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Volume 26
Number 1
Spring 2009
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Locator map of contaminant sampling sites in Mount Revelstoke National Park, Yoho National Park, and Observation Peak in Banff National Park (British Columbia and Alberta, Canada). (Cartography by John N. Westgate) Physical Sciences
Organic pollutant distribution in Canadian mountain parks

By Gillian Daly and Frank Wania
Published: 14 Nov 2014 (online)  •  25 Nov 2014 (in print)
Pages
 
Abstract
  Introduction
Contaminant hot spots
Management implications and research opportunities
Acknowledgments
References
About the authors
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Introduction
Photo of mountains and pond in western Canada.

Courtesy of Hang Xiao

Figure 1. The mountains of western Canada provide valuable freshwater and forest resources as well as cherished recreational opportunities.

MOUNTAIN ENVIRONMENTS ARE IMPORTANT sources of freshwater and forest resources, contain areas of high biodiversity, and provide cherished recreational opportunities (fig. 1, above). Conservation of these resources and functions is the central objective of national parks in mountain regions. While some threats facing mountain environments, such as unsustainable use of natural resources and deforestation, can be avoided in national parks, other threats, such as climate change and chemical contamination, are more difficult to counter. Because of the large variability of environmental conditions in high-relief environments—caused by varying elevation and exposure—contaminant distribution within mountain regions is expected to be highly variable. Recent research in western Canadian mountain parks has provided new insight into the location of organic contaminant concentrations, and thus where exposure of organisms to those contaminants may be greatest. This insight can help park managers identify key hot spots—areas of elevated contaminant exposure—and communicate risks to the public (e.g., fish advisories). Identification of likely hot spots can also aid in the design of future research programs aimed at evaluating the ecotoxicological impact of elevated contaminant concentrations.

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This page updated:  9 July 2009
URL: http://www.nature.nps.gov/ParkScience/index.cfm?ArticleID=287&Page=1



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