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British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

The application of small-mammal analyses in terrestrial ecological risk assessment, former Yankee Girl Mine, Ymir, B.C. Sevigny, J.; Dulisse, J.; Tinholt, M.; Stewart, Gregg G. (Gregg Gordon), 1961-; Sinnett, G.


A small mammal study was undertaken at the former Yankee Girl Mine, Ymir, B.C. (the “Site”) to determine if metals contaminated tailings and surface soil have resulted in adverse health effects to the terrestrial ecosystem and would require remediation to protect the environment. A screening level Tier I ecological risk assessment conducted by a previous consultant yielded hazard quotients above the regulatory limit for the most sensitive terrestrial receptor at the Site (i.e., field mouse), suggesting the potential for adverse, population-level health effects. The screening level model was calibrated here using new data collected as part of a Site-specific small mammal study (e.g., surface soil and deer mice tissue concentrations). Despite orders of magnitude variations in soil concentrations, deer mice tissue concentrations were similar at all locations (1 control; 3 contaminated), and soil to deer mouse bioaccumulation factors were inversely correlated to soil concentration. The calibrated model yielded hazard quotients well below the regulatory limit, suggesting that deer mice have not been adversely affected. The significance of these findings with respect to remedial and/or management decisions at the Site will be discussed.

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