SREL Reprint #2260

 

 

 

RADIOCESIUM IN MOURNING DOVES: EFFECTS OF A CONTAMINATED RESERVOIR DRAWDOWN AND RISK TO HUMAN CONSUMERS

ROBERT A. KENNAMER, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, P.O. Drawer E, Aiken, SC 29802, USA

I. LEHR BRISBIN, JR., Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, P.O. Drawer E, Aiken, SC 29802, USA

CLARK D. McCREEDY,2 Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA

JOANNA BURGER, Nelson Biological Laboratories and Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute (EOHSI), Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ 08855, USA

Abstract: From September 1991 through January 1995, partial drawdown of a 1,130-ha U.S. Department of Energy reactor cooling reservoir (Par Pond) in South Carolina exposed sediments contaminated by low-level radiocesium (137 C's). These exposed sediments were designated as a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) superfund site. Whole-body and muscle concentrations of 137 C's in mourning doves (Zenaida aacroura) collected from Par Pond in 1992 and 1993 were 2-3 orders of magnitude higher than in doves from nearby public dove-hunting fields located 12 and 32 km away. Only 1 of 102 Par Pond doves exceeded the European Economic community limit of 0.60 Becquerels (Bq) 137 C's/g for fresh meat. A human risk analysis based on consumption of doves at the observed maxiumum of muscle 137 C's concentration (0.82 Bq/g wet mass) indicated no more than 41 doves could be consumed by an individual per year at that level before the EPA threshold for action on a superfund site would be exceeded (i.e., further site characterization, possible remedial action).  Levels of whole-body 137 C's in doves from Par Pond declined by >75% from 1992 through 1994. Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) seeds, the dominant food of doves foraging on the exposed lake bed, likewise declined (>90%) in 137 C'sS content over the period. We noted subtle annual changes in the diets of doves that likely contributed to reduced rates of 137 C's ingestion as the drawdown progressed. Doves differed by age class in their food intake and selection, and immature doves showed higher levels of ingesta 137 C's. However, age classes did not differ in whole-body 137 C's (P = 0.156) or muscle 137 C's (P = 0.181). Dove whole-body 137 C's was a good predictor (r2 = 0.94) of muscle 137CS, and thus provides the opportunity to estimate levels of 137C's in edible muscle without destructive sampling by simply subjecting live-captured birds to whole-body determination of' 137C'scontent. The radiological consequences of a long-term drawdown or complete draining of such a reservoir are not clear.

Key words: contaminant, 137C's , drawdown, human risk, mourning dove, radiocesium, reservoir, South Carolina, Zenaida macroura. contaminant, 137C's , drawdown, human risk, mourning dove, radiocesium, reservoir, South Carolina, Zenaida macroura.

SREL Reprint #2260

Kennamer, R.A., I.L. Brisbin, C.D. McCreedy, and J. Burger. 1998. Radiocesium in mourning doves: effects of a contaminated reservoir drawdown and risk to human consumers. Journal of Wildlife Management 62:497-508.

To request a reprint

 

 
http://srel.uga.edu www.uga.edu