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Michigan State UniversityWildlife Toxicology Laboratory

Tittabawasse River Wildlife Banner Photo


The Michigan State University - Wildlife Toxicology Laboratory (MSU-WTL) began a five-year wildlife study throughout the Tittabawassee River floodplain in the fall of 2003 to assess the possible effects of dioxin and furan exposure from the environment.

Our team spent countless hours in the field working with such wildlife species as American mink, great horned owls, belted kingfishers, great blue herons, American robins, eastern bluebirds, house wrens, tree swallows, hooded mergansers and wood ducks.

We utilized multiple lines of evidence to assess the potential effects of dioxin and furan exposure. Dietary item samples of each species were collected to assess potential exposure from the food web. Tissue sampling, including eggs and plasma, was used to assess the actual concentrations in the study species. Finally, productivity measurements, including hatch success and abundance, reflect the population health of the study species.

Dietary items, tissue samples and productivity measurements were collected from the Tittabawassee River floodplain. This included reference areas upstream of Midland, Michigan, in Sanford, Michigan and from the Pine and Chippewa rivers from the Chippewa Nature Center. Study areas downstream of Midland, Michigan, included Freeland Festival Park, Imerman Park and the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge.

This site was designed to provide residents, landowners, and stakeholders with information regarding our research, which was made possible by the cooperation of numerous landowners throughout the floodplain, to whom we are extremely grateful.