National Park Service Arrowhead
Explore Air

Workshop report now available!

Pacific Northwest (PNW) Contaminants Workshop
November 4–5, 2010

An interagency, post-WACAP workshop on contaminants science, health, outreach, and future research needs.


Findings from the Western Airborne Contaminants Assessment Project (WACAP) indicate that atmospherically-deposited contaminants are accumulating in fish and other components (e.g., vegetation, sediment, snow) of remote national park ecosystems in the Pacific Northwest.

Mount Rainier, Olympic, and North Cascades National Parks are among the NPS units impacted. Due to the complex and critical nature of the findings, an interagency post-WACAP workshop addressed regional concerns regarding contaminant distribution and effects.

WACAP Findings: Pacific Northwest National Parks

At Mount Rainier and Olympic National Parks, high concentrations of mercury in fish exceeded fish-eating wildlife and/or human health consumption thresholds. Other contaminants including pesticides and flame retardants (i.e. PBDEs) were also elevated in the 3 Pacific Northwest National Parks sampled.

Additional WACAP Resources



Research vessel, Glacier NP
PNW Contaminants Workshop Participants

Science Presentations

WACAP investigators presented results for Mount Rainier, Olympic, and North Cascades National Parks, and agency experts presented toxics science and policy issues for the PNW region.

Major Conclusions

  1. WACAP and other EPA, USGS, USFS, FWS, ECY, and university research and monitoring projects have documented the presence and effects of contaminants to ecosystems in the PNW.

  2. Continued collaboration among federal, state, and local agencies in the PNW is needed to study and promote awareness about regional contaminants issues.

  3. To better understand source attribution, transport, and cycling in the PNW, more robust data on current-use chemicals and Hg is needed.

  4. Existing contaminants data and efforts in the PNW require evaluation to optimize current and new monitoring and research.

Next Steps:
PNW Contaminants Workgroup

Workshop participants identified the need for an interagency workgroup to continue to focus on contaminant issues in the PNW. The NPS plans to initiate the Workgroup in 2011.

Map of Public Lands and
Air Pollution Sources

updated on 02/09/2011   I   I  Email: Webmaster