3 years ago

Mapping elemental contamination on Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge

Mapping elemental contamination on Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge
Palmyra Atoll, once a WWII U.S. Navy air station, is now a U.S. National Wildlife Refuge with nearly 50km2 of coral reef and 275ha of emergent lands with forests of Pisonia grandis trees and colonies of several bird species. Due to the known elemental and organic contamination from chemicals associated with aviation, power generation and transmission, waste management, and other air station activities, a screening survey to map elemental concentrations was conducted. A map of 1944 Navy facilities was georeferenced and identifiable features were digitized. These data informed a targeted survey of 25 elements in soils and sediment at locations known or suspected to be contaminated, using a hand-held X-ray fluorescence spectrometer. At dozens of locations, concentrations of elements exceeded established soil and marine sediment thresholds for adverse ecological effects. Results were compiled into a publically available geospatial dataset to inform potential remediation and habitat restoration activities.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0025326X17311013

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