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Niagara River Remedial Action Plan Stage 2 Update Report

Niagara River Remedial Action Plan Stage 2 Update Report

2.1.3 Contaminants in

2.1.3 Contaminants in Mink (source - Hughes, 2004) Haffner et al (1998) and Environment Canada sampled contaminants in mink in 1988-89 and 2001- 04 respectively. Haffner et al. sampled mink in Wainfleet township in the southern part of the Welland watershed, while CSD sampled mink from the Stevensville area and in the Lyons Creek watershed within the AOC, as well as at two Lake Erie reference sites along the shoreline near Dunnville (Grand River watershed) and inland. Contaminants measured in the livers of mink were DDE, sum PCBs, PCB 1254:1260, dieldrin, mirex, oxy-chlordane, heptachlor epoxide and HCB. Results are compared across years and sites in table 1 below. Table 1: Mean concentrations of contaminants (+SE, μg/g) in mink livers collected in 1988 and 1989 from Wainfleet township in the Niagara District (Haffner et al. 1998) and in 2001-2004 from Black Creek and Lyons Creek in the Niagara River basin (CWS, unpublished). Data from the eastern Lake Erie Basin, and inland sites within the Lake Erie watershed are included as reference areas. N denotes the number of individuals. Year Site N 1 DDE 1988/ 1989 PCB 1254:1260 Dieldrin Mirex Oxychlodane 2001- 2004 1999- 2002 1999- 2001 Niagara AOC Niagara AOC Lake Erie Inland 8 7 9 (12) 4 (14) 0.050+ 0.027 0.091+ 0.076 0.028+ 0.009 0.007+ 0.003 Sum PCBs n/a 0.889+ 0.712 0.221+ 0.088 0.084+ 0.020 1 = sample size in parentheses are for PCBs 2 = heptachlor epoxide 3 =hexachlorobenzene 0.287+ 0.129 2.46+ 2.013 0.484+ 0.204 0.060+ 0.026 0.0003+ 0.0002 0.0043+ 0.0022 0.0021+ 0.0008 ND 0.0015+ 0.0004 0.0022+ 0.0005 0.0006+ 0.0000 ND 0.0035+ 0.0012 0.0218+ 0.0074 0.0226+ 0.0097 0.0030+ 0.0018 H.E. 2 HCB 3 0.0007+ 0.0002 0.0008+ 0.0004 0.0004+ 0.0002 ND 0.0001+ 0.0004 0.0003+ 0.0002 n/a n/a A summary of results is as follows: }} PCB levels were highest of all the contaminants sampled. As with snapping turtle, the congener pattern in 1988/89 samples suggested exposure to an Aroclor 1254 source. This pattern is not present in mink from 2001 from the Black Creek watershed, but two mink (2001-2004) from the Lyons Creek and Welland Canal near Lyons Creek had elevated concentrations of some PCB congeners associated with Aroclor 1254, compared to mink from elsewhere in the Great Lakes (Martin et al. in press). }} Concentrations of PCBs associated with reproductive problems as determined in the laboratory was 0.98 ug/g PCBs (Restum et al. 1998). One mink from Lyons Creek had concentrations of sum PCBs that exceeded this value (5.15 ug/g). No mink from the inland sites had PCBs exceeding 0.98 ug/g, but 1 mink out of 12 from the eastern basis of Lake Erie exceeded this value (0.995 ug/g). Although the mean sum PCBs and Aroclor equivalents of all mink from Lyons Creek exceed 0.98 ug/g, it was due to the one high value, and all other mink were below this threshold. Due to the high variability in sum PCBs concentrations, presumably due to local sources, it is not possible to infer any temporal trends in contaminant concentrations from 1988/89 to 2001-2004; there were no significant differences in PCBs among the Niagara River AOC, eastern basin of Lake Erie, and inland sites. 158

Niagara river remedial action plan stage 2 update }} Levels of other contaminants were not of concern, although unlike at Lyons Creek, heptachlor epoxide, mirex, dieldrin and octachlorostyrene were below detection limits at the Lake Erie inland sites. 2.2 Types and Frequencies of Deformities/Reproduction Problems and Individual Health Endpoints 2.2.1 Snapping Turtles and their Eggs (Fernie and de Solla, 2004) Environment Canada carried out assessments related to the physiological health and incidences of deformities and reproduction problems in Snapping Turtles in 2002. Sampling was carried out in the Lyons Creek watershed, at Wheatley Harbour AOC, and at reference sites in the former Severn Sound AOC (Tiny Marsh) and in Algonquin Park. Parameters measured were: }} Clinical chemistry endpoints related to kidney function, nitrogen metabolism, liver function, bone dynamics, antioxidant status, lipid metabolism, and glucose levels in adult male turtles }} Hatching success of incubated eggs }} Deformity rates in hatchlings A summary of results is as follows: }} Compared to adult males from AOC and non-AOC reference sites, turtles from Lyons Creek showed suppressed measures related to kidney function, bone dynamics, lipid metabolism, and a reduced ability to compensate for free radicals relating to oxidative stress. They also had elevated measures related to nitrogen metabolism, also indicative of kidney dysfunction. }} Despite substantially elevated PCB levels in eggs, there was no evidence of reduced hatching success of eggs, or increase in deformity rates of hatchlings. 3.0 Current Status of the Impairment The status of this BUI in 1995 as listed in the RAP stage 2 report was “impaired” for deformities and “not known” for reproduction problems. Based on the evidence presented above, and summarized in the following four sections, it is recommended that the impairment be listed as “requires further assessment”. A summary of impairment status based on weighing available evidence under the three key factors used to assess the impairment in combination, is shown in table 2 below. The “requires further assessment” result is based on using the decision matrix shown in section 1.0. 4.0 Review of and Recommendations for Delisting Criteria As the impairment status of this BUI is not conclusively “impaired”, no new delisting criteria are recommended at this time. Should additional evidence suggest a conclusive impairment, it is recommended that delisting criteria be developed. 5.0 Review of and Recommendations for Monitoring and Assessment The following are recommended to track progress in restoring this BUI, or to enhance knowledge about the status of the impairment: } } Development and assessment of endpoints indicating risk of developing reproductive problems or deformities, and/or on population status of snapping turtles from Lyons Creek in comparison to reference sites. 159

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