The following was posted by Bill Jennings, chairman of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, at IndyBay.org:
The State Water Resources Control Board’s Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program has released the initial results from the first year of a two-year screening survey of fish contamination in California’s lakes. The results reveal that the vast majority of lakes are severely polluted and pose some degree of risk to those who eat fish caught from them – only 15% of the lakes sampled were in the clean category.
The actual situation is likely worse because the study admits that many problems may have been missed due to the limited scope of the screening study. The study monitored a limited group of pollutants and did not evaluate pollutant impacts to fish and wildlife. The study can be found at: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/swamp/lakes_study.shtml
The first year of the Lakes Survey sampled some 150 lakes in 2007, including the most popular fishing lakes and reservoirs and random sampling of California’s other 9,000 lakes to provide a statistical statewide assessment. Next year, results from an additional 130 lakes that were sampled in 2008 will be available.
Fish tissue concentrations were evaluated using thresholds developed by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA). The study collected samples for methylmercury, PCBs, dieldrin, DDTs, chlordanes and selenium and focused on thresholds for human health fish consumption. BDCPs (flame retardants) were also sampled but results were not available. Unfortunately, the sampling did not encompass the vast majority of pollutants that pose threats to the environment and human health. Nor did it evaluate impacts to fish and wildlife, which could be at risk from pollutant concentrations that are far lower than those that adversely affect people.