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Predicting contaminant transfer following re-establishment of controlled connectivity in the Boardman River

To support the bi-directional selective fish passage (FishPass) project, detailed pre- and post-manipulation sea lamprey, fishery, and habitat assessments are required. Re-establishing connectivity in a system where legacy contaminants have potentially accumulated in fishes separated by dams and retained sediments could inadvertently facilitate both contaminant transport upstream by migratory fishes and downstream via sediment flushing. These risks must be evaluated in scope and weighed against the positive ecosystem benefits of re-establishing connectivity. We will assess the potential for migratory fishes to act as a vector for contaminant transfer in the Boardman River, MI watershed. The project objectives are to: (1) assess the contaminant burden of Great Lakes spawners to inform future fish passage decisions; (2) evaluate background contaminant burdens of resident fishes prior to dam removal; (3) measure background contaminant levels of water within the Boardman River watershed; and (4) couple empirically collected diet data to a lifetime bioenergetics-bioaccumulation model to determine the impact of various fish passage scenarios on resident fish growth and bioaccumulation. Future research following fish passage will evaluate the overlap in distribution between Great Lakes migrants and stream-resident fishes to further infer benefits of restored connectivity and risk of contaminant transfer.
In progress
Start Date
End Date
Brandon GerigPrincipal Investigator
Associated with 2 projects

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