ACTION ALERT: Sign on to TSF’s letter to support funding for legacy mine cleanup

Join The Sierra Fund, Tuleyome, and a dozen other organizations to support new public funds to clean up California’s oldest pollution – mercury from legacy mines.

The Sierra Fund has launched our “Get the Mercury Out” campaign to get funding to clean up legacy mines. Our current effort is a sign-on letter of supporters addressed to the governor, speaker, and president of the senate pro tempore.

Please sign on! Click here to view and download the letter.

Please email your organization’s sign on to Ben Menzies at or contact him for more information.

Current co-signers to the letter include:

  • Bill Allayaud – Environmental Working Group
  • John Brady – Mariposans for Environmentally Responsible Government
  • Joan Clayburgh – Sierra Nevada Alliance
  • Rebecca Crebbin-Coates – Planning and Conservation League
  • Caleb Dardick – South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL)
  • Dana Davis – President of Teichert Materials
  • Stevee Duber – High Sierra Rural Alliance
  • Dave Eggerton – Eldorado Irrigation District
  • Bill Newsom
  • Donald Rivenes – Forest Issues Group
  • Remleh Scherzinger – Nevada Irrigation District
  • Bob Schneider – Tuleyome

Mercury contamination stemming from abandoned mines poses a significant threat to not only the watersheds in the Sierra (as well as the Inner Coast), and all of the downstream communities who depend on Sierra water but also poses a major public health threat. Here are some facts:

  • Methylmecury is the highest priority bioaccumulative contaminant in California
  • Mercury contaminated sediment that has collected behind dams has reduced the storage capacity of 200 reservoirs in California by 50%
  • At least 96% of all mercury contamination in the Bay-Delta comes from the streams and rivers of the Sierra Nevada and Inner Coast Range.

The Sierra Fund and Tuleyome are seeking inclusion of clarifying language in the upcoming water bond that emphasizes the importance of legacy mine remediation in the Sierra Nevada and Inner Coast Range watersheds for maintaining the sustainability and health of the Delta. Language directing funding to assess, design, and implement pilot projects to limit the transport of mercury into the Delta from upstream reservoirs and legacy gold and mercury mines could be included for Delta Sustainability without increasing the bond amount. Such pilot projects to find methods that remediate legacy gold and mercury mines are already underway and have shown promise, yet have progressed as far as they can without increased public support to solve this historic environmental health and justice issue.

The key to addressing downstream problems is to remediate upstream threats. Thus, addressing the upland legacy mines and the reservoirs collecting contaminated sediment can be condensed into one simple mission: find the sources and clean them up.

Funding to address legacy mines need not increase the cost of the water bond; rather, existing funding intended to protect the Delta would be best spent if some funds were allocated to mitigate the continuing and devastating impact of legacy mine pollution. Should the water bond fail to consider the problem of legacy mines in the Sierra and Coast ranges, then the bond will provide only a temporary solution to the calamity of downstream mercury contamination—a legacy we will leave for our children to clean up.

To ensure healthy and secure water resources for all Californians, we urge you all to support explicit resources to get the mercury out of these crucial watersheds.

Please sign on to the letter! Click here to view and download. Please email your sign on to Ben Menzies at or contact him for more information regarding the sign on letter.

For any questions, concerns, or comments about the letter or campaign, please contact: Izzy Martin, The Sierra Fund CEO, (530)265-8454 x211.