Know & Go:
What: Volunteer to post fish consumption advisories at local lakes and reservoirs
When: Saturday, July 11, 2015, 9am~5pm — Ending times will vary.
Where: Meet at Seaman’s Lodge, Pioneer Park, 423 Nimrod St., Nevada City
The South Yuba River Citizens League, in collaboration with The Sierra Fund and Wolf Creek Community Alliance, is organizing a community volunteer effort to post state-issued fish consumption advisories at local lakes and reservoirs, and we need your help! Help us post educational signage to give anglers the best information regarding healthy choices on sport fish consumption, specifically which fish caught from these water bodies are best for eating, and feeding their families. In total we are looking for forty volunteers for Saturday, July 11.
Why are fish consumption advisories necessary?
The information contained in the fish consumption advisory, issued by California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), is important to anglers in the Sierra Nevada region because of historic mining activity which has led to elevated levels of mercury in fish. Of the more than 26 million pounds of mercury that was brought to this region for use in processing gold during California’s Gold Rush, approximately 10-30% was lost to the environment and remains in our watersheds and ecosystems.
Sport fish consumption is likely the single most significant route by which people are exposed to mercury that remains in the Sierra Nevada foothills from legacy mining activity. Furthermore, some popular sport fish such as bass and brown trout can contain the highest levels of mercury, due to the way mercury enters and accumulates in the longer lived and predatory fish. OEHHA recommends limited or no consumption of these fish.
On the other hand, rainbow trout, another popular sport fish, is generally one of the healthiest options for eating locally caught fish. To read more about the health effects of mercury, please visit this link to The Sierra Fund’s Mercury in the Sierra.
This information about safely consuming fish from California lakes and reservoirs is not effectively reaching its target audience. The Sierra Fund’s Gold Country Angler Survey, published in 2011, found that no warning signs about mercury in fish were posted at most of the fishing locations in the Deer Creek, Yuba, Bear and American watershed survey regions. It is essential for anglers to have this information, as 90% of anglers in this survey reported eating fish that they or someone they knew caught. Many reported feeding the fish they catch to children and women of childbearing age.
The Sierra Fund and partners have stepped in to fill the critical communication gap, and we are inviting the community to lend a hand, too, by posting fish consumption advisories at popular fishing locations. Fish consumption advisory signs will educate anglers on potential hazards and offer information they need to make the best choices concerning their health and the health of their families. The Sierra Fund CEO Elizabeth Martin is pleased that the posting effort will deliver this precautionary information to the public. “We have been working for years to bring good information to families in the Sierra who want to eat local fish, but not endanger the health of their kids. These safe eating guidelines make our job so much easier. We now have clear, specific guidelines for every lake or reservoir in the Sierra.”
Register to volunteer
Help us reach as many anglers as possible by posting the fish consumption advisory at popular local fishing locations. Volunteer Saturday, July 11 for a fun field trip to a lake or reservoir in the Bear or Yuba watershed. Perks include a free lunch and ice cream social upon your return from the field. Volunteers will meet at Seaman’s Lodge in Pioneer Park, Nevada City at 9am for a briefing session, and send-off by local leadership. Volunteers will be assigned to teams, each team with the mission to post signs at pre-determined locations. When the posting day concludes, a volunteer appreciation party will be held at the lodge. We will serve sweet treats as a way to say ‘thank you’ for your hard work and dedication to this important issue.
To volunteer, fill out this online registration form or contact Jenn Tamo of SYRCL, Jenn@syrcl.org or 265-5961 ext. 201. Please register at your earliest convenience. Everyone is welcome to volunteer for this event. Volunteer with your club, family, friends, or as an individual. We are looking for about ten Team Leaders, who are willing to drive and take responsibility to coordinate with SYRCL staff, and about 30 Team Members to post signs.
The fish advisory posting effort is made possible by funding from The California Wellness Foundation, the California EPA Environmental Justice Small Grants program, the Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation, and the awesome volunteer power provided by our community.