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Open-File Report 2011–1297

Prepared in cooperation with the National Park Service, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area and the Burned Area Response Program

Concentrations of Mercury and other Metals in Black Bass (Micropterus spp.) from Whiskeytown Lake, Shasta County, California, 2005

By Jason T. May, Roger L. Hothem, Marissa L. Bauer, and Larry R. Brown


Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (3.6 MB)Abstract

This report presents the results of a reconnaissance study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to determine mercury (Hg) and other selected metal concentrations in Black bass (Micropterus spp.) from Whiskeytown Lake, Shasta County, California. Total mercury concentrations were determined by cold-vapor atomic absorption spectroscopy (CVAAS) in fillets and whole bodies of each sampled fish. Selected metals scans were performed on whole bodies (less the fillets) by inductively coupled plasma–mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS) and inductively coupled plasma–optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES). Mercury concentrations in fillet samples ranged from 0.06 to 0.52 micrograms per gram (µg/g) wet weight (ww). Total mercury (HgT) in the same fish whole-body samples ranged from 0.04 to 0.37 (µg/g, ww). Mercury concentrations in 17 percent of “legal catch size” (≥305 millimeters in length) were above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency water-quality criterion for the protection of human health of 0.30 µg/g (ww). These data will serve as a baseline for future monitoring efforts within Whiskeytown Lake.

First posted February 16, 2012

For additional information contact:
Director, California Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
6000 J Street, Placer Hall
Sacramento, California 95819

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Suggested citation:

May, J.T., Hothem, R.L., Bauer, M.L., and Brown, L.R., 2012, Concentrations of mercury and other metals in black bass (Micropterus spp.) from Whiskeytown Lake, Shasta County, California, 2005: U.S. Geological Survey, Open-File Report 2012–1297, 16 p.




Purpose and Scope

Field Methods and Sample Preservation Techniques

Laboratory Methods of Chemical Analysis

Quality Assurance and Quality Control

Results and Discussion



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