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David Nimick

Research Hydrologist (Emeritus)

Contact Info


Short Biography

·         M.S. Degrees in Geology from the University of Washington (1977, glacial geology) and the University of Montana (1990, aqueous geochemistry)

·         Instructor, Geology Department, University of Montana (1989, finite-difference ground-water modeling)

·         Hydrologist and Research Hydrologist with USGS since 1989; currently member of the USGS Toxic Substances Hydrology Program “Watershed Contamination from Hard-Rock Mining” research group

·         Leader of large, interdisciplinary projects:

1.   National Irrigation Water Quality Program—Phase 3 Detailed Studies of the Sun River Irrigation Project (1991-1997)

2.   USGS Abandoned Mine Lands Initiative--Boulder River Watershed (1997-2003)

3.   Diel Metal Cycling (2000-present)

4.   Tongue River Surface Water-Quality Monitoring Network (2004-2007)

5.   Pre-Mining Water Quality in Streams of Historical Mining Districts (2004-2009)

6. Glacial Geology of the Colonia Valley, Northern Patagonian Icefield, Chile (2011-present)

·         Technical advisor and/or participant on technical advisory committees at the request of  USEPA, USFWS, USACE, USFS, BLM, Montana DEQ, and Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks



My scientific interests are primarily in disciplines essential for understanding environmental health, including hydrology, environmental geochemistry, toxicology, and modeling.  My primary scientific endeavors have explored:

·         settings with contaminants from natural and anthropogenic sources in coal and hard-rock mining areas, irrigated and non-irrigated agricultural areas, wildlife refuges, and Yellowstone National Park;

·         a wide variety of inorganic contaminants including nutrients, base metals, As, Hg, Se, traditional and non-traditional stable isotopes, and U- and Th-series radionuclides;

·         terrestrial and aquatic habitats in mountainous, forested, and prairie ecosystems;

·         hydrologic systems involving surface water, ground water, the hyporheic and vadose zones, rivers, lakes, and/or wetlands;

·         spatial scales from pebbles to watersheds; and

·         temporal scales from minutes to millennia. 

My scientific collaborations with others have ranged broadly and encompassed fish and invertebrate health, biogeochemistry, microbiology, sediment studies, environmental monitoring, and methods for in-situ analysis and passive sampling. 

 

During the past decade, I have led a group of USGS and non-USGS scientists who have jointly studied diel cycling of trace metals in streams.  Our research focuses on short-term variability of water chemistry in streams, the fundamental biogeochemical processes that affect solid-solution partitioning of metals, and the biological consequences of diel metal cycles.  This research is part of the Watershed Contamination from Hard-Rock Mining project of the Toxic Substances Hydrology Program.

 

Most recently, I initiated interdisciplinary studies that are examining the glacial history of the Colonia glacier (an outlet valley glacier draining Chile's Northern Patagonian Icefield) as well as the causes ands consequences of glacial lake outburst floods from Lago Cachet Dos, which is dammed by the Colonia glacier.  These studies include field mapping, age-dating (dendrochronology, radiocarbon, cosmogenic, optically stimulated luminescence), remote sensing, and glacier modeling.



Publications

Caldwell, R.R., Nimick, D.A., DeVaney, R.M., 2014, Occurrence and hydrochemistry of radiochemical constituents in groundwater of Jefferson County and surrounding areas, southwestern Montana, 2007 through 2010: U.S. Geological Survey Investigations Report 2013–5235. [Link]

Gammons, C.H., Nimick, D.A., Parker, S.R., 2014, Diel cycling of trace elements in streams draining mineralized areas—A review: Applied Geochemistry, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apgeochem.2014.05.008 [Link]

Nimick, D.A., Caldwell, R.R., Skaar, D.R., Selch, T.M., 2013, Fate of geothermal mercury from Yellowstone National Park in the Madison and Missouri Rivers, USA. Science of the Total Environment, v. 443, p. 40-54. [Link]

Runkel, R.L., Walton-Day, K., Kimball, B.A., Verplanck, P.V., Nimick, D.A., 2013, Estimating instream constituent loads using replicate synoptic sampling, Peru Creek, Colorado: Journal of Hydrology, v. 489, p. 26-41.

Balistrieri, L.S., Nimick, D.A., Mebane, C.A., 2012, Assessing time-integrated dissolved concentrations and predicting toxicity of metals during diel cycling in streams. Science of the Total Environment, v. 425, p. 155-168. [Link]

Friesen, B.A., Nimick, D.A., Wilson, E.M., 2012, Creating a Global Fiducials Program (GFP) site: Lago Cachet Dos example in Chile. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, December 3-7, 2012, San Francisco, CA.

