Potential Future Site of Pe Ell Dam

In this aerial file photo taken on Oct. 9, 2009, a planned site for a potential dam outside of Pe Ell is seen.

In response to a proposed dam on the Chehalis River near Pe Ell, a report has been released that assesses the risk of a possible increase in rates of mercury bioaccumulation.

The report, written by a master of environmental studies student from The Evergreen State College with support from the state Department of Ecology staff, evaluates the characteristics of a dam with a proposed reservoir and reviews mercury data from lakes and reservoirs in the state.

One design proposed for the dam would create a permanent reservoir for flood retention and flow augmentation. The dam is referred to as an FRFA structure. Another option under consideration would only create a reservoir during flooding events. 

“Results suggest that, if built, the FRFA reservoir would be conducive to mercury methylation and bioaccumulation, which could reach levels higher than found in other waterbodies in Western Washington, particularly in the short-term,” states a description of the report. “Recommendations are offered for future studies to increase understanding of methyl mercury in reservoirs.” 

Those recommendations include studies that monitor fish tissue, sediment and the water column in other reservoirs. 

If the FRFA reservoir is selected, the report states the reservoir could result in mercury concentrations in fish tissue that could reach higher levels than currently found in the Chehalis River system, according to a press release.

“The risk assessment examined the factors known to affect mercury bioaccumulation, analyzed the expected characteristics of the proposed reservoirs, compared mercury data from lakes and reservoirs in Washington State, and identified existing gaps in data and knowledge,” according to the release. 

The report, titled “Chehalis River Proposed Flood Retention Reservoirs: A Review of Potential Mercury Impacts,” is available online at https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/SummaryPages/1703015.html.

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(1) comment


Way too sensationalized story. The author of the study is an activist ideologue who writes

"Think corporate domination sucks? Want to support education over war? Help Occupy Bellingham! March with us at 4pm every friday from the Federal Building to bank of America downtown to support the work of #OccupyWallSt."

I'll be reviewing the report, but it is absurdly tentative "May" "could" etc.

It seems to suggest that natural lake fish have slightly higher traces, and that by creating another lake we might get the same result. Not a story other than that the governor's Dept. of Ecology seems to want to sensationalize (News release with Mercury in the Title?).

How does creating more lake fish compare to the chemical and biological damage caused by flooding septic systems and sewer processing facilities?

Learn about the author's biases here (I've a copy in case he privates the page) https://www.facebook.com/morgan.maupin and we already know the governor’s anti-rural biases.

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