SIMCOX, A., D. E. NACCI, J. Shanley, J. M. JOHNSTON, AND L. Shields. MERGANSER- Predicting Mercury Levels in Fish and Loons in New England Lakes. Presented at MERGANSER Workhop, Chelmsford, MA, March 23, 2011.
MERGANSER (MERcury Geo-spatial AssesmentS for the New England Region) is an empirical least squares multiple regression model using atmospheric deposition of mercury (Hg) and readily obtainable lake and watershed features to predict fish and common loon Hg (as methyl mercury) in New England lakes. State monitoring programs communicate mercury risks to recreational and subsistence fisherman, however, the majority of waterbodies are unmonitored. The expense of monitoring all potential lakes is prohibitive, therefore we developed a predictive model to address exposure risks in unmonitored waterbodies. We modeled lakes larger than 8 ha and with drainage area completely within the USA (4404 lakes), using 3827 fish (12 species) and loon Hg values from 420 lakes. MERGANSER predictor variables included Hg deposition, watershed alkalinity, percent wetlands, percent forest canopy, percent agriculture, drainage area, population, mean annual air temperature and watershed slope. The model returns fish tissue or loon blood Hg for user-entered species and fish length.