Tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) were used to assess the effectiveness of reducing polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) exposure to wildlife as a result of contaminated sediment removal at locations across the Great Lakes under two dredging scenarios, full or spot dredging. For comparative purposes, other locations where no dredging occurred were also assessed. Calculating accumulation rate, from the mass of a contaminant in tree swallow eggs and nestling carcasses, is a useful tool to assess the effectiveness of sediment removal. It has the advantage over more commonly used metrics such as cubic yards of sediment removed or kg of a contaminant removed, because it assesses a biotic endpoint that has more societal understanding. Egg and nestling concentrations of total PCBs and accumulation rate (μg of total PCBs accumulated per day) were compared pre- and post-dredge. At the most contaminated site, Waukegan Harbor, Illinois, the accumulation rate decreased by 95% because of dredging. At less contaminated locations in Wisconsin and Ohio, the accumulation rate was reduced by dredging as well, but not to such a large extent (~50%). Even at reference locations, there was a very small amount (0.01–0.06 μg/day) of PCBs accumulated each day because of the prevalence of this contaminant in the environment. The profile of individual PCB congeners also differed pre-and post-dredge and demonstrated significant changes as a result of dredging activities.
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Using tree swallows to assess reductions in PCB exposure as a result of dredging at Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) sites in the Upper Midwest, USA|
|Contributing office(s)||Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center|
|Google Analytic Metrics||Metrics page|