Got Mercury? - This online tool takes the mystery out of which seafood is safe to eat with regard to the presence of mercury in certain species of
seafood and allows consumers to make informed choices about eating seafood. Gauge your mercury exposure from eating seafood with this
Mercury Mine (NIMM) - The mine is located in the New Idria Mining District, which includes over a dozen smaller mercury mines.
The NIMM operated from 1854 to the early 1970s, was the second most productive mercury mine in North America, and produced over 38
million pounds of mercury.The abandoned town of Idria was comprised of dozens of dilapidated buildings until a fire in July 2010 destroyed
nearly half of the historic structures in the northern portion of the town. Although regulated by the Regional Water Quality Control Board
(RWQCB) starting in the late 1960s, surface water discharges of AMD from the mine remain uncontrolled after the mine shut
down in the early 1970s. The EPA, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), RWQCB, and academic institutions have conducted
investigations at the NIMM site and surrounding area to assess mercury contamination in sources at the Site and in creeks
downstream of the mine. Surface water from the Site drains to San Carlos Creek, which flows northward to Silver Creek and continues north
to Panoche Creek. Panoche Creek flows to the Mendota Pool and San Joaquin River during periods of heavy precipitation and flood events. The
Mendota Pool and San Joaquin River are recreational fisheries and are located approximately 45 river miles downstream from the Site. The
San Joaquin River flows to the San Francisco Bay which is a commercial fishery. Also see:
Mercury Concentrations in the Blood of Breeding Waterbirds (10/2007) -
From Tideline. Mercury concentrations in the blood of breeding waterbirds approached and surpassed
toxic threshold levels in the South San Francisco Bay, especially for fish-eating terns. Bird samples were analyzed for mercury at the USGS Davis Field Station Mercury Lab.
Mercury Toxicity Categories (10/2007) - A USGS and USFWS graphic from Tideline, the
percentage of the breeding populations of several waterbird species that are at risk of reduced reproductive success and declining
populations due to mercury contamination in the South San Francisco Bay.
San Francisco Bay Toxics Project -
San Francisco Bay receives a broad range of organic and inorganic contaminants that vary widely in their sources, seasonality, toxicity,
and environmental behavior. Despite an increasing awareness of potential problems, the effects of organic contaminants in the estuarine
environment are not well understood. Since 1991, the USGS has been studying the fate and effects of these contaminants in San
Francisco Bay as part of the Toxic Substances Hydrology Program.
This study is referenced as the San Francisco Bay Toxics Project.
San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI): Fish Mercury Project - California Bay-Delta Authority
(CBDA) approved a $4.5 million proposal to examine mercury and other chemicals in fish in the Bay-Delta watershed, to increase public
awareness of fish contamination issues and to monitor potential changes in mercury concentrations from marsh restoration projects in the
Delta. Partners in this project include the San Francisco Estuary
Institute, UC Davis, California Department of Fish and Game, Moss Landing Marine Lab, California Department of Health Services, and the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. This web site will be a
working resource for funders, stakeholders, principal investigators, Steering Committee members, Science Review Panel members and
others to follow the progress of this project.
Suisun Bay Reserve (Mothball) Fleet - Photo essay by Amy Heiden.
"Approximately 1,000 ships have called Suisun Bay home since 1946 and in 1956, the Benecia fleet reached its maximum, 324 vessels.
Throughout the years, these ships shed 20 tons of toxic paint into the bay, causing a stir with environmentalists. Samples of the water
surrounding the fleet were taken and toxic levels of lead, cadmium and zinc were discovered in the species and water surrounding the fleet.
Though these levels weren't significantly higher, they were significant enough that in 2007, the National Resource Defense Council sued the
government regarding the issue and in 2010, they won."
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