Document Title:

Screening-Level Assessment of Organochlorine Compounds in Raccoons (Procyon lotor) at Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge

Steven E. Mierzykowski Dawn Washington Fred Corey David Macek

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The Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge (ARONWR) was established in 1998 on the site of the former Loring Air Force Base (LAFB), a cold-war era Strategic Air Command facility. Throughout the course of its 40+ year operational history, Department of Defense activities at LAFB resulted in widespread contamination of soil, sediment, surface water, groundwater and biotic resources of the former base and present-day wildlife refuge. In addition to the release of large volumes of petroleum products, cleaning solvents, heavy metals, and other toxic chemicals to the environment; leaking underground transformers contributed to a chronic release of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) that contaminated sediments along several miles of the East Branch of Greenlaw Brook. Air Force remedial activities included a massive PCB-contaminated sediment removal project in Greenlaw Brook that resulted in the excavation and disposal of over 100,000 cubic yards of surficial sediments and floodplain soils. Subsequent sediment sampling by the Aroostook Band of Micmacs, however, located several pockets of unremediated, contaminated sediments in Greenlaw Brook. Moreover, long-term contaminant monitoring of brook trout in Greenlaw Brook indicates only modest declines in body burdens of organochlorines since the large-scale sediment remediation. Greenlaw Brook divides refuge and tribal lands. The USFWS and the Micmac tribe both had concerns regarding residual contaminant uptake by resident wildlife using the brook, and the tribe was also concerned about sustenance consumption of wildlife. In this screening level contaminant assessment, the raccoon was selected for study. Raccoons are an important animal to the Micmacs and to other Native American tribes providing fur and food. Fat from the animal is also used by tribes for medicinal purposes. We enlisted local trappers to collect raccoons from the Greenlaw Brook riparian area. Adipose (fat) and liver tissue were extracted to determine if raccoons are accumulating PCBs and other organochlorine pesticides. For comparative purposes, trappers also collected raccoons from off-refuge reference sites. Between 2006 and 2007, nine raccoons were collected and analyzed for organochlorine compounds; four from the refuge and five from reference areas. DEQ Project ID: 200750001.1 Region 5 ID: 1261-5N43

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service



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

Last updated: June 12, 2015