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Biogeochemical Data for Mercury and other Constituents in Surface Sediment and Deep Cores from the Hells Canyon Reservoir Complex, Idaho and Oregon 2014-2018


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Marvin-DiPasquale, M., Agee, J.L., Kakouros, E., Kieu, L.H., Arias, M.R., Baesman, S.M., Poulin, B.A., Antweiler, R.C., Fuller, C.C., Tate, M.T., and Krabbenhoft, D.P., 2020, Biogeochemical Data for Mercury and other Constituents in Surface Sediment and Deep Cores from the Hells Canyon Reservoir Complex, Idaho and Oregon 2014-2018: U.S. Geological Survey data release,


The Hells Canyon Complex (HCC) is comprised of a series of three consecutive reservoirs (Brownlee, Oxbow, and Hells Canyon) along a 145 km reach of the Snake River bordered by Idaho to the east and Oregon to the west. Due to concerns regarding mercury (Hg) contamination within the HCC, in cooperation with Idaho Power Company, the U.S. Geological Survey has been leading an investigation into the sources, transport, microbial transformations, chemical speciation and bioaccumulation of Hg in this complex river-reservoir environment. This data release is focused on the sediment component of this larger effort and includes data collected between 2014 and 2018 from shallow surface sediment (≤ top 5 cm) and from sectioned deep cores ranging [...]


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HCC 2014-18.kmz 1.51 KB
T1_Data.Dictionary_HCC.2014-18.csv 63.06 KB
T1_Data.Dictionary_HCC.2014-18.xlsx 139.59 KB
T2_Shallow sed bulk_HCC.2014-18.csv 49.69 KB
T2_Shallow sed bulk_HCC.2014-18.xlsx 69.38 KB
T3_Shallow sed porewater_HCC.2014-18.csv 7.08 KB
T3_Shallow sed porewater_HCC.2014-18.xlsx 25.36 KB
T4_Deep cores_HCC.2014-18.csv 32.43 KB
T4_Deep cores_HCC.2014-18.xlsx 40.55 KB
T5_QA_HCC.2014-18.csv 4.13 KB
T5_QA_HCC.2014-18.xlsx 23.96 KB


The detailed investigation of the Hg cycle in the three reservoirs that comprise the HCC is driven primarily by previously documented elevated mercury and methylmercury levels in the HCC food web, water column and sediment. In addition, various water management scenarios are being considered that would cool the thermal regime of the Snake River downstream of Hells Canyon Dam to improve downstream habitat for threatened and endangered fish species. There is uncertainty in how changes in water management and release from the HCC to achieve this goal might impact methylmercury in downstream fish. Thus, a better understanding is needed of processes that control elevated methylmercury concentrations within the HCC (Clark and others, 2016). A central goal of this study is to determine the sources of methylmercury within the HCC, including production within the water column and production within bed sediment, as well as and the relative contribution of inputs from upstream sources. This data release focuses largely on mercury speciation and methylmercury production / degradation in bed sediment, as part of the information needed to address this central question.

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DOI doi:10.5066/P9L4XCD0

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