American Mink (Neovison vison)
The American mink is a year-round resident of the Tittabawassee River floodplain. It is a popular furbearing species and highly sought after by area trappers. The American mink is a very skilled and versatile hunter that seeks fish and mammalian prey, such as muskrats and mice.
Our research aimed to verify that the American mink populations that reside within the Tittabawassee River floodplain did not experience adverse effects from site-specific contaminants, in particular, dioxins and furans.
Site-specific dietary exposure was assessed through the collection of forage fish and small mammals, including muskrats and mice, and subsequent contaminant concentration analysis.
Liver, muscle and fat tissues of the American mink were analyzed for contaminant concentrations to characterize exposure.
The health of the American mink population was assessed through the evaluation of productivity measurements, such as the number of kits birthed per female and abundance measurements, which were quantified through track surveys.
American mink were collected from reference areas on the Pine and Chippewa rivers and study areas downstream of Midland, Michigan, ranging to the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge.
Integrating the results from each line of evidence provided the necessary information to estimate the risk to American mink within the Tittabawassee River floodplain.