|National Irrigation Water Quality Program
U.S. Department of the Interior
Selenium in Aquatic Birds Inhabiting the Kendrick Reclamation Project, Wyoming: Apparent Impacts from Irrigation Drainwater
P. Ramirez Jr., U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
J.A. Armstrong, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Studies of the Kendrick Reclamation Project, Natrona County, Wyoming, were conducted in 1988-89 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to determine if irrigation drainage has the potential to cause harmful effects to migratory aquatic birds. Elevated selenium concentrations were found in the aquatic food at levels suspected of causing adverse effects to birds and fish. Embryo mortality and deformities found in American avocets (Recurvirostra americana); Canada geese (Branta canadensis); and eared grebes (Podiceps nigricollis) may be linked to the selenium-contaminated food chain as these breeding birds feed almost exclusively in the Kendrick Reclamation Project. Juvenile Canada geese and eared grebes and adult American avocets had selenium at concentrations suspected of causing adverse reproductive effects or toxicosis. Fish from the project area and from reaches of the North Platte River receiving irrigation return flows also had selenium at concentrations suspected of causing adverse reproductive effects.