Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Mercury in Adirondack/Catskills Wetlands:Mercury in Adirondack Wetlands, Lakes and the Land(ST4916-1)

Tetra Tech, Inc.


Mercury cycling in drainage lake-watershed systems involves the interactions of complex processes, including natural processes in lakes and surrounding watersheds. Numerous lakes in New York with no apparent point source of mercury have been found to contain fish with elevated mercury levels. Studies indicate that atmospheric deposition provides a significant portion of the mercury in these lakes. A major contributor to atmospheric deposition of mercury is coal combustion for the generation of electricity. The U.S. EPA continues to develop new regulations that will require reductions in mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants.

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Project Description

This project is the most comprehensive assessment of watershed mercury cycling in the northeast. Tetra Tech, and its subcontractors (Syracuse Univ., Cornell Univ., Smith College, Adirondack Lakes Survey Corporation, and U.S.G.S), have: (1) selected a watershed for mass balance analysis, (2) characterized the system to determine inputs and outputs and to establish flowpaths of water, (3) characterized the lake-watershed system chemically to track mercury movement and transformations, (4) determined fish mercury concentrations, (5) developed and applied a model that accounts for processes influencing mercury cycling and accumulation in fish, and (6) begun to prepare a model user's manual. A mercury deposition monitoring station will be established in the Catskills. A survey of aqueous mercury concentrations will be conducted in approximately 20 locations in Catskills reservoirs.


Models verified through environmental monitoring will help policy makers understand how changes in emissions, deposition, water chemistry, and watershed hydrology effect changes in the concentration of mercury in fish, and the rate of change associated with changes in atmospheric deposition.

Project Results

This report describes the major findings from the field, laboratory, and modeling investigations designed to develop an understanding of the behavior of mercury in drainage lake-watershed systems through a mass balance analysis and to produce an integrated mathematical model with the capability of simulating the terrestrial, wetland, and in-lake processes that influence the levels of mercury in fish.


Tetra Tech, Inc.
6410 Enterprise Lane Suite 300
Madison, WI 53719

Principle Investigator

Sujoy Roy

Universities Involved

Syracuse University
SUNY College of Environmental Science an


Project Type:

Environmental Monitoring & Research

Technologies Types:

NYSERDA Contact Information

Gregory Lampman


R&D - Environment & Energy Res

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST4916-1

Last Updated: 12/28/2010