Identifying Novel Contaminants and Toxicants in Our Stormwater
In rapidly urbanizing areas of the Unites States, stormwater runoff is a major water quality and treatment problem because it accumulates many harmful chemicals from our homes, roads, and cities as it flows downstream. However, the chemical make-up of urban stormwater runoff is poorly understood, even though it is known to be harmful to fish and aquatic ecosystems (often called “urban stream syndrome”).
A new, NSF-funded project led by UW Freshwater Initiative faculty Ed Kolodziej will focus on identifying toxic chemicals in urban stormwater, especially focusing on understanding the link between stormwater pollution and observations of acute mortality in adult coho salmon in the Pacific Northwest. This project will measure harmful pollutants in stormwater so we can better manage urban water quality and protect fish such as the economically and culturally important coho salmon.
Citizen scientists will help monitor watersheds for salmon mortality as it happens, and alert project researchers to collect water and tissue samples during acute mortality events. The project will work with citizen science groups, regional agencies, and the Center for Urban Waters (Tacoma, WA) to collaborate with local, regional, state, and tribal communities who are very interested in protecting salmon for economic and cultural reasons.