skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on March 16, 2023

Title: Five state factors control progressive stages of freshwater salinization syndrome
Factors driving freshwater salinization syndrome (FSS) influence the severity of impacts and chances for recovery. We hypothesize that spread of FSS across ecosystems is a function of interactions among five state factors: human activities, geology, flowpaths, climate, and time. (1) Human activities drive pulsed or chronic inputs of salt ions and mobilization of chemical contaminants. (2) Geology drives rates of erosion, weathering, ion exchange, and acidification-alkalinization. (3) Flowpaths drive salinization and contaminant mobilization along hydrologic cycles. (4) Climate drives rising water temperatures, salt stress, and evaporative concentration of ions and saltwater intrusion. (5) Time influences consequences, thresholds, and potentials for ecosystem recovery. We hypothesize that state factors advance FSS in distinct stages, which eventually contribute to failures in systems-level functions (supporting drinking water, crops, biodiversity, infrastructure, etc.). We present future research directions for protecting freshwaters at risk based on five state factors and stages from diagnosis to prognosis to cure.
Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; more » ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; « less
Award ID(s):
2021015 2021089
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10338248
Journal Name:
Limnology and Oceanography Letters
ISSN:
2378-2242
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Freshwater salinization syndrome (FSS) refers to the suite of interactive effects of salt ions on degradation of physical, biological,and social systems. Best management practices (BMPs), which are methods to effectively reduce runoff and nonpoint source pollution (stormwater, nutrients, sediments), do not typically consider management of salt pollution. We investigate impacts of FSS on mobilization of salts, nutrients, and metals in urban streams and storm water BMPs by analyzing original data on concentrations and fluxes of salts, nutrients, and metals from 7 urban watersheds in the Mid-Atlantic USA and synthesizing literature data. We also explore future critical research needs through a survey of practitioners and scientists. Our original data show 1) sharp pulses in concentrations of salt ions and metals in urban streams directly following both road salt events and stream restoration construction (e.g.,similar to the way concentrations increase during other soil disturbance activities); 2) sharp declines in pH (acidification) in response to road salt applications because of mobilization of H+ from soil exchange sites by Na+; 3) sharp increases inorganic matter from microbial and algal sources (based on fluorescence spectroscopy) in response to road salt applications, likely because of lysing cells and changes insolubility; 4) substantial retention (~30–40%) of Na+more »in stormwater BMP sediments and floodplains in response to salinization; 5) increased ion exchange and mobilization of diverse salt ions (Na+, Ca2+, K+, Mg2+), nutrients(N, P), and trace metals(Cu, Sr) from stormwater BMPs and restored streams in response to FSS; 6) downstream increasing loads ofCl–, SO42–, Br–, F–,andI–along flowpaths through urbanstreams and P release from urban stormwater BMPs in response to salinization; and 7)a substantial annual reduction (>50%) in Na+concentrations in an urban stream when road salt applications were dramatically reduced, which suggests potential for ecosystem recovery. We compare our original results with published metrics of contaminant retention and release across a broad range of stormwater BMPs from North America and Europe.Overall, urban streams and stormwater BMPs consistently retain Na+ and Cl–but mobilize multiple contaminants based on salt types and salinity levels. Finally, we present our top 10 research questions regarding FSS impacts on urban streams and stormwater BMPs. Reducing diverse chemical cocktails of contaminants mobilized by freshwater salinization is a priority for effectively and holistically restoring urban waters.« less
  2. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Freshwater salinization is an emerging global problem impacting safe drinking water, ecosystem health and biodiversity, infrastructure corrosion, and food production. Freshwater salinization originates from diverse anthropogenic and geologic sources including road salts, human-accelerated weathering, sewage, urban construction, fertilizer, mine drainage, resource extraction, water softeners, saltwater intrusion, and evaporative concentration of ions due to hydrologic alterations and climate change. The complex interrelationships between salt ions and chemical, biological, and geologic parameters and consequences on the natural, social, and built environment are called Freshwater Salinization Syndrome (FSS). Here, we provide a comprehensive overview of salinization issues (past, present, and future), and we investigate drivers and solutions. We analyze the expanding global magnitude and scope of FSS including its discovery in humid regions, connections to human-accelerated weathering and mobilization of ‘chemical cocktails.’ We also present data illustrating: (1) increasing trends in salt ion concentrations in some of the world’s major freshwaters, including critical drinking water supplies; (2) decreasing trends in nutrient concentrations in rivers due to regulations but increasing trends in salinization, which have been due to lack of adequate management and regulations; (3) regional trends in atmospheric deposition of salt ions and storage of salt ions in soils and groundwater, andmore »(4) applications of specific conductance as a proxy for tracking sources and concentrations of groups of elements in freshwaters. We prioritize FSS research needs related to better understanding: (1) effects of saltwater intrusion on ecosystem processes, (2) potential health risks from groundwater contamination of home wells, (3) potential risks to clean and safe drinking water sources, (4) economic and safety impacts of infrastructure corrosion, (5) alteration of biodiversity and ecosystem functions, and (6) application of high-frequency sensors in state-of-the art monitoring and management. We evaluate management solutions using a watershed approach spanning air, land, and water to explore variations in sources, fate and transport of different salt ions ( e.g. monitoring of atmospheric deposition of ions, stormwater management, groundwater remediation, and managing road runoff). We also identify tradeoffs in management approaches such as unanticipated retention and release of chemical cocktails from urban stormwater management best management practices (BMPs) and unintended consequences of alternative deicers on water quality. Overall, we show that FSS has direct and indirect effects on mobilization of diverse chemical cocktails of ions, metals, nutrients, organics, and radionuclides in freshwaters with mounting impacts. Our comprehensive review suggests what could happen if FSS were not managed into the future and evaluates strategies for reducing increasing risks to clean and safe drinking water, human health, costly infrastructure, biodiversity, and critical ecosystem services.« less
  3. Inland freshwater salinity is rising worldwide, a phenomenon called the freshwater salinization syndrome (FSS). We investigate a potential conflict between managing the FSS and indirect potable reuse, the practice of augmenting water supplies through the addition of highly treated wastewater (reclaimed water) to surface waters and groundwaters. From time-series data collected over 25 years, we quantify the contributions of three salinity sources—a water reclamation facility and two rapidly urbanizing watersheds—to the rising concentration of sodium (a major ion associated with the FSS) in a regionally important drinking-water reservoir in the Mid-Atlantic United States. Sodium mass loading to the reservoir is primarily from watershed runoff during wet weather and reclaimed water during dry weather. Across all timescales evaluated, sodium concentration in the reclaimed water is higher than in outflow from the two watersheds. Sodium in reclaimed water originates from chemicals added during wastewater treatment, industrial and commercial discharges, human excretion and down-drain disposal of drinking water and sodium-rich household products. Thus, numerous opportunities exist to reduce the contribution of indirect potable reuse to sodium pollution at this site, and the FSS more generally. These efforts will require deliberative engagement with a diverse community of watershed stakeholders and careful consideration of themore »local political, social and environmental context.« less
  4. ABSTRACT Changing ocean conditions driven by anthropogenic activities may have a negative impact on fisheries by increasing stress and disease. To understand how environment and host biology drives mucosal microbiomes in a marine fish, we surveyed five body sites (gill, skin, digesta, gastrointestinal tract [GI], and pyloric ceca) from 229 Pacific chub mackerel, Scomber japonicus , collected across 38 time points spanning 1 year from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Pier (La Jolla, CA). Mucosal sites had unique microbial communities significantly different from the surrounding seawater and sediment communities with over 10 times more total diversity than seawater. The external surfaces of skin and gill were more similar to seawater, while digesta was more similar to sediment. Alpha and beta diversity of the skin and gill was explained by environmental and biological factors, specifically, sea surface temperature, chlorophyll a , and fish age, consistent with an exposure gradient relationship. We verified that seasonal microbial