Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 121, Issue 1–3, pp 181–212 | Cite as

Habitat Conditions and Correlations of Sediment Quality Triad Indicators in Delaware Bay

  • S. Ian HartwellEmail author
  • M. Jawed Hameedi


This paper summarizes sampling results from NOAA's National Status and Trends (NS&T) Program for marine environmental quality in Delaware Bay. A stratified-random design was used to determine the spatial extent of sediment contamination and toxicity in Delaware Bay from offshore stations in the coastal zone, the lower estuary, the upper estuary, the fresh/salt mixing zone, and tidal fresh areas. Sediment samples were taken for chemical analyses of major classes of environmental contaminants, a suite of toxicity bioassays, and benthic macrofaunal community assessment to identify patterns of resident species. The tidal-fresh areas and portions of the mixing zone of the study area were heavily contaminated. Contaminant concentrations were frequently above the 90th percentile of EMAP Virginian Province levels. PAHs in the sediment were higher than previously documented, with a major component of PAHs being pyrogenic in origin. Bioassay results were highly variable. Toxicity and contaminant levels were correlated when aggregated into indices, but were only marginally correlated with benthic community impacts. High and low abundance stations were found in all zones. Most of the tidal fresh stations were dominated by pollution tolerant species. Species diversity and abundance were generally lowest in the fresh/salt mixing zone.


