Sediment ingestion has recently been identified as an important exposure route for toxicants in waterfowl. The effects of lead-contaminated sediment from the Coeur d'Alene River Basin (CDARB) in Idaho on posthatching development of Canada geese (Branta canadensis) were examined for 6 wk. Day-old goslings received either untreated control diet, clean sediment (48%) supplemented control diet, or CDARB sediment (3449 mug/g lead) supplemented diets at 12%, 24%, or 48%. The 12% CDARB diet resulted in a geometric mean blood lead concentration of 0.68 ppm (ww), with over 90% depression of red blood cell ALAD activity and over fourfold elevation of free erythrocyte protoporphyrin concentration. The 24% CDARB diet resulted in blood lead of 1.61 ppm with decreased hematocrit, hemoglobin, and plasma protein in addition to the effects just described. The 48% CDARB diet resulted in blood lead of 2.52 ppm with 22% mortality, decreased growth, and elevated plasma lactate dehydrogenase-L (LDH-L) activity. In this group the liver lead concentration was 6.57 ppm (ww), with twofold increases in hepatic lipid peroxidation (thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances, TBARS) and in reduced glutathione concentration; associated effects included elevated glutathione reductase activity but lower protein-bound thiols concentration and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G-6-PDH) activity. The kidney lead concentration in this group was 14.93 ppm with subacute renal tubular nephrosis in one of the surviving goslings. Three other geese in this treatment group exhibited calcified areas of marrow, and one of these displayed severe chronic fibrosing pancreatitis. Lead from CDARB sediment accumulated less readily in gosling blood and tissues than reported in ducklings but at given concentrations was generally more toxic to goslings. Many of these effects were similar to those reported in wild geese and mallards within the Coeur d'Alene River Basin.