Volunteers collect fish from the Canoochee to test for mercury
by Emanuel County Live | September 28, 2009 12:00 am
Earlier this month, volunteers collected fish from the Canoochee River to test them for mercury.
Fish in the river have been documented to have excessive levels of mercury. The state of Georgia recommends only eating one meal a month of largemouth bass and one meal a week of catfish or redbreast from the River and area streams.
The project is conducted by Ogeechee-Canoochee Riverkeeper with partial funding provided by grants from River Network and MillerCoors and the Savannah Presbytery, MK Pentecost Ecology Fund in memory of Ogden Doremus. Additional funding is being sought to add additional testing sites along the river, streams and area ponds.
“There is too much mercury in our environment now,” said Chandra Brown, Riverkeeper and Executive Director, “and the trends are going in the wrong direction.”
According to the US EPA, over 99% of the mercury in the Ogeechee and Canoochee Rivers comes from air pollution. A study released this month from the US Geological Survey found that while mercury was found in almost every water body in the US, blackwater streams, like the Canoochee, had the highest levels. These streams convert mercury into its most toxic form very quickly.
Mercury is most dangerous to young children and babies. Exposure to mercury can affect children’s learning ability and cause other neurological disorders. The US EPA estimates that more than 300,000 newborns each year may have increased risk of learning disabilities due to exposure to mercury in their mother’s womb.
The results from the fish collection will be released late fall/early winter. For more information contact Ogeechee-Canoochee Riverkeeper, www.ocrk.org or 866-942-6222.