Nimick, D.A., Gammons, C.H., Parker, S.R., 2011, Diel biogeochemical processes and their effect on the aqueous chemistry of streams: A review. Chemical Geology, v. 283, p. 3-17. [Link]

Nimick, D.A., Gammons, C.H., 2011, Diel biogeochemical processes in terrestrial waters. Chemical Geology, v. 283, p. 1-2. [Link]

Nimick, D.A., McCarthy, P.M., Fields, V., 2011, A digital model for planning water management at Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge, west-central Montana. U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2011-5133, 26 p. [Link]

Kinsey, S.M., Nimick, D.A., 2011, Potential water-quality effects of coal-bed methane production water discharged along the upper Tongue River, Wyoming and Montana. U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2011-5196, 28 p. [Link]

Unruh, D.M., Church, S.E., Nimick, D.A., Fey, D.L., 2009, Metal contamination and post-remediation recovery in the Boulder River watershed, Jefferson County, Montana. Geochemistry: Exploration, Environment, Analysis, v. 9, p. 179-199. [Link]

Nimick, D.A., Gurrieri, J.T., Furniss, G., 2009, An empirical method for estimating instream pre-mining pH and dissolved Cu concentration in catchments with acidic drainage and ferricrete. Applied Geochemistry, v. 24, p. 106-119. [Link]

Gammons, C.H., Nimick, D.A., Parker, S.R., Snyder, D.M., McCleskey, R.B., Amils, R., Poulson, S.R., 2008, Photoreduction fuels biogeochemical cycling of iron in Spain's acid rivers. Chemical Geology, v. 252, p. 202-213. [Link]

Borrok, D.M., Nimick, D.A., Wanty, R.B., Ridley, W.I., 2008, Isotopic variation of dissolved copper and zinc in stream waters affected by historical mining. Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta, v. 72, p. 329-344. [Link]

Cannon, M.R., Nimick, D.A., Cleasby, T.E., Kinsey, S.M., Lambing, J.H., 2007, Measured and estimated sodium-adsorption ratios for Tongue River and its tributaries, Montana and Wyoming, 2004-06. U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2007-5072, 46 p. [Link]

Nimick, D.A., Harper, D.D., Farag, A.M., Cleasby, T.E., MacConnell, E., Skaar, D., 2007, Influence of in-stream diel concentration cycles of dissolved trace metals on acute toxicity to one-year-old cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki lewisi). Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, v. 12, p. 2667-2678. [Link]

Gammons, C.H., Grant, T.M., Nimick, D.A., Parker, S.R., DeGrandpre, M.D., 2007, Diel changes in water chemistry in an arsenic-rich stream and treatment-pond system. Science of the Total Environment, v. 384, p. 433-451. [Link]

Chapin, T.P., Nimick, D.A., Gammons, C.H., Wanty, R.B., 2007, Diel cycling of zinc in a stream impacted by acid rock drainage: initial results from a new in-situ Zn analyzer. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, v. 133, p. 161-167. [Link]

Parker, S.R., Gammons, C.H., Jones, C.A., Nimick, D.A., 2007, Role of hydrous iron oxide formation in attenuation and diel cycling of dissolved trace metals in a stream affected by acid rock drainage. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, v. 181, p. 247-263. [Link]

Farag, A.M., Nimick, D.A., Kimball, B.A., Church, S.E., Harper, D.D., Brumbaugh, W.G., 2007, Concentrations of metals in water, sediment, biofilm, benthic macroinvertebrates, and fish in the Boulder River watershed, Montana, and the role of colloids in metal uptake. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, v. 52, p. 397-409. [Link]

Nimick, D.A., McCleskey, R.B., Gammons, C.H., Parker, S.R., 2007, Diel mercury concentration cycles in streams affected by mining and geothermal discharge. Science of the Total Environment, v. 373, p. 344-355. [Link]

Nimick, D.A., 2006. Environmental effects of historical mining in the Boulder River watershed, southwestern Montana. U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2005-3148, 2 p. [Link]

Morris, J.M., Farag, A.M., Nimick, D.A., Meyer, J.S., 2006, Light-mediated Zn uptake in photosynthetic biofilm. Hydrobiologia, v. 571, p. 361-371. [Link]

Morris, J.M., Nimick, D.A., Farag, A.M., Meyer, J.S., 2005, Does biofilm contribute to diel cycling of Zn in High Ore Creek, Montana?. Biogeochemistry, v. 76, p. 233-259. [Link]

Gammons, C.H., Woods, S.A., Nimick, D.A., 2005, Diel behavior of rare earth elements in a mountain stream with acidic to neutral pH. Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta, v. 69, p. 3747-3758. [Link]

