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Sediment quality in near coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico: Influence of Hurricane Katrina


  • Presented at the 29th Annual Meeting, SETAC North America, Tampa, Florida, USA, November 16–20, 2008.


The results of the present study represent a synoptic analysis of sediment quality in coastal waters of Lake Pontchartrain and Mississippi Sound two months after the landfall of Hurricane Katrina. Posthurricane conditions were compared to prehurricane (2000–2004) conditions, for sediment quality data. There were no exceedances of effects range median (ERM) sediment quality guideline values for chemical contaminants in any of the sediment samples collected from the Lake Pontchartrain or the Mississippi Sound study areas following the hurricane. Lower threshold effects range low (ERL) values were exceeded for As, Cd, and Ni at several stations in both survey areas, similar to levels of contamination observed prior to the hurricane. The comparison of sediment quality indicators before and after the hurricane suggests considerable stability of these systems with respect to short-term ecological impacts. Although other studies have shown storm-related changes could be detected (e.g., effects on benthic communities associated with shifts in salinity), there were no indications of widespread sediment contamination. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2010;29:1403–1408. © 2010 SETAC