contamination Delaware Bay indicators sediment quality triad toxicity 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anderson, J. W., Jones, J. M., Steinert, S., Sanders, B., Means, J., McMillin, D., Vu, T. and Tukey, R. H.: 1999a, ‘Correlation of CYP1A1 induction, as measured by the P450 RGS biomarker assay, with high molecular weight PAHs in mussels deployed at various sites in San Diego Bay in 1993 and 1995’, Mar. Environ. Res. 48, 389–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson, J. W., Jones, J. M., Hameedi, J., Long, E. and Tukey, R. H.: 1999b, ‘Comparative analysis of sediment extracts from NOAA's Bioeffects Studies by the biomarker, P450 RGS’, Mar. Environ. Res. 48, 407–425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. American Public Health Association: 1998, ‘P450 Reporter Gene Response to Dioxin-like Organics. Method 8070’, in: Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater, 20th Ed, American Public Health Association, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  4. American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM): 1992, ‘Standard guide for conducting 10-day static sediment toxicity test with marine and estuarine amphipods. Designation E-1367-92’, in: Annual Book of Standards, 11.04. American Society of Testing and Materials, Philadelphia, PA.Google Scholar
  5. American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM): 1999, ‘E 1853M-98 Standard guide for measuring the presence of planar organic compounds which induce CYP1A, reporter gene test systems’, in: Biological Effects and Environmental Fate; Biotechnology; Pesticides, 1999 Annual Book of ASTM Standards, Volume 11.05 – Water and Environmental Technology. American Society for Testing and Materials, West Conshohocken, PA.Google Scholar
  6. Barrick, R. B., Beller, H., Becker, S. and Ginn, T.: 1989, ‘ Use of the apparent effects threshold approach (AET) for classifying contaminated sediments’, in: Proceedings of Oceans 1989 Conference, Seattle, WA, September, pp. 18–21.Google Scholar
  7. Carman, K. R., Fleeger, J. W. and Pomarico, S. M.: 1997, ‘Response of a benthic food web to hydrocarbon contamination’, Limno. Oceano. 42(3), 561–571.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Carr, R. S.: 1998, ‘Marine and estuarine porewater toxicity testing’, in: P. G. Wells, K. Lee and C. Blaise (eds), Microscale Testing in Aquatic Toxicology, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. pp. 523–538.Google Scholar
  9. Carr, R. S. and Biedenbach, J. M.: 1999, ‘Use of power analysis to develop detectable significance criteria for sea urchin toxicity tests’, Aq. Eco. Health Manag. 2, 413–418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chapman, P. M.: 1996, ‘Presentation and interpretation of sediment quality triad data’, Ecotox. 5, 327–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Di Toro, D. M., Zarba, C. S., Hansen, D. J., Berry, W. J., Swartz, R. C., Cowan, C. E., Pavlou, S. P., Allen, H. E., Thomas, N. A. and Paquin, P. R.: 1991, ‘Technical basis for establishing sediment quality criteria for non-ionic organic chemicals using equilibrium partitioning’, Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 10, 1541–1583.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC): 1994, ‘Sediment contaminants of the Delaware estuary’, Delaware River Basin Commission Report, March, 1993, DRBC, Philadelphia, PA.Google Scholar
  13. Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC): 1998, ‘Delaware estuary monitoring report’, Delaware River Basin Commission, Aug. 1998, Philadelphia, PA.Google Scholar
  14. EPA: 1994a, ‘Methods for assessing the toxicity of sediment-associated contaminants with estuarine and marine amphipods’, EPA-600/R-94/025. Office of Research and Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Narragansett, RI.Google Scholar
  15. EPA: 1994b, ‘Statistical summary, EMAP-Estuaries Virginian Province B 1991’, U.S. EPA, ORD EMAP. EPA/620/R-94/005.Google Scholar
  16. EPA: 1997, ‘The incidence and severity of sediment contamination in surface waters of the United States. Volume 1: National sediment quality survey’, EPA 823-R-97-006. Office of Science and Technology, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  17. EPA: 1999, ‘Method 4425: Screening extracts of environmental samples for planar organic compounds (PAHS, PCBS, PCDDS/PCDFS) by a reporter gene on a human cell line’, EPA Office of Solid Waste, SW 846 Methods, Update IVB, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  18. EPA: 1996, ‘Method 3550: Extraction of soils and sediment by sonication’, in: Test Methods for Evaluating Solid Waste, Physical/Chemical Methods, SW-846, Third Edition and Update III., EPA Office of Solid Waste, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  19. Fairey, R., Bretz, C., Lamerdin, S., Hunt, J., Anderson, B., Tudor, S., Wilson, C. J., LaCaro, F., Stephenson, M., Puckett, M. and Long, E. R.: 1996, ‘Chemistry, toxicity and benthic community conditions in sediments of the San Diego Bay region’, State of California Water Resources Control Board Final Report to NOAA, 169 p. plus appendices.Google Scholar
  20. Ferraro, S. P. and Cole, F. A.: 2002, ‘A field validation of two sediment-amphipod toxicity tests’, Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 21, 1423–1437.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Field, L. J., MacDonald, D. D., Norton, S. B., Severn, C. G. and Ingersoll, C. G.: 1999, ‘Evaluating sediment chemistry and toxicity data using logistic regression modeling’, Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 18, 1311–1322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fleeger, J. W., Carman, K. R. and Nisbet, R. M.: 2003, ‘Indirect effects of contaminants in aquatic ecosystems,’ Sci. Tot. Environ. 317, 207–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hartwell, S. I.: 1997, ‘Demonstration of a toxicological risk ranking method to correlate measures of ambient toxicity and fish community diversity’, Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 16(2), 361–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hartwell, S. I.: 1998 (ed), ‘Biological Habitat Quality Indicators for Essential Fish Habitat: Workshop Proceedings, 14-15 July, 1997’, Charleston, SC. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-F/SPO-32, NOAA/NMFS, Silver Spring, Maryland, September, 1998.Google Scholar
