Identifying and characterizing tire-related chemical (6PPD-quinone) toxic hotspots in salmon habitat in British Columbia, Canada
Salmon abundance on Canada’s west coast have declined precipitously in the last two decades as human impacts to abundance and diversity permeate across species and regions in BC. These declines are occurring despite millions of dollars invested annually in hatcheries and wild salmon recovery programs intended to sustain fisheries and rebuild wild salmon abundance. These declines are due to a number of human caused stressors, including contaminants, habitat loss in watersheds and climate change impacts.
N-(1,3-Dimethylbutyl)-N'-phenyl-p-phenylenediamine-quinone (6PPD-quinone), a highly toxic breakdown product from vehicular tires, has been found to be an important cause of toxic injury and death (40-90%) of adult coho salmon returning to urban and semi-urban waterways in Puget Sound, Washington, USA. The objective of this study is to characterize the presence and the associated risks of 6PPD-quinone and other road runoff related contaminants in salmon-bearing creeks close to semi-urban and urban areas to assess the impacts of these contaminants on salmon. Over the past 2-years we have been characterizing levels and trends of 6PPD-quinone and other road runoff related contaminants at over 40 sites in salmon-bearing creeks in the greater Vancouver area, Squamish and Vancouver Island before, during, and after rain events across four seasons.
The sample collection has been carried out with help from World Fisheries Trust, Peninsula Streams Society, Pacific Streamkeepers, Tsolum River Restoration Society, Redd Fish, BC Conservation Foundation, Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society, Tynehead Hatchery, and the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh, Tsawwassen, and Cowichan First Nations. This project is delivering new data on 6PPD-quinone levels in fish habitat in coastal British Columbia, and is informing the protection and recovery of Pacific salmon populations. We continue to expand our monitoring to new sites across coastal British Columbia.