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Project Details

California Water Quality and Fish Contamination Project

Photo of fishermen and chemical plant
Project Summary: 

California faces a growing problem of fish contamination. To address this problem and reduce its effect on human and ecosystem health, Health Research for Action conducted formative research on a statewide action plan for the California State Water Resources Control Board. Activities included:
• A survey of 25 key informants working on fish contamination activities in two regions of the state (the San Francisco Bay and Delta and the Palos Verdes Shelf in the Los Angeles coastal zone).
• Identification of stakeholders to contribute to the action plan.
• Identification of potential sites for pilot implementation of the action plan.
• Identification of implementation goals.

Main Findings: 

The project found strong support for the development of a statewide action plan to address fish contamination. California’s water body contamination and associated health problems have worsened or remained unresolved for a number of reasons that could be addressed through an integrated, consensus-based, statewide approach. Problems include the state’s size and diversity; overlapping authorities and jurisdictions; limitations of funding streams; inland watershed pollution that increases the ocean’s contaminant load; and lack of a public health focus on what has largely been approached as a natural resource issue.

Policy, Practice or Research Impacts: 

A statewide strategic plan would coordinate federal, tribal, state, and local agencies with private sector, advocacy, community, and scientific organizations in California to protect water bodies from contamination and protect the health of populations consuming fish from these waters.

Contact Person: 
Holly Brown-Williams
Health Research for Action, UC Berkeley
Principal Investigators: 
Professor Susan Ivey
California State Water Resources Control Board
California State Water Resources Control Board
Location - States: