Reclaiming the Sierra

2020 Program

Reclaiming the Sierra


Headwater Mercury Source Reduction Implementation Workshops

Spring and Fall events focused on our regional Headwater Mercury Source Reduction (HMSR) Strategy to abate the impacts of mercury- from the Sierra to the sea.

Headwater Mercury Source Reduction Implementation Workshop, Spring 2020

May 14, 2020, Held Virtually via Zoom

The HMSR, Spring 2020 Implementation Workshop will include a day of technical presentations. Two of TSF’s four strategic targets for addressing headwater sources of mercury will be explored at the Workshop:

  1. Hydraulic Mines and Mine Features: Hydraulic mines and mine features include denuded landscapes prone to erosion and tunnels once used as sluices. These features continue to be sources of mercury-contaminated sediment to streams and rivers. Experts will discuss methods to inventory, rank and prioritize, and remediate mercury sources in the headwaters.
  2. Mercury in Forest and Land Management: Multi-benefit forest health projects include hydraulic mine remediation to reduce erosion of sediment and mercury from mine-scarred lands. The chemical and physical hazards associated with legacy hydraulic mines add a new dimension to traditional forest management practices. Experts will discuss federal land management objectives and how they interface with mercury fate and transport, forest health, and fuels reduction.

Headwater Mercury Source Reduction Implementation Workshop, Fall 2020

November 12, 2020, Held Virtually via Zoom

The HMSR, Fall 2020 Implementation Workshop will include a day of technical presentations and a virtual on-the-ground tour visiting projects to address the issue of mercury contamination in Sierra waterbodies and the associated issue of mercury in locally caught fish. Two of TSF’s four strategic targets for addressing headwater sources of mercury will be explored at the Workshop:

3. Mercury-Contaminated Sediment in Reservoirs: Sediment transported off of hydraulic mines is captured behind reservoirs, necessitating ongoing maintenance. Sediment can take up valuable water storage space in reservoirs and cause water quality impacts. Best available technologies to address reservoir sedimentation and remove mercury-contaminated sediment from reservoirs will be discussed and statewide applicability of approaches debated.

4. Mercury Exposure via Fish Consumption: Consumption of contaminated fish is the primary pathway of human exposure to the neurotoxin methylmercury. In 2020 AB 762 was signed into law, representing the most significant step toward protecting public health from contaminated fish to date. AB 762 requires the posting of state-issued site-specific fish consumption advisories at water bodies where they apply. The opportunities and challenges of this new law will be debated by state public health experts and county-level staff charged with implementation.