Expert Panels

Expert panel services for reviews of mercury studies.In 2006, Mr. Harris was a plenary speaker and panel member at the 8th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant in Madison, Wisconsin, USA , addressing the relationship between mercury loading and fish mercury concentrations.   The panel produced a publication on the recovery of mercury-contaminated fisheries, in the Swedish journal Ambio (Munthe et al., 2007).  These global conferences every 2-3 years are major events for scientists and managers seeking to present and see the latest research regarding mercury cycling in the environment and related health issues.    Mr. Harris is a member of the steering committee for the 10th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2011.

expert_panelsIn 2005, 2007 and 2008, Mr. Harris served on a review panel evaluating a broad set of mercury studies being carried out in California from the Sierra Nevada downstream through rivers, reservoirs and the Delta to San Francisco Bay.  In California, mercury from historic gold and mercury mining sites in key California watersheds has released large quantities of mercury to the environment.   Total mercury production in California between 1850 and 1981 was more than 220 million pounds (Alpers et al., 2005).  About 12 percent (26 million lb) was used for gold recovery in California, mostly in the Sierra Nevada and Klamath-Trinity Mountains.  Although mercury is a naturally occurring element, it is much more widespread in rivers and streams following California’s Gold Rush days.  Methylmercury concentrations in some Bay-Delta fish species exceed health guidelines established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, prompting warnings against eating some locally caught fish.


Munthe et al., 2007

Munthe J., R.A. Bodaly, B. Branfireun, C.T. Driscoll, C.C. Gilmour, R. Harris, M. Horvat, M. Lucotte, and O. Malm (2007) Recovery of mercury-contaminated fisheries. Ambio 36 (1):33 – 44.

Alpers et al., 2005

Alpers, C.N., M. P. Hunerlach, J.T. May, and R. L. Hothem (2005) Mercury Contamination from Historical Gold Mining in California. USGS PUBLICATIONS—Fact Sheet 2005-3014 Version 1.1