Mercury Loading to Streams and Reservoirs: A Process-Based Approach
The proposed research aims to develop a process-based, watershed-scale numerical model that may be used to assess and predict mercury loading to streams and reservoirs. It will answer the following research questions: (1) Can a reliable and accurate process-based, watershed-scale mercury loading model be developed that will allow Reclamation to assess the feasibility and effectiveness of mercury management measures in its facilities such as reservoirs? (2) What are the key physical and biochemical processes, among many possibilities, that should be simulated more accurately than others for a reliable mercury delivery simulation? (3) Can we develop novel numerical methods to simulate mercury delivery more efficiently and reliably than existing models?
Need and Benefit
"There is an urgent need at the Reclamation-wide level to have access to a reliable mercury model that may be used to assess the feasibility of mercury management measures at each specific Reclamation reservoirs. In the MP Region, for example, the need has been identified to develop a framework for decision making related to mercury management in reservoirs. This research will assist in finding the most efficient and cost effective solutions. Watershed mercury models are important tools for assessing and predicting ecological/human risks of mercury. At the present, few spatially-explicit watershed models exist focusing on mercury cycling from landscape to surface waters. A modeling tool may benefit the reservoir managers and operators to answer the question of whether reservoir operational changes can be developed to reduce mercury methylation."
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