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National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Project

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Mercury in Stream Ecosystems

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Sources, Storage, and Transport of Mercury in the Edisto River Basin—McTier Creek

Group II studies combine empirical and processed based modeling approaches to improve the understanding of key processes that affect storage, transport, and transformations of mercury in stream ecosystems. The Group II studies are focused in two watersheds, the Upper Hudson River Basin, in the central Adirondack region of New York, and the Edisto River Basin, in the coastal plain of South Carolina. These areas provide contrasting and complementary settings for the study of mercury cycling and bioaccumulation in headwater streams with close connectivity to out-of-channel wetlands. Atmospheric deposition is the dominant source of mercury in both of these mostly forested watersheds.
The Edisto River Basin study is focused in McTier Creek, a small headwater stream that drains about 30 square miles and contains about 77% forest, 8% perennial wetland, 14% agriculture, and about 1% open water. Biogeochemical processes and hydrologic connectivity of perennial wetlands, back levee pools and fens, and a variety of other types of wetlands favor the conversion of inorganic mercury to bioavailable methylmercury.

Additional links: USGS NAWQA study in the Santee River Basin | Santee River Basin fact sheet

For more information regarding the NAWQA mercury study in McTier Creek, please contact Celeste Journey at

Land uses in McTier Creek basin

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Page Last Modified: Tuesday, 04-Mar-2014 14:44:03 EST