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Hacienda Sign Project Dedication Celebration, February 25, 2013, Hacienda Entrance, Almaden Quicksilver County Park

On Monday, February 25, 2013, the Friends of Los Alamitos Watershed held a celebration dedicating the new interpretive signs about mercury at the Hacienda Staging Area of Almaden Quicksilver County Park in New Almaden, not far from Los Alamitos Creek. FOLAW members, the New Almaden Community, and officials of the Santa Clara Valley Water District and Santa Clara County Parks attended. Here are pictures from that celebration:

These are the signs before the dedication. They are covered up. These are the front two signs. The signs were assembled and installed the same morning. In the background on the right is the Hacienda Outdoor Mining Equipment Display. High up on the hill on the left is the Hacienda Chimney, a remnant of the huge mercury smelting operation that was in the Hacienda Area.

These are the left rear signs. In the background is the trailhead for the Mine Hill Trail and the Clampers monument.

FOLAW president Mike Boulland (left) talks with Art Boudreault and Bill Jones.

NAQCPA President Kitty Monahan talks with officials from the Santa Clara Valley Water District. The Water District's Watershed Grant paid for the signs.

More FOLAW and community members come to the celebration.

Mike Boulland talks about the project and thanks the people and agencies who made it possible. From the left are FOLAW member Art Boudreault, Water District Board Director and 2012 Chairperson Linda Lezotte, and Water District Director Brian Schmidt.

Mike thanks the members of FOLAW who helped with sign project. From the left are Kitty Monahan, Bill Jones, Mike Boulland, Mike Cox, Adam Schmidt, Art Boudreault, Mike's wife Dorene Boulland, and Rick Dill. Rick helped with the research for the signs. Art co-authored the grant request that funded the project. Adam helped with the graphic design of the signs. Mike Cox is a geologist who helped with the background research. FOLAW Treasurer Bill Jones kept track of the finances and expenses for the project. Kitty helped with the community organization.

Art Boudreault presents Dorene Boulland with a bouquet of roses. Dorene's mother, Dot Willson, who was an active member of the community and frequent volunteer, passed away last Wednesday.

Brian Schmidt, the Water District's director for District 7, addresses. His district includes Almaden Reservoir, Guadalupe Reservoir, New Almaden, and the Upper parts of Los Alamitos Creek. Linda Lezotte on the left represents District 4, which includes the lower part of Los Alamitos Creek and Lake Almaden. Brian thanks the community for their involvement, talks about the Water District's efforts to clean up the watershed, and discusses how the signs bring awareness of mercury contamination and environmental restoration.

Mike thanks Brian Mendenhall of the Water District for his help with the project.

Mark Frederick, Construction Services Manager for the Santa Clara County Parks & Recreation Department, talks about the County Parks partnership role in the project. The County Parks granted permission and space for the project. On his right is Robin Schaut, Interpretive and Outdoor Recreation Manager, and Julie Lee, Interpretive programs supervisor. They were involved with reviewing and approving the sign designs.

Peggy Melbourne (left) is the president of the New Almaden Community Club. Rich Robertson (right) did the metalwork design, fabrication, assembly, and installation of the sign supports.

Preparing to cut the ribbon.

Mike Cox talks about the background history of the signs, how there was a need for it, and how much work it took to develop them. He discusses the significance of the site chosen for the sign at the Hacienda site, near where whaler's pots were discovered. They were the first methods used to extract mercury from the cinnabar in the 1840's, so this spot marks the birthplace of the Almaden mines.

Cutting the ribbon.

Unveiling the signs.

These are the front 2 signs.

These are the left rear signs.

FOLAW Secretary Robbie Lamons prepares to cut the cake she made. The cake shows Los Alamitos Creek and its tributaries. Robbie is a geologist who helped with the design of the signs.

Robbie serves the cake.

The front 2 signs are on how mercury gets into the local environment and how methylmercury gets into fish.

The left signs talk about mercury and its compounds, why they are a concern, and what people can do to reduce the amount of mercury in local waters.

The 2 signs on the right rear talk about mercury control methods. The sign on the left shows how circulators and aerators are used to reduce the production of methylmercury in local lakes. The sign on the right shows remediation methods to control mining waste discharge.

Now visitors to Almaden Quicksilver County Park can read about mercury and it's impact on the environment. In the background, they can see mining equipment that was used to extract and process the mercury ore. Looking up on the hill, they can see one of the last remnants of the huge mercury processing operation that was here in the Hacienda area.

Here are the designs of the signs.

Page created 2/27/13. Pictures by Ron Horii.