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Document Title:

Mercury Assessment of Brandy Pond T39 MD, Maine

AUTHOR(S):
Steven E. Mierzykowski


REPORT NUMBER:
FY10-MEFO-3-EC
PAGES:
1 - 31

PUBLICATION DATE: August 2011

ABSTRACT:
Brandy Pond is a remote, shallow, pond in east-central Maine. A bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) nest territory has existed on the pond since the mid 1960s. Since the establishment of the nest, the bald eagle territory at Brandy Pond has had extremely poor productivity. Researchers have collected ten non-viable eagle eggs at the pond over the past five decades and mercury levels in eggs have chronically been well above suggested reproductive effect thresholds. The source of mercury contamination in the Brandy Pond watershed is not known. A tannery, the Thirty-Nine Tannery, once existed approximately one mile northwest of Brandy Pond and was active throughout the mid to late 1800s and early 20th century before burning around 1906. Buffalo Stream runs past the former tannery site and connects to the western shore of Brandy Pond by an intermittent stream. The Thirty-Nine Tannery processed animal hides for sole leather. The tannery process in Maine in the 1800s was primarily an organic or vegetable process using tannic acids from hemlock bark. It is not known if the Thirty-Nine Tannery switched to a chemical tanning process at the beginning of the 1900s. Mercury was once a common element used in the leather tanning process. It has long been locally debated whether mercury contamination in fish and wildlife from Brandy Pond is from the former tannery or from other sources. Mercury in the pond may be more likely associated with watershed and chemistry characteristics that influence the bioavailability of atmospherically-deposited mercury. To resolve the issue, sediments and fish were collected from Brandy Pond and from Eagle Lake, a nearby reference lake, and analyzed for mercury. Sediments were also collected from Buffalo Stream, above and below the location of the former tannery. Region 5 ID: 53411-1130-5F47 DEQ ID: 200950004.1

PUBLISHED BY:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

DOCUMENT LINK:
http://www.fws.gov/northeast/mainecontaminants/pdf/5F47BrandyPondReport.pdf, 1 MB

ADDITIONAL LINKS:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Maine Contaminants Program

Last updated: February 13, 2013