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Report and appendices for Peplow, D. and R. Edmonds. 2003. Dispersion of metals from abandoned mines and their effects on biota in the Methow River, Okanogan County, Washington. Final project report for BPA Project 1998-035-01, Contract No. 00004710. (UW)

Data Categories water quality
contaminants in tissue of biota
Dates of Data Data: 1999; Report: 2003 TO Data: 2001; Report: 2003
Data Set Status Complete
Data Set Update Schedule n/a
Date Data Set Published on StreamNet Data Store 2/9/2005
Project Name & Number BPA Project # 1998-035-01
Purpose of Data Set Purpose provided in Abstract
Summary / Abstract Supervisory Committee Chairman:
Professor Robert L. Edmonds

College of Forest Resources

A study of mine-waste contamination effects on Methow River habitat on the eastern slopes of the north Cascade Mountains in Washington state, U.S.A., revealed impacts at ecosystem, community, population, individual, tissue, and cellular levels. Ore deposits in the area were mined for gold, silver, copper and zinc until the early 1950?s, but the mines are now inactive. An above-and-below-mine approach was used to compare potentially impacted to control sites. The concentrations of eleven trace elements (i.e., Al, As, B, Ba, Cd, Cr, Cu, Mn, Pb, Se, and Zn) in Methow River sediments downstream from the abandoned mine sites were higher than background levels. Exposed trout and caddisfly larvae in the Methow River showed reduced growth compared to controls. Samples of liver from juvenile trout and small intestine from exposed caddisfly larvae were examined for evidence of metal accumulation, cytopathological change, and chemical toxicity. Morphological changes that are characteristic of nuclear apoptosis were observed in caddisfly small intestine columnar epithelial and trout liver nuclei where extensive chromatin condensation and margination was observed. Histopathological studies revealed glycogen bodies were present in the cytosol and nuclei, which are indicators of Type IV Glycogen Storage Disease (GSD IV). This suggests food is being converted into glycogen and stored in the liver but the glycogen is not being converted back normally into glucose for distribution to other tissues in the body resulting in poor growth. Examination of trout hepatocytes by transmission electron microscopy revealed the accumulation of electrondense granules in the mitochondrial matrix. Matrix granules contain mixtures of Cd, Cu, Au, Pb, Ni, and Ti. Contaminated sediments caused adverse biological effects at different levels of biological organization, from the cellular to ecosystem-level responses, even where dissolved metal concentrations in the corresponding surface water met water-quality criteria.
Broad Biological Groups Fishes
Aquatic insects
Taxa Trout (Salmonidae)
Caddisflies Ecclesiomyia (Trichoptera)
Aspen leaves (Populus tremuloides)
Aspen leaf miner (Phyllocnistis populiella, (Lepidoptera: Gracillaridae))
Location Methow River basin, Okanogan County, Washington
Alder Creek
Twisp River
Methow River
Alder Mine, Alder Mill, Red Shirt Mill
NPCC Subbasins (2001 Subbasins) Columbia Cascade: Methow
Keywords metals, water pollution, sediment, Piezometer leachate, acid mine drainage, atomic fluoresence
Lead Person and Organization That Created the Data Set Dan Peplow
Other Participating Organizations University of Washington College of Forest Resources
Contact Person for Questions About the Data Name:  Dan Peplow
Position:  Research Assistant
Organization:  University of Washington College of Forest Resources
Address:  Box 352100 University of Washington College of Forest Resources
Seattle, WA  98195-2100
Phone:  206-685-8658
email:  Send a note to addressed for dpeplow.
Broad Category of Methods Field
Data Collection Methods Samples of liver from juvenile trout and small intestine from exposed caddisfly larvae were examined for evidence of metal accumulation, cytopathological change, and chemical toxicity.
File Formats Adobe Acrobat report (.pdf)
Micrsoft Excel spreadsheet (.xls)
Data structure description See data set files
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Papers, reports, and presentations that were done under this project. Peplow, Dan, Robert Edmonds, ''Dispersion of Metals from Abandoned Mines and their Effects on Biota in the Methow River'', Project No. 1998-03501, 203 electronic pages. (BPA Report DOE/BP-00004710-3)
Restrictions or legal prerequisites for accessing and using this data set. No

File Size: 7.9 MB