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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

Contaminants of Emerging Concern Sampling in the Cuyahoga River

Region 3, June 19, 2013
Fish and Wildlife Biologists Jo Ann Banda and Sarah Bowman from Ohio's Ecological Services Office process caged fish while sampling in the Cuyahoga River for the CEC Early Warning program.
Fish and Wildlife Biologists Jo Ann Banda and Sarah Bowman from Ohio's Ecological Services Office process caged fish while sampling in the Cuyahoga River for the CEC Early Warning program. - Photo Credit: n/a

Contaminants of emerging concern include hormones, pharmaceuticals, plasticizers, and pesticides and chemicals used in personal care products are often unregulated, or minimally regulated, by state or Federal water quality programs. While the threat they pose is poorly understood, there is growing concern over the presence of contaminants of emerging concern in the environment and many laboratory studies show detrimental effects on fauna exposed to these contaminants. This prompted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Midwest and Northeast Regions' Environmental Contaminants Programs to initiate an early warning program to detect and identify these contaminants in the Great Lakes Basin and their effects on fish and wildlife. With partners from U.S. Geological Survey and St. Cloud State University, wild fish, water and sediment have been collected at sites throughout the Great Lakes in Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio and Wisconsin from 2010-2013 where there are suspected point sources.

In spring (pre-spawn), several species of wild fish were collected in the Cuyahoga River where much of the flow through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is from a waste water treatment plant. Fish were collected at three reaches: a reference location upstream of Cuyahoga Falls, near the Akron Water Pollution Control Facility and downstream of the Route 82 dam in Brecksville. In June caged fish were deployed within these reaches and exposed for 14 days to compare with the observed effects in the wild fish. Caged fish sites were collocated with sediment and water collection sites.

Contact Info: Jo Banda, 614-416-8993 ext 19, joann_banda@fws.gov