Surveillance and evaluation of avian influenza virus in National Park waterbodies

Primary Investigators

USGS Investigators: Laura Hubbard

NPS Investigators: Lisa Shender

Project Details

Start Year: 2024

Category: Intensive

2024 2025 2026
$100,000 $100,000 $100,000

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) continues to circulate internationally, causing record numbers of deaths in both wild birds and domestic poultry. The cause of recent California condor deaths due to HPAI in Grand Canyon National Park (GRCA) and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (GLCA) are unknown. However, HPAI virus contaminated water by fecal material of infected birds is one possible source of transmission.

The extent of this threat or other water quality variables such as cyanotoxins and microbial indicators that may affect persistence of HPAI in National Parks is currently unknown. It is important to assess what role contaminated water plays in the presence and transmission of HPAI virus in our National Park conservation areas. This project will provide monitoring across spatially distributed conservation areas that are important areas for avian species (e.g., migration, breeding, vulnerable/endangered) and human sustenance and recreation (e.g., drinking water, hiking, boating, birding, tourism).

This study will:

  • Identify the presence and transmission potential of avian influenza virus (AIV) in relation to other water quality variables in surface water at selected park units
  • Identify parks units or park unit waterbodies that have greater presence of AIV and co-occurrence of AIV with cyanotoxins and fecal indicator bacteria (FIB)
  • Examine which environmental factors influence co-occurrence of AIV, cyanotoxins, and FIB