Reclaiming the Sierra

Community Workshops

Sponsored by:  Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment

Reclaiming the Sierra 2012 featured an all day workshop track on Saturday, May 5 to bring practical information to community members about how they can protect themselves and their families from exposure to toxins associated with historic mining activities.  These workshops were held at the Miners Foundry Cultural Center in Nevada City, CA.

Costs are $20, which covered all three workshops, lunch, and a souvenir “Tiffin” lunchbox.  

The community workshops were conducted by local experts and small business owners, and covered the broad range of ways abandoned mines impact people who live in the Sierra Nevada.

Schedule and speakers:

Community Workshop Series:  Mercury and Fish (10:00 am – 11:15 am)

Fraser Shilling, Ph.D., University of California, Davis will lead this workshop.  He will answer:

  • How did mercury get into the fish here?
  • Is it safe for me to eat the fish I catch?
  • Is it safe for my kids to eat the fish we catch? 
  • Where can I get information about which kinds of locally caught fish are safe to eat?

Gregory Weisswasser, N.D., Whitewater Naturopathic Medicine will answer:

  • How can I test my body for the presence of heavy metals?  
  • Who should get tested and who should seek treatment for heavy metal toxicity?

David McGuire, M.P.H., Got Mercury Program will answer:

  • Is it safe to eat fish I buy from the store?
  • Where can I get information about what kinds of fish that I buy are safe to eat?
  • How can I get involved in the movement to address mercury in fish?

Community Workshop Series:  Mine-Related Property Concerns (11:30 am – 12:45 pm)

Jason Muir, Holdrege & Kull will lead this workshop.  Some of the questions he will answer include:

  • What kinds of problems do abandoned mines cause for private property owners?
  • How do I know if there was an abandoned mine on or near my property? 
  • Is it better to not know if there was a mine on my property?   
  • How can I get my soil tested to learn whether there are heavy metals?

Chauncey Poston, Nevada County Real Estate will answer questions associated with purchasing property:

  • What are the responsibilities of agents and property owners to pass on information to prospective buyers?

Jason Fouyer, Cranmer Engineering, Inc. will answer questions including:

  • How do abandoned mines affect groundwater?
  • How can I get my well tested and what should I test for?
  • What can I do if I learn there are heavy metals in my well water? 

Community Workshop Series:  What to Do if a Mine is Proposed (2:00 pm – 3:30 pm)

James Pompy, CA Dept. of Conservation, Office of Mine Reclamation will answer questions including:

  • What are the rules for siting a mine?
  • What mitigation measures or financial assurances does a mine have to put up before it opens?

Tom Grundy, CLAIM-GV

  • What are CLAIM’s concerns about the proposed Idaho-Maryland Mine (Grass Valley) & how were they voiced?
  • What is the current status of the Idaho-Maryland Mine proposal? 

Elyssa Rosen, Pew Charitable Trusts, Campaign for Responsible Mining

  • What are some examples of new or reopened mines?
  • What have people in those communities done to hold them accountable? 
  • How can I get involved in mining law reform?