Gammons, C.H., Nimick, D.A., Parker, S.R., Cleasby, T.E., McCleskey, R.B., 2005, Diel behavior of iron and other trace metals in a mountain stream with acidic to neutral pH: Fisher Creek, Montana, USA. Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta, v. 69, p. 2505-2516. [Link]

Nimick, D.A., Cleasby, T.E., McCleskey, R.B., 2005, Seasonality of diel cycles of dissolved metal concentrations in a Rocky Mountain stream. Environmental Geology, v. 47, p. 603-614. [Link]

Nimick, D.A., Church, S.E., Finger, S.E. (editors), 2004. Integrated investigations of environmental effects of historical mining in the Basin and Boulder Mining Districts, Boulder River watershed, Jefferson County, Montana. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1652, 523 p.; 18 chapters [Link]

Nimick, D.A., 2004. Monitoring surface-water quality in the Tongue River Watershed. U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2004-3011, 2 p. [Link]

Jones, C.A., Nimick, D.A., McCleskey, R.B., 2004, Relative effect of temperature and pH on diel cycling of dissolved trace elements in Prickly Pear Creek, Montana. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, v. 153, p. 95-113. [Link]

Nimick, D.A., Cleasby, T.E., 2004, Trace elements in water in streams affected by historical mining, chap. D5 of Nimick, D.A., Church, S.E., Finger, S.E., eds., Integrated investigation of environmental effects of historical mining in the Basin and Boulder mining districts, Boulder River watershed, Jefferson County, Montana. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1652, p. 155-190. [Link]

Cleasby, T. E., Thamke, J.N., Nimick, D.A., 2003. Arsenic and metal loads and source areas in the Middle Fork Warm Springs Creek watershed, Jefferson County, Montana, June 2001. U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 2003-4153, 33 p. [Link]

Klein, T.L., Thamke, J.N., Harper, D.D., Farag, A.M., Nimick, D.A., Fey, D.L., 2003, Water-quality, bed-sediment, and biological data, for streams in the upper Prickly Pear Creek watershed, Montana, 2001. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2003-32, 103 p. [Link]

Nimick, D.A., 2003, Diurnal variation in trace-metal concentrations in streams. U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 086-03, 4 p. [Link]

Nimick, D.A., Gammons, C.H., Cleasby, T.E, Madison, J.P., Skaar, D., Brick, C.M., 2003, Diel cycles in dissolved metal concentrations in streams: Occurrence and possible causes. Water Resources Research, v. 39, no. 9, citation no. 1247, doi:10.1029/WR001571. [Link]

Farag, A.M., Skaar, D., Nimick, D.A., MacConnell, E., Hogstrand, C., 2003, Characterizing aquatic health using salmonid mortality, physiology, and biomass estimates in streams with elevated concentrations of arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, and zinc in the Boulder River watershed, Montana. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, v. 132, p. 450-467. [Link]

Thamke, J.N., Wotan, T.R., Cleasby, T.E., Nimick, D.A., 2002, Arsenic loads and source areas in and along Bear Creek, Park County, Montana, September 2000. U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 2002-4074, 25 p. [Link]

Cleasby, T.E., Nimick, D.A., 2002, Metal concentrations and sources in the Miller Creek watershed, Park County, Montana, August 2000. U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 2002-4148, 32 p. [Link]

Cleasby, T.E., Nimick, D. A., 2002, Streamflow, water quality, and quantification of metal loading in the upper Tenmile Creek watershed, Lewis and Clark County, west-central Montana, September 1998. U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 2002-4072, 64 p. [Link]

Nimick, D.A., Cleasby, T.E., 2001, Quantification of metal loads by tracer injection and synoptic sampling in Daisy Creek and the Stillwater River, Park County, Montana, August 1999. U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 2000-4261, 51 p. [Link]

Cleasby, T.E., Nimick, D.A., Kimball, B.A., 2000, Quantification of metal loads by tracer-injection and synoptic-sampling methods in Cataract Creek, Jefferson County, Montana, August 1997. U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 2000-4237, 39 p. [Link]

Nimick, D.A., Cleasby, T.E., 2000. Water-quality data for streams in the Boulder River Watershed, Jefferson County, Montana. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2000-99, 70 p. [Link]

Kendy, E., Nimick, D.A., Malloy, J.C., 1999, Detailed study of selenium in glacial-lake deposits, wetlands, and biota associated with irrigation drainage in the southern Freezeout Lake area, west-central Montana, 1994-95. U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 99-4019, 51 p. [Link]

Kimball, B.A., Nimick, D.A., Gerner, L.J., Runkel, R.L., 1999, Quantification of metal loading in Fisher Creek by tracer injection and synoptic sampling, Park County, Montana, August 1997. U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 99-4119, 40 p. [Link]

Thamke, J.N., Nimick, D.A., 1998, Dryland farming and livestock as sources of nitrate in ground water. U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 018-98. [Link]

Nimick, D.A., Thamke, J.N., 1998, Extent, magnitude, and sources of nitrate in the Flaxville and underlying aquifers, Fort Peck Indian Reservation, northeastern Montana. U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 98-4079, 45 p.

