Eagle Lake First Nation aquatic environmental contaminants monitoring program

Fiscal Year



Eagle Lake First Nation, Ontario

Principal Investigator

Mark Hanson, Ph.D., University of Manitoba

Community Project Lead

Jordan Gardner

Project Members

Vince Palace, Ph.D., Kaylin Reid, Michelle Shephard and Kit Young-Hoon



Project Summary

Members of Eagle Lake First Nation rely on their traditional land and water for sustenance. They expressed concerns about potential negative impacts on their health from industrial sources of mercury. Some of the significant industrial developments in the area include mining, logging, pulp and paper mill operations, agriculture, tourist operations, and the development of highways and smaller access roads.

This research study was participatory in approach and involved many community members. Data collection consisted of sampling fish, such as walleye and crayfish, as well as sediments to measure  mercury concentrations. A food consumption survey was conducted to collect data on fish consumption patterns. Mercury exposure from fish was estimated for each survey respondent based on reported fish consumption patterns and the laboratory results, and compared to the Health Canada provisional tolerable daily intake (TDI) for methylmercury exposure. This allowed to examine potential health risks associated with exposure to mercury from fish consumption.

The results of this research showed that, overall, the concentrations of mercury in walleye and crayfish samples were low. Only one sample out of the total of 41 samples of walleye exceeded the Health Canada guideline of 0.5 ppm. The exposure assessment indicated that none of the survey respondents exceeded the TDI for methylmercury. The study concluded that walleye was safe to eat in quantities reported by the members of the Eagle Lake First Nation.