Mercury in fish tissue
We look at the amount of mercury in edible tissue from freshwater fish to understand if contamination levels are changing. We monitor mercury because it persists in the environment, accumulates in the tissues of fish and humans, and is toxic in large concentrations.
We monitor mercury to protect health
We worked with the state Department of Health to develop a Chemical Action Plan (CAP) for mercury in 2003. The plan details natural and human-caused sources, identifies the way mercury moves through the environment, summarizes health effects, and discusses fish consumption advisories.
We've supported the CAP by assessing mercury in fish tissue every year since 2005. Each year, we collect 10 individual largemouth or smallmouth bass from six waterbodies to analyze total mercury accumulation. We return to each set of waterbodies every five years to assess trends.
Here are the project plan and its addendum — learn about how we sample: