We seeded experimental plots with number 4 lead pellets and sampled these plots for 10 years to assess the settlement rate of pellets in tundra wetland types commonly used by foraging waterfowl. After 10 years, about 10% of pellets remained within 6 cm of the surface, but >50% remained within 10 cm. We predict that spent lead pellets will eventually become unavailable to waterfowl; however, it will likely require >25 years for all pellets to exceed depths at which waterfowl species may forage.
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Long-term persistence of spent lead shot in tundra wetlands