Great Lakes Monitoring
Contaminated sediments are a significant concern in the Great Lakes Basin. Although toxic discharges have been reduced over the past 30 years, high concentrations of contaminants still remain in the sediments of many rivers and harbors. These sediments are of potential risk to the health of aquatic organisms, wildlife, and humans. To adequately characterize a site, GLNPO uses an integrated sediment assessment approach. This involves collecting data for sediment chemistry, toxicity, and the benthic community at a specific site, and then using the results to determine the extent of contamination that could be impacting the aquatic ecosystem.
To assist in determining the nature and extent of sediment contamination at these polluted sites, US EPA’s Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO) provides the Research Vessel (R/V) Mudpuppy. Since 1993, the R/V Mudpuppy has conducted surveys at 39 locations, including 27 of the 31 Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AoCs).