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Great Lakes Assessment Work and the R/V Mudpuppy

photo: Samplers onboard the R/V Mudpuppy collecting a sediment core
Samplers onboard the
R/V Mudpuppy

collecting a sediment core.

photo: U.S. EPA Great Lakes National Program Office's Research Vessel (R/V) Mudpuppy
U.S. EPA Great Lakes National Program Office's Research Vessel (R/V) Mudpuppy

In order to assist the AoCs with determining the nature and extent of sediment contamination, GLNPO provides the Research Vessel, Mudpuppy to conduct sampling across the Great Lakes tributaries and rivers.  The R/V Mudpuppy is a 32-foot flat-bottom boat specifically designed for sediment sampling in shallow rivers and harbors.  It is equipped with a vibro-coring unit that allows the sampling of cores up to 15 feet long from locations with water depth between 2 and 50 feet. It is equipped with a differentially corrected global positioning system (GPS) with submeter accuracy that allows for precise and accurate determinations of sample locations. Once samples are collected, they can either be subsampled and processed onboard or at land-based facilities. A trailer allows the vessel to be transported easily from one project location to the next. 

Map showing R/V Mudpuppy Sediment Assessments
view larger photo

To date, the R/V Mudpuppy has been used to perform sediment assessments at 27 Great Lakes AoCs in the United States.  The bulk of this work has been conducted to collect information on the physical, chemical, and biological nature of sediments, allowing the three-dimensional mapping of these project sites. Typically, projects use a two-phased sediment assessment approach. The first phase includes a comprehensive sampling of the entire AoC to help pinpoint the location of "hot spots." These "hot spots" are then delineated in the second phase to provide information necessary for making remedial decisions. The overall goal of this effort is to generate the information needed to make scientifically defensible remediation decisions. 

GLNPO typically works closely with state agencies and local communities involved in the RAP process to develop sampling plans, testing protocols, and QAPPs for individual projects.


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