40 CFR § 230.25 - Salinity gradients.
(a) Salinity gradients form where salt water from the ocean meets and mixes with fresh water from land.
(b) Possible loss of environmental characteristics and values: Obstructions which divert or restrict flow of either fresh or salt water may change existing salinity gradients. For example, partial blocking of the entrance to an estuary or river mouth that significantly restricts the movement of the salt water into and out of that area can effectively lower the volume of salt water available for mixing within that estuary. The downstream migration of the salinity gradient can occur, displacing the maximum sedimentation zone and requiring salinity-dependent aquatic biota to adjust to the new conditions, move to new locations if possible, or perish. In the freshwater zone, discharge operations in the upstream regions can have equally adverse impacts. A significant reduction in the volume of fresh water moving into an estuary below that which is considered normal can affect the location and type of mixing thereby changing the characteristic salinity patterns. The resulting changed circulation pattern can cause the upstream migration of the salinity gradient displacing the maximim sedimentation zone. This migration may affect those organisms that are adapted to freshwater environments. It may also affect municipal water supplies.
Possible actions to minimize adverse impacts regarding site characteristics can be found in subpart H.