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Investigating the Columbia River and Estuary: A primary focus of research


Scientists immersed in the life-blood of the Northwest

What is considered perhaps the northwest’s most valuable natural resource will be the primary focus for hundreds of environmental science professionals as they convene for the Fourth Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry World Congress conference in Portland this November.

Among the events designed to exchange ideas and present research will be an Interactive Poster Session entitled, Investigations of the Columbia River and Estuary led by several Pacific Northwest National Laboratory scientists. On Thursday, November 18, PNNL will deliver presentations addressing river research:

  • Dredge entrainment of Dungeness crab in the Columbia River Estuary – Greg Williams, PNNL’s Marine Research Operations, Sequim, WA, will address loss estimates of Dungeness crab as a result of ongoing maintenance dredging and proposed deepening of the Columbia River Estuary navigation channel. This research also has an adaptive management focus that involves developing models that relate crab entrainment rates to seasonal patterns of bottom salinity, and which may yield dredging strategies that reduce these losses.

  • Screening Columbia and Willamette River sediments for CYP1A-inducing compounds with a biomarker assay (EPA 4425) – Jack Anderson, PNNL’s Marine Research Operations, Sequim, WA, will report on the results found by sampling Columbia River and Willamette River sediments. While most samples revealed background or low-levels of toxic compounds, some of the Willamette sediments showed elevated levels where biological effects would be expected.
  • Assessments of onsite ecological impacts of legacy materials from the Hanford Site, Washington State during the 21st century – Brett Tiller, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Scientist, reports how the Department of Energy is assessing the health of biota that inhabit the Hanford Site in southeastern Washington State . Recent monitoring of Asiatic clams has provided important information about the concentration and distribution of trace metals and radionuclides in the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River.
  • Uptake and depuration of 90Sr/ 90Y by Columbia River periphyton communities – Robert Fellows, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, reports how periphyton communities – a fundamental ecosystem food source – fare in the Columbia groundwater/river interface when exposed to strontium-90, which has resulted from past Hanford nuclear materials production.
  • Effects of hexavalent chromium on fall Chinook salmon in the Columbia River at Hanford – Greg Patton, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, reports on exposures to early life-stage fall Chinook salmon from hexavalent chromium entering the Columbia River from Hanford groundwater. The study addresses survival, differences in development and growth from eyed-egg stage to swim-up stage.

The presentations will be conducted in Rooms B113 and B114, Portland Convention Center between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon on November 18.

Details regarding the Fourth SETAC World Congress event are available at . This will be the 25th annual meeting in North America at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, OR, November 14-18.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is a Department of Energy Office of Science research facility that advances the fundamental understanding of complex systems, and provides science-based solutions to some of the nation’s most pressing challenges in national security, energy and environmental quality. The laboratory employs more than 3,800 scientists, engineers, technicians and support staff, and has an annual budget of nearly $600 million. Battelle, based in Columbus, Ohio, has operated PNNL for the federal government since the laboratory’s inception in 1965.

Geoff Harvey | EurekAlert!
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