Smith, J.D., Lambing, J.H., Nimick, D.A., Parrett, C., Ramey, M., Schafer, W., 1998, Geomorphology, flood-plain tailings, and metal transport in the upper Clark Fork Valley, Montana. U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 98-4170, 56 p. [Link]

Nimick, D.A., Von Guerard, P. (editors), 1998, Science for watershed decisions on abandoned mine lands; review of preliminary results, Denver, Colorado, February 4-5, 1998. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 98-297, 71 p. [Link]

Nimick, D.A., 1998, Arsenic hydrogeochemistry in an irrigated river valley--A re-evaluation. Ground Water, v. 36, p. 743-753. [Link]

Nimick, D.A., Moore, J.N. Dalby, C.E., Savka, M.W., 1998, The fate of geothermal arsenic in the Madison and Missouri Rivers, Montana and Wyoming. Water Resources Research, v. 34, p. 3051-3067. [Link]

Tuck, L.K., Dutton, D.M., Nimick, D.A., 1997, Hydrologic and water-quality data related to the occurrence of arsenic for areas along the Madison and Upper Missouri Rivers, southwestern and west-central Montana. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 97-203, 124 p. [Link]

Nimick, D.A., 1997, Hydrology and water chemistry of the Benton Lake basin with emphasis on the fate of dissolved solids at Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge, west-central Montana. U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 97-4100, 79 p. [Link]

Nimick, D.A., Lambing, J.H., Palawski, D.U., Malloy, J.C., 1996, Detailed study of selenium in soil, water, bottom sediment, and biota in the Sun River Irrigation Project, Freezout Lake Wildlife Management Area, and Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge, west-central Montana, 1990-92. U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 95-4170, 120 p. [Link]

Lambing, J.H., Nimick, D.A., Knapton, J.R., Palawski, D.U., 1994, Physical, chemical, and biological data for detailed study of the Sun River Irrigation Project, Freezout Lake Wildlife Management Area, and Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge, west-central Montana, 1990-92, with selected data for 1987-89. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 94-120, 171 p. [Link]

Nimick, D.A., Moore, J.N., 1994, Stratigraphy and chemistry of sulfidic flood-plain sediments in the upper Clark Fork valley, Montana, in Alpers, C.N., Blowes, D.W., eds., Environmental geochemistry of sulfide oxidation. Washington, D.C., American Chemical Society Symposium Series 550, p. 276-288. [Link]

Nimick, D.A., 1993, Hydrology and water chemistry of shallow aquifers along the upper Clark Fork, western Montana. U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 93-4052, 63 p. [Link]

Knapton, J.R., Nimick, D.A., 1991, Quality assurance for water-quality activities of the U.S. Geological Survey in Montana. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 91-216, 41 p. [Link]

Nimick, D.A., Moore, J.N., 1991, Prediction of water-soluble metal concentrations in fluvially deposited tailings. Applied Geochemistry, v. 6, p. 635-646. [Link]

Sorey, M.L., Colvard, E.M., Nimick, D.A., Shields, R.R., Thordsen, J.J., Ambats, Gil, 1991, Hydrologic investigations in the Corwin Springs Known Geothermal Resources Area and adjacent parts of Yellowstone National Park, in Sorey, M.L., ed., Effects of potential geothermal development in the Corwin Springs Known Geothermal Resources Area, Montana, on the thermal features of Yellowstone National Park: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigation Report 91-4052, p. G1-G41. [Link]





My USGS Science Strategy Areas

The Role of Environment and Wildlife in Human Health

Energy & Minerals for America's Future

Diel Metal Cycling

Image of Diel Metal Cycling

Research scientists from the USGS, Montana State University, Montana Tech of the University of Montana, University of Wyoming, and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks have worked collaboratively for the last decade to improve the understanding of diel metal cycling.  Hypothesized causes of these diel metal cycles include streamflow variation, groundwater exchange, temperature- and pH-dependent sorption, precipitation and dissolution of solid phases, redox cycling, and biotic uptake.  While recent work has begun to document the extent and magnitude of diel cycling and to measure variables likely related to diel cycling, the relative effect of each of the plausible processes has not been ascertained.  Current research plans are directed at determining the relative importance of these processes and providing guidance on appropriate strategies for sampling streams with diel cycles of metal concentrations.


Contact Information

David Nimick
3162 Bozeman
Helena, MT 59601-6456
dnimick@usgs.gov
406-457-5918
406-457-5990 - Fax
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