The Aftermath of the Gold Rush: Mining and Mercury in the Bay

Mercury-laden sediments from mining operations in the Sierra Nevada and Coast Ranges still enter the vast network of streams and rivers that feed into San Francisco Bay. The mining activity dates as far back as California’s Gold Rush era. View this segment to learn

  • how hydraulic mining techniques caused massive amounts of sediment to enter the San Francisco Bay watershed.
  • where mercury (which was needed to separate gold from ore) was mined in the Bay Area.
  • about the mercury that persists in area rivers and its toxic effects in the food chain.

Download the Viewing Guide for pre- and post-viewing discussion questions, activities, and additional resources to use with students.

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