changes were not confounded by regional migration of chub mackerel subpopulations by nanopore sequencing a 14,769-bp region of the 16,568-bp mitochondria across all temporal fish specimens. A cosmopolitan pathogen, Photobacterium damselae , was prevalent across multiple body sites all year but highest in the skin, GI,more »and digesta between June and September, when the ocean is warmest. The longitudinal fish microbiome study evaluates the extent to which the environment and host biology drives mucosal microbial ecology and establishes a baseline for long-term surveys linking environment stressors to mucosal health of wild marine fish. IMPORTANCE Pacific chub mackerel, Scomber japonicus , are one of the largest and most economically important fisheries in the world. The fish is harvested for both human consumption and fish meal. Changing ocean conditions driven by anthropogenic stressors like climate change may negatively impact fisheries. One mechanism for this is through disease. As waters warm and chemistry changes, the microbial communities associated with fish may change. In this study, we performed a holistic analysis of all mucosal sites on the fish over a 1-year time series to explore seasonal variation and to understand the environmental drivers of the microbiome. Understanding seasonality in the fish microbiome is also applicable to aquaculture production for producers to better understand and predict when disease outbreaks may occur based on changing environmental conditions in the ocean.« less
  5. The importance of fish consumption as the primary pathway of human exposure to mercury and the establishment of fish consumption advisories to protect human health have led to large fish tissue monitoring programs worldwide. Data on fish tissue mercury concentrations collected by state, tribal, and provincial governments via contaminant monitoring programs have been compiled into large data bases by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes National Monitoring Program Office (GLNPO), the Ontario Ministry of the Environment’s Fish Contaminants Monitoring and Surveillance Program (FMSP), and many others. These data have been used by a wide range of governmental and academic investigators worldwide to examine long-term and recent trends in fish tissue mercury concentrations. The largest component of the trend literature is for North American freshwater species important in recreational fisheries. This review of temporal trends in fish tissue mercury concentrations focused on published results from freshwater fisheries of North America as well as marine fisheries worldwide. Trends in fish tissue mercury concentrations in North American lakes with marked overall decreases were reported over the period 1972–2016. These trends are consistent with reported mercury emission declines as well as trends in wet deposition across the U.S. and Canada. More recently, amore »leveling-off in the rate of decreases or increases in fish tissue mercury concentrations has been reported. Increased emissions of mercury from global sources beginning between 1990 and 1995, despite a decrease in North American emissions, have been advanced as an explanation for the observed changes in fish tissue trends. In addition to increased atmospheric deposition, the other factors identified to explain the observed mercury increases in the affected fish species include a systematic shift in the food-web structure with the introduction of non-native species, creating a new or expanding role for sediments as a net source for mercury. The influences of climate change have also been identified as contributing factors, including considerations such as increases in temperature (resulting in metabolic changes and higher uptake rates of methylmercury), increased rainfall intensity and runoff (hydrologic export of organic matter carrying HgII from watersheds to surface water), and water level fluctuations that alter either the methylation of mercury or the mobilization of monomethylmercury. The primary source of mercury exposure in the human diet in North America is from the commercial fish and seafood market which is dominated (>90%) by marine species. However, very little information is available on mercury trends in marine fisheries. Most of the data used in the published marine trend studies are assembled from earlier reports. The data collection efforts are generally intermittent, and the spatial and fish-size distribution of the target species vary widely. As a result, convincing evidence for the existence of fish tissue mercury trends in marine fish is generally lacking. However, there is some evidence from sampling of large, longlived commercially-important fish showing both lower mercury concentrations in the North Atlantic in response to reduced anthropogenic mercury emission rates in North America and increases in fish tissue mercury concentrations over time in the North Pacific in response to increased mercury loading.« less