Loon /Mercury Demonstration Project
The Clean Water Act (CWA) provides the legislative mandate under which the Office of Water (OW) is charged with restoring and maintaining the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation's waters. Mercury (Hg) contamination remains a high priority issue because of widespread atmospheric deposition and concerns of accumulation through aquatic food webs of the extremely toxic methylmercury (CH3Hg). In addition, the draft Jeopardy Opinion for the California Toxics Rules also requires the Office of Water to derive new wildlife criteria specifically for Hg and selenium.
AED's loon Hg Demonstration Project has been developed to evaluate the
utility of the research approaches used to develop methods and apply criteria
to support designated uses. The overall objective of this demonstration
project is to develop the tools and approaches for assessing the risks
of multiple stressors (toxic chemicals, habitat alteration, and direct
human disturbance) to populations of piscivorous wildlife, supporting
development of risk-based criteria.
Three specific major research objectives are:
- development of a mechanistically-based approach for extrapolating Hg toxicological data across wildlife species;
- development of approaches for predicting population-level responses of common loons and other avian species to stressors including Hg exposure and habitat alteration, and identification of responses at the individual level that have the greatest influence on population-level responses;
- development of approaches for evaluating the absolute and relative risks from Hg exposure, habitat alteration, and other environmental factors on (spatially structured) common loon populations of northeastern US and Canada at varying scales ranging up to watershed and biogeographic region.
Contact: Diane Nacci