Most of you know that the Kalamazoo River is a “superfund site” due to all the PCBs from the historical paper mills. This has also resulted in unsafe fish to eat as PCBs build up in the fat of fish. The PCBs then get transferred to whatever eats them. There are certain species of fish that should not be eaten at all while others have differing restrictions depending on the size and species.
But did you know that there are people eating fish in the most contaminated areas of the Kalamazoo River? These are typically under-served minority groups that are eating the fish because they need to however there may be other people as well.
Over the years information on the fish advisories has diminished and is currently difficult to find. In addition there are many barriers such as language, education level and information access to be able to effectively reach certain people.
As the main Environmental Justice project needed for “Green Sanctuary Certification” we will be partnering with the Kalamazoo River Watershed Council (KRWC) to engage with community and state partners to implement an “Eat Safe Fish” outreach campaign. Through community conversations it will be tailored to the K-zoo River community needs. KRWC currently has a small grant to help begin this conversation and a future grant will be developed. This project will help inform people on how to keep themselves safer when fishing in contaminated areas. There will be multiple phases of the project spanning over the next few years. The end result will ultimately create lasting community networks of informed individuals to get the information to the people that need it most so they can make a more informed decision and hopefully their reduce their risks associated with eating Kalamazoo River fish.
A presentation will be scheduled on this EJ project in the near future for those inquiring minds to learn more and how you might eventually be able to be involved at the community level.
More Committee Members Needed:
The GSC is also in need of a couple more volunteers to join the committee. The meetings are currently scheduled at 4 pm on Mondays once a month but that can be flexible. One project that needs some assistance is the “People’s Church Nature Trail”