February 3, 2017: The comment period for the draft Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment closed Monday, January 30, 2017. Thank you to everyone who took the time to review the draft plan and for your comments and feedback. We received over 50 emails and letters. Our next steps are to review and address these comments and work on finalizing the Restoration Plan.
Mercury from industrial activities at a former E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) facility in Waynesboro, VA, contaminated the South River and South Fork Shenandoah River, impacting fish, wildlife, and their habitats, including over 100 miles of river and associated floodplain and riparian habitat. Recreational fishing opportunities were also impacted from the mercury contamination, due to the fish consumption advisory on the South River and South Fork Shenandoah River.
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Trustees, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Commonwealth of Virginia, worked cooperatively with DuPont for over 10 years to study the impacts of mercury on natural resources. Many of the injury studies were published in peer-reviewed literature (list and links below).
Clean up activities on-site and in the South River are ongoing. Information on remediation activities is available online at:
(see TECHDOCS → SOUTH RIVER RCRA)
Information on the NRDAR program is available online at: https://www.doi.gov/restoration/.
For the DuPont case, see DOI Restoration Program - DuPont Waynesboro case.
Published studies related to the DuPont NRDAR. These studies informed the injury assessment.
Amphibian/reptile studies from South River/South Fork Shenandoah River
- Bergeron, C.M., C.M. Bodinof, J.M. Unrine, and W.A. Hopkins. 2010. Mercury accumulation along a contamination gradient and nondestructive indices of exposure in amphibians. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 29(4):980-988.
- Bergeron, C.M., W.A. Hopkins, C.M. Bodinof, S.A. Budischak, H. Wada, and J.M. Unrine. 2011a. Counterbalancing effects of maternal mercury exposure during different stages of early ontogeny in American toads. Science of the Total Environment 409(22):4746-52.
- Bergeron, C.M., W.A. Hopkins, B.D. Todd, M.J. Hepner, and J.M. Unrine. 2011b. Interactive effects of maternal and dietary mercury exposure have latent and lethal consequences for amphibian larvae. Environmental Science & Technology 45:3781-3787.
- Burke J.N., C.M. Bergeron, B.D. Todd, and W.A. Hopkins. 2010. Effects of mercury on behavior and performance of northern two-lined salamanders (Eurycea bislineata). Environmental Pollution 158(12):3546-3551.
- Todd, B.D., J.D. Willson, C.M. Bergeron, and W.A. Hopkins. 2012. Do effects of mercury in larval amphibians persist after metamorphosis? Ecotoxicology 21(1):87-95.
- Willson, J.D. and W.A. Hopkins. 2013. Evaluating the effects of anthropogenic stressors on source-sink dynamics in pond-breeding amphibians. Conservation Biology 27(3):595-604.
- Willson, J.D., W.A. Hopkins, C.M. Bergeron, and B.D. Todd. 2012. Making leaps in amphibian ecotoxicology: translating individual-level effects of contaminants to population viability. Ecological Applications 22(6):1791-802.
Bird studies from the South River/South Fork Shenandoah River
- Bouland, A.J., A.E. White, K.P. Lonabaugh, C.W. Varian-Ramos, and D.A. Cristol. 2012. Female-biased offspring sex ratios in birds at a mercury-contaminated river. Journal of Avian Biology 43:244-251.
- Brasso, R.L. and D.A. Cristol. 2008. Effects of mercury exposure on the reproductive success of tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor). Ecotoxicology 17(2):133-141.
- Carlson J.R., D.A. Cristol, and J.P. Swaddle. 2014. Dietary mercury exposure causes decreased escape takeoff flight performance and increased molt rate in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Ecotoxicology 23:1464–1473.
- Cristol, D.A., R.L. Brasso, A.M. Condon, R.E. Fovargue, S.L. Friedman, K.K. Hallinger, A.P. Monroe, and A.E. White. 2008. “The Movement of Aquatic Mercury through Terrestrial Food Webs.” Science 320:335.
- Hallinger, K.K. and D.A. Cristol. 2011. The role of weather in mediating the effect of mercury exposure on reproductive success in tree swallows. Ecotoxicology 20(6):1368-1377.
- Hallinger, K.K., D.J. Zabransky, K.A. Kazmer, and D.A. Cristol. 2010. Birdsong differs between mercury-polluted and reference sites. The Auk 127:156-161.
- Hallinger, K.K., K.L. Cornell, R.L. Brasso, and D.A. Cristol. 2011. Mercury exposure and survival in free-living tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor). Ecotoxicology 20(1):39-46.
- Hawley, D.M., K.K. Hallinger, and D.A. Cristol. 2009. Compromised immune competence in free-living tree swallows exposed to mercury. Ecotoxicology 18(5): 499-503.
- Henry K.A., D.A. Cristol, C.W. Varian-Ramos, and E.L. Bradley. 2015. Oxidative stress in songbirds exposed to dietary methylmercury. Ecotoxicology 24(3):520-526.
- Jackson, A.K., D.C. Evers, M.A. Etterson, A.M. Condon, S.B. Folsom, J. Detweiler, J. Schmerfeld, and D.A. Cristol. 2011a. Mercury exposure affects the reproductive success of a free-living terrestrial songbird, the Carolina wren (Thyrothorus ludovicianus). The Auk 128(4):759-769.
- Jackson, A.K., D.C. Evers, S.B. Folsom, A.M. Condon, J. Diener, L.F. Goodrick, A.J. McGann, J. Schmerfeld, and D.A. Cristol. 2011b. Mercury exposure in terrestrial birds far downstream of an historical point source. Environmental Pollution 159(12):3302–3308.
- Varian-Ramos, C.W., J.P. Swaddle, and D.A. Cristol. 2014. Mercury reduces avian reproductive success and imposes selection: an experimental study with adult- or lifetime-exposure in zebra finch. PLoS ONE 9(4):e95674.
- Wada, H., D.A. Cristol, F.M.A. McNabb, and W.A. Hopkins. 2009. Suppressed adrenocortical responses and thyroid hormone levels in birds near a mercury contaminated river. Environmental Science and Technology 43(15):6031-6038.
Other relevant links:
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