Anticoagulant Prairie Dog Rodenticides
The delayed and subtle toxicity of prairie dog anticoagulants to raptors combined with their tendency to travel great distances and seek concealment when injured results in much uncertainty on how exposure may hinder their ability to survive and reproduce. Use of anticoagulant rodenticides for prairie dog control may present an increased secondary risk to non-target species reminiscent of times before strychnine use was banned (click here for PBS 1970 broadcast of Prairie Killers).
Wildlife Lead Ingestion
Photo: Gregory Stempien
Debilitated ferrruginous hawk.
In 1985 the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), through the National Irrigation Water Quality Program (NIWQP), began a series of field investigations at 26 areas in the Western U.S. to determine whether irrigation drainage has had harmful effects on fish, wildlife, and humans (Seiler et al. 2003). NIWQP reconnaissance areas in South Dakota included the Angostura Reclamation Unit in Custer and Fall River Counties and the Belle Fourche Reclamation Project in Butte County. Selenium was routinely measured at concentrations that could be problematic at sites upstream and downstream from both study areas (Sando et al. 2001). The Belle Fourche sites also had 4 of 10 avian eggs with selenium concentrations that exceeded a 6 microgram per gram threshold for embryotoxicity (Seiler et al. 2003). Selenium concentrations were also measured by the NIWQP for lands irrigated with non-DOI water at Lake Andes, Pocasse, Shadehill, Rapid Valley, Redwater, and the James River.
Lemly AD, Skorupa JP. 2007. Technical issues affecting the implementation of US Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed fish tissue-base aquatic criterion for selenium. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management 3(4):552-558.
Madison TC. 1860. Sanitary report-Fort Randall, in Coolidge RH, Statistical report on the sickness and mortality in the Army of the United States, January 1855 to January 1860: 36th [U.S.] Congress Senate Exchange Document, v. 52, p. 37–41.
Seiler RL, Skorupa JP, Naftz DL, Nolan BT. 2003. Irrigation-induced contamination of water, sediment, and biota in the western United States-synthesis of data from the National Irrigation Water Quality Program. US Geological Survey. US Geological Survey professional paper 1655. 123p.
Sando SK, Williamson JE, Dickerson KK, Wesolowski EA. 2001. Irrigation Drainage Studies of the Angostura Reclamation Unit and the Belle Fourche Reclamation Project, Western South Dakota: Results of 1994 Sampling and Comparisons with 1988 Data.. Water-Resources Investigations Report 01-4103. 65 p.
Stach RL, Olson OE, Palmer IS, Helgerson RN, Chadima SA. 1990. Selenium in South Dakota waters. Report of investigations 112. Science Center University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD. 69 p.
National EC Webpage:http://www.fws.gov/contaminants/index.cfm
For further information on South Dakota contaminants issues,
Last updated: September 9, 2013