Safe to Eat Workgroup

Background | Membership

The Safe to Eat Workgroup (Workgroup), formerly known as the Bioaccumulation Oversight Group (BOG) is a subcommittee of the Water Boards' Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program (SWAMP) Roundtable that provides oversight of SWAMP's statewide Bioaccumulation Monitoring Program. The mission of the Workgroup is to assess the impacts of contaminants in fish and shellfish on beneficial uses in California water bodies through statewide monitoring under SWAMP and perform syntheses of information from these statewide monitoring efforts and other studies.

The Workgroup is also a workgroup of the California Water Quality Monitoring Council, and in this role manages the Safe to Eat Portal and is a forum for coordination of bioaccumulation monitoring in California. Please see the Workgroup Charter for more information.

Background

In September 2006, SWAMP formed the Workgroup to develop plans for and to guide the implementation of SWAMP's statewide Bioaccumulation Monitoring Program. The California Water Quality Monitoring Council designated the Workgroup as its workgroup for assessing "Is it safe to eat fish and shellfish from our waters?" and directed this workgroup to develop the Safe to Eat Portal, which is devoted to this theme. The Workgroup convened a Bioaccumulation Peer Review Panel to provide evaluation and peer review of the Workgroup activities. The members of the Panel are internationally recognized authorities on bioaccumulation monitoring.

Since 2007, the Workgroup has been conducting surveys focused on collecting and analyzing fish tissue for mercury, legacy pesticides, and other bioaccumulated pollutants, such as PCBs, and assessing these data to provide insight into the safety of eating sport fish. These surveys have been conducted in lakes and reservoirs, rivers and streams, and coastal waters of California. From 2012 – 2013, the Workgroup conducted a study of methylmercury bioaccumulation in birds on California lakes and reservoirs (known as the wildlife survey). See the figure below for a timeline of the different bioaccumulation monitoring surveys the Workgroup has conducted and plans to conduct through 2032.  

Timeline of bioaccumulation monitoring surveys that have been and plan to be conducted by the Program and the BOG in lakes and reservoirs, rivers and streams, and coastal waters of California. See the specific survey webpages for more details.

Other Workgroup activities have included reviews of historic bioaccumulation monitoring data and assessments in California, including:

A review of the historic Toxic Substance Monitoring (TSM) and State Mussel Watch (SMW) Programs

A review of historic bioaccumulation of pollutants and their impacts on fishing an aquatic wildlife in California waters

Membership

Membership is open to anyone with an interest in bioaccumulation, fish advisory development, and statewide bioaccumulation monitoring efforts.

Membership Benefits:

Chance to connect with potential collaborators

Opportunity to participate in statewide monitoring efforts

Access to multiple datasets

Contribute to science and resources supporting fish advisory development in California

To join the Workgroup please contact the Bioaccumulation Monitoring Program Coordinator, Anna Holder.


Co-Chairs

Participating State Agencies

  • California Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board
  • Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board
  • Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board
  • Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board
  • North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board
  • Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment
  • San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board
  • San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board
  • Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board
  • State Water Resources Control Board

Participating Federal Agencies

  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • U.S. Geological Survey

Other Participating Organizations

  • Moss Landing Marine Laboratories
  • San Francisco Estuary Institute
  • Southern California Coastal Water Research Project

SWAMP Bioaccumulation Peer Review Panel

  • Bruce Monson, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, St. Paul, MN
  • Chris Schmitt - U.S. Geological Survey, Columbia, Missouri
  • Harry Ohlendorf - CH2M Hill, Sacramento, California
  • Jim Wiener - Retired (formerly Distinguished Professor, University of Wisconsin, La Crosse)
San Francisco Estuary Institute logo
Water Quality Monitoring Council logo
SWRCB logo

California Department of Fish & Wildlife logo

Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency logo
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service logo
USGS
Moss Landing Marine Laboratories logo
Southern California Coastal Water Research Project logo