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Contaminants in fishes from great lakes-influenced sections and above dams of three Michigan Rivers: III. Implications for health of bald eagles


Recently, there have been discussions of the relative merits of passage of fishes around hydroelectric dams on three rivers (Au Sable, Manistee, and Muskegon) in Michigan. A hazard assessment was conducted to determine the potential for adverse effects on bald eagles that could consume such fishes from above and below dams on the three primary rivers. The hazard assessments were verified by comparing the reproductive productivities of eagles nesting in areas where they ate primarily fish from either above or below dams on the three primary rivers, as well as on two additional rivers in Michigan, the Menominee and Thunder Bay. Concentrations of organochlorine insecticides (OCI), polychlorinated biphenyls (total PCBs), 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin equivalents (TCDD-EQ), and total mercury (Hg) were measured in composite samples of fishes from above and below hydroelectric dams on the Manistee and Muskegon Rivers, which flow into Lake Michigan, and the Au Sable River, which flows into Lake Huron. Mean concentrations of OCI, total PCBs, and TCDD-EQ were all greater in fishes from below the dams than in those from above. The hazard assessment indicated that current concentrations of Hg and OCI other than DDT (DDT + DDE + DDD) in fish from neither above nor below dams would present a significant hazard to bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). Both total PCBs and TCDD-EQ in fishes from below the dams currently present a significant hazard to bald eagles, since their mean hazard quotients (HQ) were all greater than one.

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Giesy, J.P., Bowerman, W.W., Mora, M.A. et al. Contaminants in fishes from great lakes-influenced sections and above dams of three Michigan Rivers: III. Implications for health of bald eagles. Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 29, 309–321 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00212495

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  • Waste Water
  • Mercury
  • Water Pollution
  • PCBs
  • Biphenyl