Reconnaissance Investigation Bottom Sediment, and Biota ... Reconnaissance Investigation of Water-Quality,

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    Reconnaissance Investigation of Water Quality, Bottom Sediment, and Biota Associated with Irrigation Drainage in the Lower Rio Grande Valley and Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge,

    U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 87-4277

    U.S. Geological Survey U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

  • Reconnaissance Investigation of Water-Quality, Bottom Sediment, and Biota Associated with

    Irrigation Drainage in the Lower Rio Grande Valley and Laguna Atascosa N a t i o n a l Wildlife Refuge, Texas, 1986-87

    By Frank C. Wells, U.S. Geological Survey, Gerry A. Jackson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and William J. Rogers, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

    U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY Water-Resources Investigations Report 87-4277

    Austin, Texas



    DONALD PAUL HODEL, Secretary


    Dallas L. Peck, Director

    For additional information Copies of this report can write to: be purchased from:

    District Chief U.S. Geological Survey 649 Federal Bldg. 300 E. Eighth Street Austin, Texas 78701

    U.S. Geological Survey Books and Open-File Reports Federal Center, Bldg. 810 Box 25425 Denver, CO 80225


  • . I


    Abstract--------------------------------------------------------------- 1 Introduction-----------------------------------------------------------

    Purpose and scope------------------------------------------------- Acknowledgments---------------------------------------------------

    General description of study area-------------------------------------- Refuge description------------------------------------------------ Refuge history---------------------------------------------------- Biota------------------------------------------------------------- Land use---------------------------------------------------------- Climate----------------------------------------------------------- General geology--------------------------------------------------- Soils-------------------------------------------------------------

    : 4 4

    ii 7

    ii 9 9 9 9

    i; 14 14 18 18

    Hydrology-------------------------------------------------------------- Surface water----------------------------------------------------- Ground water------------------------------------------------------

    History of monitoring activities--------------------------------------- Sample collection and analysis-----------------------------------------

    Objectives-------------------------------------------------------- Smpl ing methods-------------------------------------------------- Analytical support------------------------------------------------

    Guidelines for determination of greater than background concentrations or values----------------------------------

    Water analyses--------------------------------------------------------- Minor elements---------------------------------------------------- Pesticides--------------------------------------------------------

    Herbicides--------------------------------------------------- Insecticides-------------------------------------------------

    Other organic compounds------------------------------------------- Radiochemical analyses--------------------------------------------

    Bed-sediment analyses-------------------------------------------------- Minor elements---------------------------------------------------- Insecticides------------------------------------------------------

    Biota analyses--------------------------------------------------------- Minor elements---------------------------------------------------- Insecticides------------------------------------------------------

    19 27 27 32 32 32 36 39 40 45 45 45 45 53

    Sumnary ---------------------------------------------------------------- 57 Selected references---------------------------------------------------- 62 Supplemental information----------------------------------------------- 64


    Figure 1. Map showing location of study area-------------------------- Page

    5 2. Graph showing average monthly discharges and

    diversions at selected locations in the Rio Grande valley----------------------------------------- 11

    3. Map showing location of sampling sites---------------------- 15 4. Map showing location of sampling sites in or near

    Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge------------------ 16 5. Boxplots of minor elements detected in eight or

    more water samples---------------------------------------- 28

  • ILLUSTRATIONS--Continued

    Figure 6. Map showing area1 distribution of dissolved boron and Page

    dissolved copper in water--------------------------------- 31

    7. Boxplots of selected minor elements in bed sediments collected in June 1986------------------------------------ 41

    8. Boxplots of selected minor elements in bed sediments collected in July and August 1985------------------------- 42

    9. Boxplots of selected minor elements in fish tissue---------- 46


    Table 1. 2.




    ii: 9.






    ii: 17.





    Sampling sites and types of analyses of samples------------- Water-quality criteria and standards for selected minor elements and organic compounds----------------------

    Geochemical baseline concentrations for minor elements in soils from the western conterminous United States---------------------------------------------

    Baseline concentrations of minor elements in fish----------- Baseline concentrations of pesticides in fish--------------- Baseline values or concentrations of selected properties, major ions, and minor elements in water-------------------

    Statistical summary of minor elements dissolved in water---- Summary of herbicide concentrations in water---------------- Summary of concentrations of organochlorine insecticides

    and other selected chlorinated hydrocarbon compounds in water--------------------------------------------------

    Summary of organophosphorus insecticide concentrations in water--------------------------------------------------

    List of acid- and base/neutral-extractable compounds and their analytical detection limits---------------------

    Statistical summary of minor elements in bed sediments collected in June 1986------------------------------------

    Statistical summary of minor elements in bed sediments collected during July and August 1985---------------------

    Summary of organochlorine and organophosphorus insecticides and selected chlorinated hydrocarbon compounds in bed sediments--------------------

    Statistical summary of minor elements in fish--------------- Minor element concentrations in fish------------------------ Minor element concentrations in softshell turtles

    and blue crabs-------------------------------------------- Minor element concentrations in black-neck stilt and

    Chara algae species composite samples--------------------- Statistical summary of concentrations of organochlorine

    insecticides and selected chlorinated hydrocarbon compounds in fish tissue----------------------------------

    Organochlorine insecticide concentrations and lipid fraction in fish------------------------------------------

    Concentrations of organochlorine insecticides and lipid fractions in softshell turtles and blue crabs-------------



    22 23 24

    26 29 33






    47 49 50







  • TABLES--Contintued Page

    22. Selected water-quality properties and constituents----------- 65 23. Selected minor elements and pesticides in bed sediments------ 72 24. Minor elements in biota-------------------------------------- 78 25. Organochlorine insecticides and PCB-1254 in biota------------ 85



    Factors for converting inch-pound units to metric (International System) units are given in the following table:

    Multiply inch-pound unit BY To obtain metric unit

    acre 0.4047 hectare

    acre-foot (acre-ft) 0.001233 cubic hectometer

    foot (ft)

    gallon (gal)

    0.3048 meter

    3.785 liter

    inch (in.) 25.4 millimeter

    mile (mi) 1.609 kilometer

    square mile (mi') 2.590

    mile per hour (mi/h) 1.609

    square kilometer

    kilometer per hour

    Temperature data in this report are in degree Celsius ("C) and may be converted to degree Fahrenheit (OF) by the folowing formula:

    "F = 1.8 ("C) + 32.

    Sea level: In this report "sea level" refers to the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929 (NGVD of 1929)--a geodetic datum derived from a general adjustment of the first-order level nets of both the United States and Canada, formerly called "Mean Sea Level of 1929.”

    Data in this report have been collected, analyzed, and reported by various governmental agencies. Consequently, various reporting units have been used in reporting the data. The following table is provided to assist the reader in equating the various reporting units:

    parts per million (ppm) = milligrams per liter (mg/L) = micrograms per gram (pg/g) = milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg)

    parts per billion (ppb) = micrograms per liter (pg/L = micrograms per kilogram (pg/kg)