Contaminant deposition in NW National Parks

Dixon Landers

2002-2008 WACAP study ocused on high-elevation and remote systems with lakes as precipitation collectors.  We weren’t supposed to inform fluxes to Puget Sound, but we may have discovered that the snow that melts into our inland sea starts out contaminated!  Data sources are snow samples, sediment cores, fish samples, lichen, and water.  We looked at broad suite of volatile organic compounds, metals, and nitrogen from the Arctic to Texas.  In WA we sampled Olympic, Rainier, and N Cascades Parks (vegetation and snow only).


  • Mean whole body fish [DDT]sum = 1-4ng/g, pretty uniform across PS parks (implying global, not local sources), but well below toxicity thresholds.  [Hg] are among highest of all Western Parks; sediment cores show increase in Hg in recent years, probably due to global sources.

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