National Park Service Arrowhead
Explore Air

Workshop report available!
Follow up SNSC contaminants coordination group now forming.

Sierra Nevada Southern Cascades Contaminants (SNSCC) Workshop

April 8-9, 2009: Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, Three Rivers, CA


Findings from the Western Airborne Contaminants Assessment Project (WACAP) released in spring 2008 indicate that atmospherically-deposited contaminants are accumulating in fish and other components (e.g., snow, vegetation) of remote national park ecosystems in the Sierra Nevada and Southern Cascade Mountains, namely Sequoia, Yosemite, and Lassen Volcanic National Parks. Due to the complex and critical nature of the findings, an interagency post-WACAP workshop was held April 8-9, 2009 to address regional concerns regarding contaminant distribution and effects.

Lake at Sequoia NP
Lake at Sequoia NP

WACAP Findings: California National Parks

At Sequoia NP, high concentrations of mercury and the pesticides DDT and dieldrin in fish exceeded fish-eating wildlife and/or human health consumption thresholds. Vegetation samples at the 3 California NPs sampled exhibited elevated concentrations of many historic- and current-use pesticides.

Graphical WACAP Summaries

Communication of WACAP Results for California

  1. Sequoia National Park - WACAP Announcement, February 2008
    (pdf, 37kb)
  2. Yosemite National Park - 1-pg Summary, February 2008 (pdf, 37kb)
  3. Sequoia Contaminants Overview (pdf, 60kb)

Major Conclusions

  1. WACAP and other EPA, USGS, and State of California air contaminants research and monitoring projects have documented the presence and impact of airborne contaminants to ecosystems in the Sierra Nevada – Southern Cascades (SNSC) region.
  2. Collaboration and partnership on contaminants issues between representatives from federal, state and local agencies and Tribes in the SNSC must continue.
  3. More research and monitoring efforts are needed to determine which contaminants in which areas pose the greatest risk to SNSC ecosystems.
  4. We need a public outreach and education plan for the state of the science of contaminant exposure and effects to wildlife, human health and ecosystem processes in SNSC protected areas.
    Click here for more detailed conclusions and a review of action items
    (pdf, 25kb).

Additional WACAP Resources

Human Health Perspective

A fish consumption guidance brochure (pdf, 300kb) developed between Glacier NP and the State of MT exemplifies a model action item product. A briefing (pdf, 61kb) provided by the NPS Office of Public Health offers perspective on how to interpret WACAP results in the context of human health.


Workshop Report

The SNSCC Workshop Report
(pdf, 530kb) includes a summary of meeting proceedings and identified action items, along with results of science and policy breakout sessions.

Meeting Logistics

Snow covered mountain at Sequoia
Snow covered mountain at Sequoia NP

Science Presentations

Investigators presented an overview of WACAP results for the SNSC region. Agency experts presented issues including regional contaminant distribution and effects, contaminants in fish, human health risks in CA, and policy options.

updated on 05/24/2009   I   I  Email: Webmaster