Integrated assessment of contaminated sediments in the lower Fox River and Green Bay, Wisconsin

Gerald T. Ankley, Keith Lodge, Daniel J. Call, Mary D. Balcer, Larry T. Brooke, Philip M. Cook, Russell G. Kreis, Anthony R. Carlson, Rodney D. Johnson, Gerald J. Niemi, Robert A. Hoke, Corlis W. West, John P. Giesy, Paul D. Jones, Zhang C. Fuying

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Samples of sediment and biota were collected from sites in the lower Fox River and southern Green Bay to determine existing or potential impacts of sediment-associated contaminants on different ecosystem components of this Great Lakes area of concern. Evaluation of benthos revealed a relatively depauperate community, particularly at the lower Fox River sites. Sediment pore water and bulk sediments from several lower Fox River sites were toxic to a number of test species including Pimephales promelas, Ceriodaphnia dubia, Hexagenia limbata, Selenastrum capricornutum, and Photobacterium phosphorum. An important component of the observed toxicity appeared to be due to ammonia. Evaluation of three bullhead (Ictalurus) species from the lower Fox River revealed an absence of preneoplastic or neoplastic liver lesions, and the Salmonella typhimurium bioassay indicated relatively little mutagenicity in sediment extracts. Apparent adverse reproductive effects were noted in two species of birds nesting along the lower Fox River and on a confined disposal facility for sediments near the mouth of the river, and there were measurable concentrations of potentially toxic 2,3,7,8-substituted polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) and dibenzofurans (PCDFs), and planar polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) both in the birds and in sediments from several of the study sites. Based on toxic equivalency factors and the results of an in vitro bioassay with H4IIE rat hepatoma cells, it appeared that the majority of potential toxicity of the PCB/PCDF/PCDD mixture in biota from the lower Fox River/Green Bay system was due to the planar PCBs. The results of these studies are discussed in terms of an integrated assessment focused on providing data for remedial action planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-63
Number of pages18
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1992

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Many people contributed to various aspects of the overall study. It is impossible to identify everyone; however, some who have made particularly sign&cant contributions include J. Arthur, D. &aver, F. Roettcher, H. Corcoran, J. Denny, T. Erdman, J. Filkins, J. Gordon, C. Hagley, C. Harper, H. Harris, K. Johnson, A. Katko, D. Kuehl, S. Kohlbry, J. Libal, M. Mac, D. Marklund, S. Poirier, A. Rothstein, N. Stokes, J. Tietge, D. Till&, and C. Walbridge. D. Wiims, N. Jordan, and R. LePage assisted in preparation of the manuscript. Support for this work was furnished in part by the U.S. EPA Great Lakes National Program Office and the Office of Water (Criteria and Standards Division, Permits Division).


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