California’s 2017/2018 budget, recently signed by Governor Jerry Brown, includes funding for two projects in the Sierra that will help protect water quality and abate mercury contamination resulting from historic mining activities.
TSF CEO Elizabeth “Izzy” Martin commends the investments by the Governor and state departments, saying “this dedicated funding provides real financial leverage to clean up legacy mercury contamination at the heart of the historical Gold Rush and benefit not only our ecosystems and communities, but those all the way to the Bay/Delta.”
Governor Brown approved $6.13 million to fund the Nevada Irrigation District’s innovative project at Combie Reservoir on the Bear River to remove and treat mercury laden sediment accumulating behind the dam. The project will result in multiple benefits including increased water storage capacity, improved water quality and fish habitat and the production of sellable materials such as sand and gravel.
The Sierra Fund has supported NID’s Combie project for many years by organizing funding and community outreach and offering scientific oversight and expertise.
Additionally, the State budget includes over $8 million as a one-time appropriation to implement the remediation plan being developed at Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park in Nevada County to protect water quality from historic mining activities.
The Sierra Fund has partnered with California State Parks at Malakoff Diggins since 2011 to increase funding and bolster the research capacity to address source contamination at one of California’s largest abandoned hydraulic mine sites.
Thank you to Governor Brown, the Department of Water Resources and the Department of Parks and Recreation for prioritizing environmental projects that address centuries old contamination, and congratulations to the Nevada Irrigation District and California State Parks for this exciting opportunity to move these cutting edge projects forward.