Abstract for: Our Gem or Toxic Soup: Mitigating Toxic Metal Release Resulting From Biogeochemical Processes

Coeur d’Alene Lake (Idaho, USA) is a valuable resource to surrounding communities but presents a potential ecological disaster, just waiting to happen. Research over the past few decades has shown the likelihood for a cultural eutrophication process to release large quantities of toxic mining waste, currently trapped in the lakebed sediment. Present management plans have been ineffective in preventing nutrient runoff into the lake and will likely be unable to stop eutrophication from occurring in the long-run. The research in progress seeks to develop a System Dynamics model to link hydrology, eutrophication, subsequent metal-release processes, and policy measures. The goal is to allow policy managers and members of the public to gain insight into the complex system structure so that effective strategies for mitigating the release of mining waste can be developed.