NEVADA CITY, 1 October 2012 – The Sierra Fund is proud to announce an award from the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Justice program for our work to help protect rural Californians from exposure to toxins from abandoned mines in the region. Working with partners at the California Indian Environmental Alliance (CIEA) we will conduct outreach on the perils of eating locally caught fish in the area that have “fish consumption advisories” due to high mercury contamination. CIEA has created a workshop on these issues that is aimed at doctors and nurses. Medical professionals that attend the workshop are eligible to receive credit toward their obligation for continuing medical education.
Building on the environmental health research conducted and relationships established as part of our 2010-2011 California EPA Environmental Justice (Cal/EPA EJ) grant, we will conduct community organizing and outreach to healthcare professionals in a small number of targeted communities in our region. While our Cal/EPA EJ grant included organizing activities in the communities where surveys were collected, due to constraints on where we could conduct surveys, these were not the communities most affected by mining.
“We are glad to have the opportunity to bring this crucial information to the community,” notes The Sierra Fund’s Communication Director, Kerry Morse. “This grant will be used to work in four Sierra communities impacted by metal mining in the 19th century at the heart of Sierra mining region: Grass Valley/Nevada City, Quincy, Downieville, and Placerville.” Work on this project will begin later this fall.