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               Data discrepancies in tribal monitoring of Klamath algae                  

                                                                    COUNTY OF SISKIYOU

                                                                                       DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH

David J. Herfindahl, M.D.                                                      806 South Main Street                                                                        Mt. Shasta Office

Public Health Director                                                              Yreka, CA  96097-3321                                                                      101 Siskiyou Ave.

E-mail: Drherf@co.siskiyou.ca.us                                         TELEPHONE (530) 841-4040                                                   Mt. Shasta, CA 96067-2500

www.co.siskiyou.ca.us                                                                   Fax (530) 841-4076                                                             Telephone (530) 926-4588

March 9, 2007

To: Charlene Walden

From: Terry Barber (Terry Barber is head of the joint Planning and Environmental Health Dept. of Siskiyou County. She is specialist in environmental health.)

During our conversation of March 9, 2006, you indicated that a Mid-Klamath grass roots organization is aware of data discrepancies that were discovered with Copco Lake Irongate Reservoir sampling efforts that have occurred over the past three years. You requested information and clarification on the problem and any process that are in place to remedy the discrepancy.

Siskiyou County Public Health Department has consistently expressed its concerns about algae sampling due to the lack of approved and standardized laboratory methods.

In November 2006, the County Health Department was informed that split samples analyzed by Wright State University and UC Davis were significantly different. While the Wright State University Lab is no longer in operation, extensive efforts to explain the discrepancy have been taken by State and Federal agencies. The investigation revealed that the discrepancies are caused by the lack of standardized lab methodologies and availability of ‘lab standards’ or known concentrations of microcystin.  Lab standards are needed to ensure the data quality and accuracy.

It is my understanding that the identified discrepancies associated with the existing data will not be described on the data website or published reports. 

It should be noted that, local, state and federal agencies have acknowledged that any future data produced is subject to similar discrepancies.

If there are any further questions or concerns about the data, you may contact Trina Mackie at 510-643-5141 or Email: tmackie@berkeley.edu.

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