US Fish & Wildlife Service


Date of this Version



Published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1-16, (1992)


Elevated mercury levels have been identified in water, sediments, and biota in the Carson River drainage basin, west-central, Nevada. In some instances mercury concentrations exceeded levels considered safe for fish, wildlife, and humans. Of particular concern were game fish in the lower Carson River basin which may be consumed by humans. Many of these fish have been found to contain more than 1.0 μg/g wet weight, the action level identified as safe for human consumption by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA 1984) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA 1989). Concern for human health promptedthe Nevada State Division of Health to issue a health advisory for the consumption of game fish taken from waters of Lahontan Valley in April of 1987. This advisory included wetland areas on Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge and Stillwater Wildlife Management Area (WHA), which is jointly managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Nevada Department of Wildlife, and the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District. Within Stillwater NWR and WMA, the area of greatest concern is a series of lakes, the Indian Lakes system, which is managed as a recreational fishery by the Nevada Department of Wildlife.