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St.Clair/ Detroit River System Initiative

Contaminants of Emerging Concern


A researcher, from Service partner St. Cloud State University,

evaluates fish during a contaminants of emerging concern

exposure at a stream side rearing facility.

Photo by USFWS



Mandy Annis of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services's Michigan Ecological Services Field Office was a guest speaker at the St. Clair/Detroit River System Initiative Annual Meeting held March 2, 2017, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This water corridor at the extreme south eastern portion of Michigan is shared by Canada and includes the bi-national Areas of Concern of St. Clair and the Detroit River. Sixty-five representatives of various state, federal, and local agencies, and businesses from both countries gathered to better understand the current state of the corridor.


The meeting highlighted both progress and the continuing challenges impacting these waters. Challenges include the unknown risk of contaminants of emerging concern. Annis provided an overview of these contaminants, describing the difficulty of studying these poorly understood, yet commonly occurring chemicals contained in personal care products, pharmaceuticals, agricultural chemicals, surfactants, and flame retardants and plasticizers. The potential threats they pose to fish and wildlife were described.


Discussions centered on how the St. Clair/Detroit River System Initiative can monitor for the impacts of contaminants of emerging concern, as well as research currently underway by the Sservice's Contaminants of Emerging Concern Group and partners, funding by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Research including field health assessments of exposed fish and native freshwater mussels, and ecologically relevant chemicals mix exposures to generations of fish and reproductive native mussels and host fish were described. Given its importance within the corridor, Annis highlighted lake sturgeon research including assessments of exposure to contaminants of emerging concern as well as upcoming investigations of these contaminants at lake sturgeon streamside rearing facilities and their potential impacts.


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Last updated: May 1, 2017