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Reservoir Sedimentation and Environmental Degradation: Assessing Trends in Sediment-Associated Trace Elements in Grenada Lake, Mississippi

Bennett, S.J., Rhoton, F.E.
Journal of environmental quality 2007 v.36 no.3 pp. 815
lakes, reservoirs, sediment contamination, pollution load, environmental degradation, trace elements, heavy metals, temporal variation, dams (hydrology), clay minerals, Mississippi
Sediments impounded within flood control reservoirs are potentially important archives of environmental and geomorphic processes occurring within drainage basins. The concentrations of select sediment-associated trace elements were assessed within the impoundment of Grenada Lake, a relatively large flood control reservoir in Mississippi with a history of contaminant bioaccumulation in fish. The post-construction sediments (after 1954) are discriminated from the pre-construction sediments (before 1954) based on depth variations in sediment texture and 137Cs emissions. The concentrations of select trace elements of the post-1954 sediments all are statistically greater than the pre-1954 sediments, and these same sediments also are enriched in clay. Once these concentrations are normalized by clay content, all trace elements in the post-1954 sediments are lower in concentration than the pre-1954 normalized sediments. Moreover, the trace elements when normalized by clay or Al content show virtually no change vertically (over time) within the reservoir impoundment. This suggests that the sources of these sediment-associated trace elements within Grenada Lake, whether natural or anthropogenic, have not changed appreciably over the lifespan of the reservoir and that the degradation of sedimentologic and ecologic indices within the lake are due to the sequestration of clay or clay-sized materials.