The water district went into this stream and remove calcified channel bed material that accumulated after years of mercury mining in the upper Guadalupe Watershed. Located down slope of Mine Hill where the mining operations took place, Jacques Gulch flows through Almaden Quicksilver County Park into Almaden Reservoir and today is a much healthier area as a direct result of the water district’s work.
About the project
This project addressed threatened litigation from federal and state agencies under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act. They acted as trustees of natural resources allegedly damaged by the release of mercury from mining activities at the New Almaden Mining District, known today as Almaden Quicksilver County Park.
In 2001, federal, state and local governments identified Jacques Gulch as a major source of contamination for the Guadalupe River Watershed and San Francisco Bay. Left untreated, the Gulch would have seen a continued higher rate of mercury releases and experienced limited ability to grow native vegetation due to hardened mercury calcine deposits.
Though the water district does not own the property in the area and was not responsible for the mining, it agreed to undertake this project as an opportunity to support its stewardship mission. In 2009, the district launched the restoration effort, seeking to remove calcine deposits from two locations and restore the area.
The work removed about 12,000 cubic yards of mercury calcine deposits, restored more than 2,000 linear feet of streambank along the Gulch and tributaries to the Gulch and planted more than 300 native plants and trees that continue to thrive, offering improved habitat for the area’s fish and wildlife.
For more information about this project, contact Keiron Nawbatt, Santa Clara Valley Water District, at (408) 265-2600, ext. 2896.