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July CreekSpeak: A Tale of Two Elements: Selenium and Mercury in CA Coastal Mountain Watersheds
CreekSpeak, Putah Creek Council’s six-month series of community talks about the nature, culture, and history of our region, begins on Thursday, July 16th with a presentation discussing how geology impacts water chemistry in Putah and Cache Creek watersheds.
California has a complex geology that has important implications on the chemistry of the Putah and Cache Creek watersheds, as well as other eastside drainages to the Central Valley. In this talk, Dr. Earl Byron and Dr. Darell Slotton examine the prevalence of the natural elements selenium and mercury in these coastal mountain drainages and how human activities have greatly influenced the risk to fish, wildlife, and humans from exposure to these chemicals. How do our local, coastal watersheds rank in terms of exposure and risk from selenium and mercury? How are these elements altered in the environment and how do they concentrate in the tissues of fish, waterfowl, shorebirds or us? What sorts of human activities have caused these naturally-occurring elements to become more toxic? What actions are being taken to minimize current and future risk?
Examples will be shown of water quality monitoring and wildlife bioaccumulation research, including local and regional studies in support of efforts to control the toxic risk from these chemicals.
Dr. Earl Byron (CH2M HILL, UC Davis, retired) and Dr. Darell Slotton (UC Davis) have spent most of their careers in aquatic science working on various aspects of selenium and mercury eco-toxicology; in particular monitoring and associated research in support of environmental protection. Earl has worked on both mercury and selenium with an emphasis on selenium ecotoxicology projects throughout California and other Western states, while Darell has focused his work on mercury in the aquatic food web, from Coast Range mercury mining and Sierra gold mines to the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta and San Francisco Bay, as well as international projects.
CreekSpeak events are at 7PM on the third Thursday of the month (July through October), held via Zoom (in order to accommodate social distancing guidelines). These talks are free to Putah Creek Council members and open to the public (registration will be capped at 100 people). A $5 donation is requested from those who have not yet joined the Council.
Upcoming CreekSpeak talks are: