A synthesis of ten years of chemical contaminant monitoring data in National Park Service - Southeast and southwest Alaska networks

NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS/MCCOS 277
By: , and 



With the exception of PAHs and trace metals, which were detected at 100% of the sites, all of the other contaminants were detected at varying frequencies. PBBs, Mirex and Endosulfans were not detected in any of the samples and Chlorpyrifos was only detected in five samples across four sites. Chlordanes were present at 79% of the sites while Butyltins were only detected at 20% of the sites. Overall, the majority of the concentrations can be considered to be at background levels when compared to the long-term NOAA National Status and Trends (NS&T) monitoring data for blue mussels nationwide. The relatively high concentrations of cadmium, copper, and nickel in comparison to the NS&T national groups could be a combination of natural inputs and anthropogenic sources. The natural exposure and weathering of rocks in southern Alaska can contribute to elevated background concentrations of these metals. Sample concentrations, compositions and/or trends for Total DDT, Total Dieldrins and Total HCHs suggest that these contaminants are no longer bioaccumulating at detectable levels. Total Butyltin concentrations were low compared to the NS&T national concentrations, but the presence of tributyltin (TBT) in recent years at Sitka Visitor's Center (SITK) and Skagway Harbor (SKWY) indicates that fresh sources of Butyltin are still entering these environments, probably through vessel traffic at these sites. The PAH profiles and higher concentrations at SITK, SKWY and Nahku Bay East Side (NBES) suggest that these sites are receiving anthropogenic sources of PAH contamination.

The results included in this report help to provide a greater understanding of general background contamination in NPS SWAN and SEAN parks, as well as other monitoring sites, including range, trends and variability. Future monitoring should aim to continue analyzing the temporal trends of these contaminants on a regional scale through periodic sampling as well as focusing on areas of interest that could shed further insight on range and variation (see supplemental material).

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Title A synthesis of ten years of chemical contaminant monitoring data in National Park Service - Southeast and southwest Alaska networks
Series title NOAA Technical Memorandum
Series number NOS/MCCOS 277
DOI 10.25923/dbyq-7z17
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher NOAA
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center Biology MFEB
Description 102 p.
Country United States
State Alaska
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