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White Paper - Treated Wood Issues Associated with Overwater Structures in Marine and Freshwater Environments

Category: Habitat - Guidelines

Date Published: April 05, 2001

Number of Pages: 102

Author(s): Ted Poston, Battelle

The state-of-the-knowledge white paper on this subject was completed May 2001. Issues associated with the use of treated wood in overwater structures are addressed in the white paper.


As part of the process outlined in Washington's Statewide Strategy to Recover Salmon: Extinction is Not an Option the Washington Departments of Fish and Wildlife, Ecology, and Transportation were charged to develop Aquatic Habitat Guidelines employing an integrated approach to marine, freshwater, and riparian habitat protection and restoration. Guidelines will be issued, as funding allows, in a series of manuals addressing many aspects of aquatic and riparian habitat protection and restoration.

This document is one of a series of white papers developed to provide a legitimate scientific and technical basis for developing Aquatic Habitat Guidelines. The white papers address the current understanding of impacts of development and land management activities on aquatic habitat, and potential mitigation for these impacts. Individual white papers will not necessarily result in a corresponding guidance document. Instead, guidance document development, addressing management and technical assistance needs, may incorporate information synthesized from one or more of the white papers.

The scope of work for each white paper requested a “comprehensive but not exhaustive” review of the peer-reviewed scientific literature, symposia literature, and technical (gray) literature, with an emphasis on the peer-reviewed literature. The reader of this report can therefore expect a broad review of the literature, which is current through late 2000. Several of the white papers also contain similar elements including the following sections: overview of the guidelines project, overview of the subject white paper, assessment of the state of knowledge, summary of existing guidance, recommendations for future guidance documents, glossary of technical terms, and bibliography.

Focus of the Assessment

This white paper provides an assessment of current research on chemical contaminants in treated wood and the potential for adverse impact to salmon listed under the Endangered Species Act as well as other aquatic resources. The assessment focuses on recent (within the past 10 years) field-oriented studies that evaluate the spatial and temporal distribution of toxic constituents used in treated wood. However, most of the field studies specifically addressing treated wood installations did not address salmonids as a targeted receptor.