Chapter

A Framework for a Mercury Monitoring and Assessment Program: Synthesis and Future Research

Robert P. Mason

in Mercury in the Environment

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780520271630
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520951396 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520271630.003.0006
A Framework for a Mercury Monitoring and Assessment Program: Synthesis and Future Research

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This chapter discusses the development of a mercury (Hg) monitoring program for North America that would provide sufficient information for modelers to extrapolate the results collected to provide forecasting capabilities to inform policy. The chapter discusses the data gathering, interpretation, and modeling needed to provide managers and policy makers with sufficient defensible information to make decisions about the regulation of Hg emissions and to develop strategies to mitigate concentrations in aquatic organisms consumed by humans. The chapter discusses the most useful indicators for the examination of changes in Hg contamination in different compartments of the environment (air, water, watersheds, sediments, biota) for freshwater, terrestrial, and coastal ecosystems. The program would provide the ability to relate these changes to changes in Hg emissions or in other factors. The indicators identified are wide-ranging and involve measurements at different scales of time and space. The need for baseline data is crucial, as changes are already occurring; it is critical that an assessment program be implemented soon. To assess ecological changes in Hg concentrations, a long-term commitment to ecological monitoring and modeling is necessary. It could take up to twenty years before the scope of the impacts of changes in Hg emissions are manifested. The details of the overall program depend on the location and extent of the region to be monitored.

Keywords: mercury; emissions; monitoring; network; modeling; indicators; ecosystem response; methylmercury; bioaccumulation; risk; policy

Chapter.  12994 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Pathology and Diseases

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