This program was conceived and facilitated by ACWD and is fully supported by EBRPD. Practicing and promoting good environmental stewardship is an important component of each agency’s core mission. Concerns regarding lead toxicity in the environment prompted ACWD to evaluate the potential adverse impacts of lead fishing weights at the Quarry Lakes Regional Recreation Area.
A news article featured the program as it reached a milestone - more than 1,000 pounds of lead have been collected at Quarry Lakes.
Why a Program is Necessary
Lead is toxic to animals and humans when ingested. Birds are particularly susceptible to ingesting lead fishing tackle lost by anglers. Some birds may eat the lead weights which they mistake as snails. Other waterfowl, searching for material to swallow to help grind their food, may mistake lead weights for small pebbles. Once ingested, acid in a bird’s stomach or gizzard dissolves the lead, which then enters its bloodstream and is carried to vital organs. Health impacts can range from loss of weight to the inability to fly or walk, and may even result in death. Predators and scavengers who then eat these birds are also at risk for lead poisoning. In addition, since the water in the Quarry Lakes filters down into the Niles Cone Groundwater Basin where it becomes an important water supply for the Tri-City area, any lead in the water might eventually find its way to the tap.
Fortunately, there are inexpensive and ecologically friendly alternatives to lead fishing tackle. Tin, steel, bismuth, glass, ceramic, rubber, and plastic all work just as well as lead and are not harmful to you or waterfowl.
The exchange program is operated by EBRPD staff from the Quarry Lakes
entrance kiosk when time permits. On one Saturday each month during peak
fishing season (September through May), a Lead Fishing Weight Exchange
booth is set up and operated by volunteers. The schedule for exchange events
is listed below. Once an angler has exchanged their lead weights, they are
encouraged to purchase lead-free fishing tackle in the future.
Lead Fishing Weight Exchange Schedule
Lead fishing weight exchanges can be made out of the Quarry Lakes Regional Recreation Area kiosk when time permits. Please contact EBRPD at (510) 544-3130 to obtain dates and times of special Exchange events.