamination and Bioaccumulation in Mining-Impacted Watersheds

The Mercury Experiment to Assess Atmospheric Loadings in Canada and the U.S. (METAALICUS) Project

Source-Apportionment for Atmospheric Mercury Deposition: Where Does The Mercury in Mercury Deposition Come From?

References Cited

Atmospheric Chemistry and the Relative Importance of Emission Sources

Petroleum Drilling Fluids as a Source of Mercury to the Offshore Environment

Session 6: Influence of Ecosystem Setting on Mercury and Mercury Management

Session Summary


Mercury Bioaccumulation in Stream Ecosystems—Detailed Studies, Spatial Assessments, and Trend Monitoring

Watershed Factors Influencing Bioaccumulation of Mercury

Wetland Restoration and the Potential for Enhanced Mercury Methylation

Landscape Control on Mercury Biogeochemistry in Gauged Paired Watersheds at Acadia National Park

Session 7: Moderators’ Summaries and Suggested Future Research Directions for the DOI Landscape Mercury Initiative

Session Summary

Session 8: Poster Session

Session Summary


Aqueous Stability of Mercury on Fly Ash

Mercury Burdens and Trophic Position of the Crayfish Orconectes virilis in Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota

Mercury in the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf

Designing a Mercury TMDL Study for the South River, Virginia

An Assessment of Risk of Methylmercury Exposure to Fish-Eating Birds Foraging at a Constructed Wetland in South Florida

Mercury Bioaccumulation in Lotic Salamanders: A Review and Assessment

Mercury Emissions and Lake Deposition: A Qualitative Model and Its Application to Lake Whatcom, Washington

Mercury Deposition and Bioaccumulation Along an Urban Gradient in New England

Mercury Exposure to Peregrine Falcons Nesting on Power Plant Stacks

Modeling Uncertainty by Using Bayesian Networks for Mercury-Mitigation Decisions

Mercury and Methylmercury Dynamics in Stream Water in Vermont, USA

Effects of Mercury Exposure on the Health and Fitness of Captive-Reared Common Loon (Gavia immer) Chicks

Mercury Variation in Coal

FDA’s Initiative to Address the Public Health Policy on Mercury

Establishing a Network to Detect Trends in Mercury in Aquatic Ecosystems

The Usefulness of Chorioallantoic Membranes in Measuring Harmful Levels of Mercury in Eggs

Egg Injections as a Means of Assessing the Embryotoxicity of Methylmercury

Will Regulations That Are Adequate to Protect Wildlife from Mercury Poisoning Also Provide Protection for Human Health?

How Embryotoxic Thresholds of Mercury Can Be Estimated from Mercury Levels in Individual Eggs

Mercury Accumulation and Loss in Mallard Eggs

Enhancement of WARMF to Track Mercury Species in a River Basin from Atmospheric Deposition to Fish Tissue

Distribution of Mercury in Shallow Ground Water of the New Jersey Coastal Plain and a Possible Mechanism of Transport


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Suggested Citation:

Colman, J.A., editor, 2007, Proceedings of the U.S. Geological Survey 2004 Mercury Workshop: Mercury Research and Its Relation to Department of the Interior Resource Management: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2007-1026, 25 p.

For more information about mercury research in the USGS, please visit

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