Jun 3, 2010

The State Water Resources Control Board's Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program (SWAMP) has released findings from California’s largest-ever survey of contaminants in sport fish from lakes and reservoirs. This report represents the end of a two-year survey and presents new data on 122 lakes sampled in 2008, adding to the database covering 150 lakes sampled in 2007 and reported last year. Mercury accumulation in fish is a persistent problem throughout much of the state. Twenty-one percent of the lakes surveyed had at least one fish species with an average mercury level that exceeded the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) threshold for considering a recommendation of no consumption for women of childbearing age and children. The Lakes Survey was the first component of a new program that is tracking sport fish contamination in all California water bodies. Results from the first year of a two-year survey of contaminants in sport fish from California coastal waters will be available in May 2011.

Fact sheet summarizing the findings of the survey

Press release from the State Board

The Lakes Study Report and other related documents are available on the SWAMP website

The public can access results for individual fishing locations included in the Lakes Survey through the California Water Quality Monitoring Council’s “My Water Quality” web portal. Information on sport fish contamination can be accessed by clicking on “Is It Safe to Eat Fish and Shellfish from Our Waters?”


John Sebastian Russo/ The Chonicle
Daniel Ray of San Jose hooks a bass in Calero Reservoir in Morgan Hill, one of those included in the study


SF Chronicle, by Kelly Zito
Mercury found in fish from S.F. water supply

The study was done by researchers at the San Francisco Estuary Institute, who released the results of the landmark, $1.5 million, two-year project in June. They sampled sport fish at nearly 300 popular fishing lakes in California for methyl mercury, PCBs, DDT and other contaminants.


Mercury News, by Julia Scott, Mercury in Crystal Springs fish puzzles scientists


Half Moon Bay Review, by Mark Noack, Traces of mercury surprise water officials


NBC Bay Area, by Jackson West, Mercury Laden Fish Found in San Francisco's Water Supply

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission: San Francisco's Water Meets or Exceeds All Drinking Water Quality Standards Link PDF

CBS5 News Mercury Tests on Peninsula Lake Raises Concerns

SF Appeal: Calm Down, Mercury Found in Fish, *Not* in SF's Drinking Water Link PDF

San Diego Source, The Daily Transcript Mercury found in fish from lake that supplies SF


News Review, Greenwatch Watch out for sick fish. Report highlights risks of eating California’s sport fish


Calaveras Enterprise, by Jeremy D. Malamed, Melones mercury levels studied


Recordnet.com, by Alex Brietler, Statewide lake list offers healthy fishing tips


Redding News, by Ryan Sabalow, Mercury warning given to north state anglers


Mercury News, by Paul Rogers, High levels of mercury again found in fish in Santa Clara County reservoirs


The Reporter, Lake Berryessa's mercury levels a concern


San Jose Women's Health Examiner, by Marie President, Women urged to avoid fish caught in Santa Clara County lakes due to high levels of mercury


ABC-KGO TV, San Francisco Study shows high mercury levels in South Bay fish

Programs and Focus Areas: 
Clean Water Program