A study of Canada geese (B. canadensis) was conducted in the Pacific Northwest from 1978 through 1981. Lowered reproductive success, mortality of adults, and a population decline of resident western Canada geese (B. c. moffitti) at the Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge (Umatilla NWR) Oregon and Washington [USA] were associated with the use of heptachlor-treated wheat. Analyses of eggs and tissues from dead geese provided strong evidence that heptachlor was responsible for the mortality and decreased production. Residues of heptachlor epoxide (HE) in brains of B. c. moffitti found dead in 1978 and 1979 equalled or exceeded the lethal hazard zone of 8-9 .mu.g/g in experimental passerine birds; HE residues of > 10 .mu.g/g in sample eggs were associated with low nest success. The breeding population of Canada geese at Umatilla decreased from 129 pairs in 1974 to about 100 pairs in 1979. The heptachlor problem was restricted to the Umatilla area; HE residues were low in tissues and eggs collected at other sites in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. In Sept., 1979, the use of heptachlor-treated seed was banned in a 1700-km2 area that encompassed both sides of the Columbia River near Umatilla. Lindane was substituted for heptachlor in the restricted area in 1979, and its use was extended to much of the Columbia Basin in 1981. Concurrently, reproductive success of geese increased, mortality decreased, and the nesting population increased to 170 pairs by 1983. There was no evidence for either biomagnification of lindance residues from treated seed to goose tissues or eggs or for induction of adverse effects by this compound.
Additional publication details
Effects of heptachlor- and lindane-treated seed on Canada geese