Exploring Biophysical Linkages Between Coastal Forestry Management Practices and Aquatic Bivalve Contaminant Exposure

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Terrestrial land use activities present cross-ecosystem threats to riverine and marine species and processes. Specifically, pesticide runoff can disrupt hormonal, reproductive, and developmental processes in aquatic organisms, yet non-point source pollution is difficult to trace and quantify. In Oregon, U.S.A., state and federal forestry pesticide regulations, designed to meet regulatory water quality requirements, differ in buffer size and pesticide applications. We deployed passive water samplers and collected riverine and estuarine bivalves Margaritifera falcata, Mya arenaria, and Crassostrea gigas from Oregon Coast watersheds to examine forestry-specific pesticide contamination. We used non-metric multidimensional scaling and regression to relate concentrations and types of pesticide contamination across watersheds to ownership and management metrics. In bivalve samples collected from eight coastal watersheds, we measured twelve unique pesticides (two herbicides; three fungicides; and seven insecticides). Pesticides were detected in 38% of bivalve samples; and frequency and maximum concentrations varied by season, species, and watershed with indaziflam (herbicide) the only current-use forestry pesticide detected. Using passive water samplers, we measured four current-use herbicides corresponding with planned herbicide applications; hexazinone and atrazine were most frequently detected. Details about types and levels of exposure provide insight into effectiveness of current forest management practices in controlling transport of forest-use pesticides.


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