The sparkling brooks and glistening alpine lakes in the Sierra may not be as pristine as they look, but an environmental group says a lack of specific data makes it difficult to determine just how serious the problem is.
A report issued today by the Sierra Nevada Alliance says that
three quarters of the 24 major watersheds in the Sierra were
affected by pollution over the past five years, resulting in water
that was unsuitable for swimming, fishing or drinking.
But the findings -- based on reports from various federal and
state environmental agencies -- don't go into full details.
Joan Clayburgh is executive director of the alliance. She says
her group just doesn't have the information it needs to get a
handle on the problems.
She says it could be ongoing mercury contamination or just a
temporary incident that was cleaned up with no more problems.
The group's report offers several recommendations. The first is
that California should provide easily accessible and thorough
public data on where, why and for how long stretches of Sierra
rivers were impaired.
Clayburgh says that recommendation applies to the state of
Nevada as well.