The effect of agricultural discharge on striped bass (Morone saxatilis) in California's Sacramento-San Joaquin drainage
The striped bass (Morone saxatilis) population of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta has declined approximately 80% since the mid-1970s. This decline has been attributed to factors such as water diversions, pollution and reduced abundance of food organisms. One source of potential pollutants is agricultural return water. The Colusa Basin Drain discharges water from over 150 000 acres and can account for over 20% of the flow of the Sacramento River. Because discharge occurs at the same time striped bass are spawning, early developmental stages could be adversely affected. Toxicity studies conducted over a 3 year period consistently demonstrated acute toxicity to striped bass larvae and to opossum shrimp (Neomysis mercedis), an important food organism for juvenile striped bass. Acute toxicity was also demonstrated with striped bass embryos. In addition, a model based on pesticide use more effectively predicted striped bass recruitment during the period of decline than did a model based on historically important river flows and delta diversions. These studies indicate that agricultural return water should not be disregarded when considering potential causes of the decline of striped bass. © 1994 Chapman & Hall.
Bailey, HC; Alexander, C; Digiorgio, C; Miller, M; Doroshov, SI; Hinton, DE
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