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Assessing the Freshwater Quality of a Large-Scale Mining Watershed: The Need for Integrated Approaches

(2019) Water.
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Abstract
<jats:p>Water quality assessments provide essential information for protecting aquatic habitats and stakeholders downstream of mining sites. Moreover, mining companies must comply with environmental quality standards and include public participation in water quality monitoring (WQM) practices. However, overarching challenges beyond corporate environmental responsibility are the scientific soundness, political relevance and harmonization of WQM practices. In this study, a mountainous watershed supporting large-scale gold mining in the headwaters, besides urban and agricultural landuses at lower altitudes, is assessed in the dry season. Conventional physicochemical and biological (Biological Monitoring Water Party-Colombia index) freshwater quality parameters were evaluated, including hydromorphological and land-use characteristics. According to the indicators used, water quality deterioration by mining was absent, in contrast to the effects of urban economic activities, hydromorphological alterations and (less important) agricultural pollutants. We argue that mining impacts are hardly captured due to the limited ecological knowledge of high-mountain freshwaters, including uncharacterized mining-specific bioindicators, environmental baselines and groundwater processes, as well as ecotoxicological and microbial freshwater quality components. Lessons for overcoming scientific and operational challenges are drawn from joint efforts among governments, academia and green economy competitiveness. Facing a rapid development of extractive industries, interinstitutional and multidisciplinary collaborations are urgently needed to implement more integrated freshwater quality indicators of complex mining impacts.</jats:p>
Keywords
Geography, Planning and Development, Aquatic Science, Biochemistry, Water Science and Technology

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Mercado Garcia, Daniel et al. “Assessing the Freshwater Quality of a Large-Scale Mining Watershed: The Need for Integrated Approaches.” Water (2019): n. pag. Print.
APA
Mercado Garcia, D., Beeckman, E., Van Butsel, J., Arroyo, N. D., Sanchez Peña, M., Van Buggenhoudt, C., De Saeyer, N., et al. (2019). Assessing the Freshwater Quality of a Large-Scale Mining Watershed: The Need for Integrated Approaches. Water.
Chicago author-date
Mercado Garcia, Daniel, Eveline Beeckman, Jana Van Butsel, Nilton Deza Arroyo, Marco Sanchez Peña, Cécile Van Buggenhoudt, Nancy De Saeyer, et al. 2019. “Assessing the Freshwater Quality of a Large-Scale Mining Watershed: The Need for Integrated Approaches.” Water.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Mercado Garcia, Daniel, Eveline Beeckman, Jana Van Butsel, Nilton Deza Arroyo, Marco Sanchez Peña, Cécile Van Buggenhoudt, Nancy De Saeyer, Marie Anne Eurie Forio, Karel De Schamphelaere, Guido Wyseure, and Peter Goethals. 2019. “Assessing the Freshwater Quality of a Large-Scale Mining Watershed: The Need for Integrated Approaches.” Water.
Vancouver
1.
Mercado Garcia D, Beeckman E, Van Butsel J, Arroyo ND, Sanchez Peña M, Van Buggenhoudt C, et al. Assessing the Freshwater Quality of a Large-Scale Mining Watershed: The Need for Integrated Approaches. Water. 2019;
IEEE
[1]
D. Mercado Garcia et al., “Assessing the Freshwater Quality of a Large-Scale Mining Watershed: The Need for Integrated Approaches,” Water, 2019.
@article{8629719,
  abstract     = {<jats:p>Water quality assessments provide essential information for protecting aquatic habitats and stakeholders downstream of mining sites. Moreover, mining companies must comply with environmental quality standards and include public participation in water quality monitoring (WQM) practices. However, overarching challenges beyond corporate environmental responsibility are the scientific soundness, political relevance and harmonization of WQM practices. In this study, a mountainous watershed supporting large-scale gold mining in the headwaters, besides urban and agricultural landuses at lower altitudes, is assessed in the dry season. Conventional physicochemical and biological (Biological Monitoring Water Party-Colombia index) freshwater quality parameters were evaluated, including hydromorphological and land-use characteristics. According to the indicators used, water quality deterioration by mining was absent, in contrast to the effects of urban economic activities, hydromorphological alterations and (less important) agricultural pollutants. We argue that mining impacts are hardly captured due to the limited ecological knowledge of high-mountain freshwaters, including uncharacterized mining-specific bioindicators, environmental baselines and groundwater processes, as well as ecotoxicological and microbial freshwater quality components. Lessons for overcoming scientific and operational challenges are drawn from joint efforts among governments, academia and green economy competitiveness. Facing a rapid development of extractive industries, interinstitutional and multidisciplinary collaborations are urgently needed to implement more integrated freshwater quality indicators of complex mining impacts.</jats:p>},
  articleno    = {1797},
  author       = {Mercado Garcia, Daniel and Beeckman, Eveline and Van Butsel, Jana and Arroyo, Nilton Deza and Sanchez Peña, Marco and Van Buggenhoudt, Cécile and De Saeyer, Nancy and Forio, Marie Anne Eurie and De Schamphelaere, Karel and Wyseure, Guido and Goethals, Peter},
  issn         = {2073-4441},
  journal      = {Water},
  keywords     = {Geography,Planning and Development,Aquatic Science,Biochemistry,Water Science and Technology},
  language     = {eng},
  title        = {Assessing the Freshwater Quality of a Large-Scale Mining Watershed: The Need for Integrated Approaches},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/w11091797},
  year         = {2019},
}

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