  25. Hartwell, S. I.: 1999, ‘Empirical assessment of an ambient toxicity risk ranking model's ability to differentiate clean and contaminated sites’, Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 18(6),1298–1303.Google Scholar
  26. Hartwell, S. I. and Claflin, L. W.: 2005, ‘Cluster analysis of contaminated sediment data – nodal analysis’, Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 24(7), 1816–1834.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hartwell, S. I., Hameedi, J. and Harmon, M.: 2001, ‘Magnitude and extent of contaminated sediment and toxicity in Delaware Bay’, NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS/NCCOS/CCMA 148. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service, Silver Spring, MD, 107 p.Google Scholar
  28. Hyland, J. L., Van Dolah, R. F. and Snoots, T. R.: 1999, ‘Predicting stress in benthic communities of southeastern U.S. estuaries in relation to chemical contamination of sediments’, Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 18(11), 2557–2564.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Johnson, B. T. and Long, E. R.: 1998, ‘Rapid toxicity assessment of sediment from estuarine ecosystems: A new tandem in vitro testing approach’, Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 17, 1099–1106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Karr, J. R.: 1981. ‘Assessment of biotic integrity using fish communities’, Fisheries 6, 21–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Karr, J. R. and Chu, E. W.: 1997, ‘Biological monitoring and assessment: Using multimetric indexes effectively’, Univ. Washington, Seattle, WA. EPA 325-R97-001.Google Scholar
  32. Kenebel, H. J.: 1989. ‘Modern sedimentary environments in a large tidal estuary, Delaware Bay’, Mar. Geol. 86, 119–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kiddon, J. A., Paul, J. F., Buffum, H. W., Strobel, C. S., Hale, S. H., Cobb, D. and Brown, B. S.: 2003. ‘Ecological condition of US mid-Atlantic estuaries, 1997–1998’, Mar. Poll. Bull. 46, 1224–1244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lauenstein, G. G. and Cantillo, A. Y.: 1998, (eds), ‘Sampling and analytical methods of the National Status and Trends Program Mussel Watch Project: 1993–1996 Update’, National Ocean. and Atmos. Admin., NOS, Silver Spring, Maryland, March 1998.Google Scholar
  35. Llansó, R. J., Scott, L. C., Hyland, J. L., Dauer, D. M., Russel, D. E. and Kutz, F. W.: 2002, ‘An estuarine benthic index of biological integrity for the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. II. Index development’, Estuaries 25(6), 1231–1242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Long, E. R., MacDonald, D. D., Smith, S. L. and Calder, F. D.: 1995, 'Incidence of adverse biological effects within ranges of chemical concentrations in marine and estuarine sediments’, Environ. Manag. 19, 81–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. MacDonald, D. D., Carr, R. S., Calder, F. D., Long, E. R. and Ingersoll, C. G.: 1996, ‘Development and evaluation of sediment quality guidelines for Florida coastal waters’, Ecotox. 5, 253–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. MacDonald, D. D., Ingersoll, C. G. and Berger, T. A.: 2000, 'Development and evaluation of consensus-based sediment quality guidelines for freshwater ecosystems’, Archives of Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 39, 20–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Millward, R. N. and Grant, A.: 2000, ‘Pollution-induced tolerance to copper of nematode communities in the severely contaminated Restronguet Creek and adjacent estuaries, Cornwall, United Kingdom’, Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 19, 454–461.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. National Research Council (NRC): 1985, ‘Oil in the sea: Inputs, fates, and effects’, National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 589 pp.Google Scholar
  41. Paul, J. F., Gentile, J. H., Scott, K. J., Schimmel, S. C., Campbell, D. E. and Latimer, R. W.: 1999, ‘EMAP-Virginian province four-year assessment’, EPA/620/R-99/004, US Environmental Protection Agency, Narragansett, RI, 119 p.Google Scholar
  42. Pielou, E. C.: 1966, ‘The measurement of diversity in different types of biological collections,’ J. Theoretical Biol. 13, 131–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Reish, D. J.: 1979, ‘Bristle Worms (Annelida: Polychaeta)’, in: C.W. Hart and S.L.H. Fuller (eds), Pollution Ecology of Estuarine Invertebrates. Academic Press, NY, NY. pp 78–126.Google Scholar
  44. Riedel, G. F. and Sanders, J. G.: 1998, ‘ Trace element speciation and behavior in the tidal Delaware river’, Estuaries 21(1), 78–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Schropp, S. J. and Windom, H. L.: 1988, ‘A guide to the interpretation of metal concentrations in estuarine sediments’, Report to the Office of Water Policy, Florida Dept. of Environ. Protection, Tallahassee, FL. 51 p.Google Scholar
  46. Shannon, L. C. and Weaver, W.: 1949, The Mathematical Theory of Communication, Univ. of Illinois Press, Urbana, Ill. 117p.Google Scholar
  47. SCBW (Symposium on the Classification of Brackish Waters): 1959, Venice 8–14, April, 1958. Arch Oceanography and Limnology 11, Suppl Google Scholar
  48. Thursby, G. B., Heltshe, J. and Scott, K. J.: 1997, ‘ Revised approach to toxicity test acceptability criteria using a statistical performance assessment’, Environmental Toxicity and Chemistry 16, 1322–1329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Turgeon, D. D., Hameedi, M. J., Harmon, M. R., Long, E. R., McMahon, K. D. and White, H. H.: 1998, ‘Sediment toxicity in U.S. coastal Waters’, National Ocean. and Atmos. Admin., NOS, Silver Spring, Maryland, March 1998.Google Scholar
  50. Wenning, R. J. and Ingersoll, C. G.: 2002, ‘Summary of the SETAC Pellston Workshop on Use of Sediment Quality Guidelines and Related Tools for the Assessment of Contaminated Sediments,’ 17–22 August 2002; Fairmont, Montana, USA. Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC). Pensacola FL, USA.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Centers for Coastal Ocean ScienceCenter for Coastal Monitoring and AssessmentSilver SpringUSA

Personalised recommendations