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Relief for refuge's selenium problem.

Upon learning on March 14 that the Interior Department's Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) might be in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Interior Sec. Donald Hodel announced he would halt BOR's delivery of irrigation water to -- and acceptance of selenium-contaminated salty drainage from -- 42,000 acres of farmland in California's San Joaquin Valley.

Selenium, leached from the soil by irrigation, has been accumulating in BOR's drainage ponds in the Kesterson National Wildlife Refuge, poisoning waterfowl andother animals there (SN: 11/10/84, p. 299). Hodel said that following BOR's permanent shutdown of the San Luis (irrigation water) Drain, efforts to clean up Kesterson's selenium buildup would begin. Farmers who need the drainage to prevent a saline waterlogging of their soils have petitioned Interior for relief.
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Title Annotation:Kesterson National Wildlife Refuge
Publication:Science News
Date:Mar 30, 1985
Words:126
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