Mining Practices Threaten Wildlife in Maine

by Vins
Published: Last Updated on

A recent Dartmouth study has found that large amounts of toxic metals are seeping out of an open pit mine in Maine into the surrounding estuary. These toxic metals are affecting the fish, as well as other wildlife near the site of the mine. The contamination of the fish can in turn cause harm to the humans eating the fish.

This study is adding new evidence to show the contamination caused from mining by looking, for the first time, at the only open pit mine in an US estuary system. Researchers have found increased levels of cadmium, lead, copper, and zinc in the sediment and water, as well as the Atlantic killifish which live in the estuary. These killifish are a significant source of food for larger fish in the area and other wildlife. Many of the larger fish are eaten by humans, which puts people who are eating seafood from areas near the site at risk.


 John Cramer, “Mine metals at Maine Superfund Site Causing Widespread Contamination,”  EurekAlert, October 6, 2013,

Student Researcher: Alyson McCullough (College of Marin)

Faculty Evaluator: Susan Rahman (College of Marin)