Dredging and contaminant exposure to tree swallows nesting on the upper Mississippi River

Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
By: , and 



n 2008 and 2009, dredge material from the Mississippi River in Pool 8 south of Brownsville, Minnesota was used to construct nearby islands. Chemical analysis of sediment in 2001 and 2002 in the area to be dredged indicated detectable concentrations of organic and inorganic contaminants. Tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor), whose diet is mainly aquatic invertebrates, were used to evaluate contaminant exposure in both the dredged and newly created habitat. Organic and inorganic contaminant data were collected from tree swallows in 2007 through 2010 at one study site near the dredging operation, a reference study site upriver from the dredging activity, one study site down river from the dredging activity, and one study site on a newly created island (2009 and 2010 only). Organic and element concentrations were at background levels in all samples. Polychlorinated biphenyl and p,p′-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene concentrations in tree swallow nestlings decreased at all study sites over the period 2007 to 2010 including the island study site between 2009 and 2010. Element concentrations in tree swallow livers for the non-island study sites did not show a trend among years in relation to the dredging. Selenium concentrations at the newly created island were higher and cadmium concentrations were lower in 2010 than 2009. Hatching success of eggs in successful nests was not associated with dredging activities.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Dredging and contaminant exposure to tree swallows nesting on the upper Mississippi River
Series title Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
DOI 10.1007/s10661-013-3234-z
Volume 185
Issue 11
Year Published 2013
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center
Description 11 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
First page 9043
Last page 9053
Country United States
State Minnesota;Wisconsin
Other Geospatial Mississippi River
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