Hold the Date! Saturday, May 21 at Pioneer Park
Family fishing season is almost here! Bring the whole family to Pioneer Park, Saturday, May 21 for the first ever Fishing for Fun, A Family Affair, offering games, activities, an ice cream social, and information families should be aware of.
SYRCL, in partnership with The Sierra Fund and Wolf Creek Community Alliance, is hosting this fun and educational event to celebrate our watersheds and the fun of fishing with kids of all ages, while raising awareness around which fish are safe to eat and which should be “catch and release.” This event will be held in conjunction with the second annual Post-It Day volunteer effort to post fish consumption advisories at regional lakes and reservoirs.
Kids can join in on several age-appropriate activities and games, while teens and parents have an opportunity to talk with experts about fishing locations, the history of mercury in our area, efforts underway to clean it up, and how to protect their family by choosing which fish to eat. Free ice cream will be provided from 2-3:30pm (while supplies last), and prizes will be awarded at 3pm.
Mercury and Fish
Mercury was first introduced for use in gold processing during the Gold Rush era. Of the 26 million pounds of mercury brought to this region for mining activities, between 10-30% was lost to the environment, where it still remains, affecting our ecosystems and getting into our fish.
Eating mercury-contaminated fish is the primary human exposure pathway to mercury. This is particularly relevant in the Sierra, where elevated levels of mercury have been found in mining impacted waterways, like the Bear and Yuba watersheds.
An Annual Post-It Day
In order to protect anglers from eating mercury-contaminated fish from our local water bodies, SYRCL and partners organized a community volunteer event last July to post state-issued fish consumption advisories in the Bear and Yuba watersheds.
The advisories, issued by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, cover mercury in fish and offer “safe eating guidelines” for consuming fish from California’s lakes and reservoirs. On July 11, 2015 volunteers posted nearly 100 advisories at 28 water bodies and recreational facilities from the Gold Lakes Basin to Camp Far West. The event was a huge success, and we’re excited to be continuing and expanding the effort this year.
The expansion of the project would not be possible without the support of the Nevada Irrigation District and the Yuba River Ranger District of the Tahoe National Forest. Seventy percent of the locations where volunteers posted advisories in 2015 are managed by these two agencies. This year, and into the future, NID and the Yuba River Ranger District have agreed to keep advisories posted at the lakes and reservoirs they manage. Project partners commend them for taking the charge to locally protect public health.
This year, the project will include posting fish consumption advisory signs at Donner Lake and other water bodies in the Feather River watershed for the first time.
On Saturday, May 21, 2016, while dedicated volunteers are checking up on fish consumption advisories posted last year, and posting for the first time at locations new to the project this year, we invite the public of all ages to join us at Seaman’s Lodge in Pioneer Park to learn about eating fish safely. There will be games, snacks, and a great breadth of information exchange about mercury in fish and the best choices for eating locally caught fish. We look forward to seeing you there!
This project is funded by The Sierra Fund.