US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Environmental Pollution 205 (2015) 278-290


U.S. Government Work


The last large-scale ecotoxicological study of ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) in Chesapeake Bay was conducted in 2000-2001 and focused on U.S. EPA-designated Regions of Concern (ROCs; Baltimore Harbor/ Patapsco, Anacostia/middle Potomac, and Elizabeth Rivers). In 2011-2012, ROCs were re-evaluated to determine spatial and temporal trends in productivity and contaminants. Concentrations of p,p'-DDE were low in eggs and below the threshold associated with eggshell thinning. Eggs from the Anacostia/ middle Potomac Rivers had lower total PCB concentrations in 2011 than in 2000; however, concentrations remained unchanged in Baltimore Harbor. Polybrominated diphenyl ether flame retardants declined by 40%, and five alternative brominated flame retardants were detected at low levels. Osprey productivity was adequate to sustain local populations, and there was no relation between productivity and halogenated contaminants. Our findings document continued recovery of the osprey population, declining levels of many persistent halogenated compounds, and modest evidence of genetic damage in nestlings from industrialized regions.