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Effects of Industrial Contamination on Wildlife

Study Area: North Platte River, Casper, WyomingThe effects of industrial contamination on wildlife are a continuing concern of local, state, and federal agencies throughout the United States. Industrial problems are diverse and include organochlorine contamination, such as polychlorinated biphenyls, trace metals including acid rain and mercury, and petrochemicals.

Photo caption: Tree swallow box in the foreground of the North Platte River, Casper,Wyoming. Note the oil tanks in the background. Some of these chemicals are of special concern because they readily accumulate in organisms and can biomagnify to high concentrations within food webs supporting wildlife.

In this study, we will determine whether contamination from oil seeping into the North Platte River adjacent to the Texaco and LARCO refineries in Casper, Wyoming, is adversely affecting wildlife.

In 1998, we collected tree swallow eggs and chicks on the North Platte River near and above the refineries. These samples were analyzed for petroleum products and heavy metals.

These results will assist the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in determining whether action needs to be taken to protect wildlife resources at these sites, such as further cleanup.

The project was completed in January 2002.

Principal Investigator: Tom Custer

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Page Last Modified: October 2, 2007