The Sierra Fund staff has been busy this holiday season attending and preparing for multiple conferences. On November 15 – 17, TSF and partners presented a cluster of five scientific posters at the 9th Biennial Bay-Delta Science Conference in Sacramento, CA. The goal of the poster cluster, titled Headwater Mercury Source Reduction Strategies, was to demonstrate the need to address upstream sources as part of effective watershed-level assessment, remediation, and management strategies for mercury. Upstream sources include hydraulic and hard rock mines contaminated with mercury and downstream reservoirs where mercury laden sediment accumulates.
Posters were presented by TSF Science Director Dr. Carrie Monohan and Program Manager Alex Keeble-Toll, and California State University, Chico graduate students Nick Graham and Travis Moore. An overview poster described the longest neglected environmental problem in the state of California: mercury contamination from the Gold Rush, and specific steps that make up a mercury source reduction strategy for the Sierra.
The remaining four posters summarized on-the-ground research at strategic upstream sources, including Malakoff Diggins, one of the largest abandoned hydraulic mines in California, and multiple reservoirs in the American and Bear watersheds that act as catchments for mercury contaminated sediment traveling downstream from abandoned mine sites. To read more about the Bay-Delta Science Conference, visit the conference website at http://scienceconf2016.deltacouncil.ca.gov/
Additionally, TSF Outreach Coordinator & Policy Assistant Kelsey Westfall traveled to San Carlos, Arizona on November 17 – 19 for the 2016 Western Mining Action Network (WMAN) Biennial Conference “Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Protecting Water, Traditional Cultures and Landscapes in a Changing Climate.”
The three-day conference included a tour of the proposed Resolution Copper mine near the town of Superior, AZ, on previously protected public land that houses sacred ceremonial and burial sites of the local San Carlos Apache Tribe. At the conference venue, two days of workshops and plenary sessions covered topics ranging from environmental policy to legal tools for communities challenging mine proposals and effective communication strategies for grassroots organizers. To learn more, visit WMAN’s website at http://wman-info.org/
Looking forward, The Sierra Fund is gearing up for the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Conference December 12 – 16 in San Francisco, CA, where TSF will convene a poster and an oral session, both titled Developing Comprehensive Assessment Strategies for Mining-Impacted Landscapes to Inform Land and Water Management Decisions. The poster session is scheduled for Thursday, December 15 from 8 am – 12: 20 pm and the oral session will take place the same day (12/15) from 4 – 6 pm. For more information, visit the AGU conference website at http://fallmeeting.agu.org/2016/
The Sierra Fund’s presence and leadership at these events is aimed at making connections across disciplines and building relationships to strengthen and support our upcoming conference, Reclaiming the Sierra 2017: Headwater Resiliency, taking place May 8 – 9, 2017 at California State University, Sacramento. Our fourth biennial conference will provide a forum for leaders in science and policy to collaborate on a vision of headwater management to promote the resiliency of natural and human resources in California and beyond. The conference Call for Abstracts is open now through January 31, 2017. To submit an abstract, and to learn more about the event and ways to get involved, visit the conference website at www.reclaimingthesierra.org