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US Geological Survey

Research by USGS
USGS researchers checking for mercury contamination on the Refuge

Mercury research
Mercury has been documented to occur in the Great Salt Lake and associated wetlands including Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. This heavy metal at high levels can be toxic to birds especially having a negative effect on reproduction. 

In 2010 and 2011, researchers from the US Geological Survey began studying mercury contamination in waterbirds and shorebirds on the refuge by collecting eggs from various species and determining the level of mercury concentration. Some level of mercury showed up in all species; however, the highest levels were found in fish eating species such as Forester’s and Caspian terns. 

The research continued in 2012 with researchers following the fate of nests relative to mercury levels.
All results to date are preliminary. USGS researchers are analyzing all three years of data. More information will be available in the near future and a final report will be put together over the next year.

For more information project, click on these links for the Mercury Contaminants Fact Sheet or the Project's Web Page.

Facts About US Geological Survey

The USGS is a science organization that provides impartial information on the health of our ecosystems and environment, the natural hazards that threaten us, the natural resources we rely on, the impacts of climate and land-use change, and the core science systems that help us provide timely, relevant, and useable information.
Last Updated: Dec 03, 2012
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