US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



In: Re-thinking Protected Areas in a Changing World.: Proceedings of the 2007: Biennial George Wright Society Conference. S. Weber and D. Harmon, eds. The George Wright Society, Hancock, Michigan. pp. 307-311.


US government work.


Part of the mission of the National Park Service (NPS) entails preservation of natural resources, processes, systems, and associated values of its units in an unimpaired condition. Environmental contamination and pollution processes are well recognized stressors that can adversely affect park units and are addressed by NPS management policies and plans. Nonetheless, biota remain at risk to contaminants at many NPS units. One U.S. Department of the Interior activity that addresses pollution hazards is the Biomonitoring of Environmental Status and Trends project (Zylstra 1994). Its does so through active field monitoring and by use of decision support tools, including the Contaminant Assessment Process (Coyle et al. 1999) and the Contaminant Exposure and Effects-Terrestrial Vertebrates (CEE-TV) database (Rattner et al. 2005). A recent study using the CEE-TV database found that contemporary terrestrial vertebrate ecotoxicological data are lacking at 59 of 126 Park Service units located in coastal watersheds exhibiting serious water quality problems or high vulnerability to pollution. Based upon this finding, a study was undertaken at 23 Inventory and Monitoring (I&M) Program units in the National Capital Region and Mid-Atlantic networks to evaluate contaminant threats to terrestrial vertebrates. The specific objectives included compiling ecotoxicological data for terrestrial vertebrates (viz., amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals) residing at these I&M units, using additional pollution data from various federal and state agencies to assess potential hazards at these sites, recommending management activities to mitigate risk, and prioritizing sites for potential contaminant biomonitoring activities.