Environment,    News

Yay! California Halts Suction Dredge Mining (Almost) Until Review Completed

Posted by Tom Chandler 7/15/2009

The largely backwards Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors have - for some unknown reason - made it a priority to protect suction dredge mining from even basic review (a damaging recreational use of critical endangered salmon and steelhead habitat).

Instead of supporting sustainable (and profitable) salmon and steelhead fisheries in the county, they've largely thrown the adult political equivalents of a temper tantrums.

Fortunately, California's legislature sees the issue a bit differently, and just sent a bill to the Guvernator (Ahhhhnold) that would ban the practice until Fish && Game completes a court-ordered assessment of the practice - a study that was supposed to be completed in 2008.

UPDATE: Due to comments from dredge operators, I've embedded a video explaining some of the issues:



via State lawmakers OK temporary dredging ban targeting salmon habitat - Latest News - sacbee.com

The state Legislature has approved a bill to temporarily ban suction dredge mining in the state's rivers, a largely recreational practice blamed for harming salmon spawning habitat.

The state Senate on Monday voted 28-7 to approve the bill, SB 670 by Sen. Patricial Wiggins, D-Santa Rosa. It was approved by an even wider margin in the Assembly last week.

The bill contains an urgency clause, meaning it becomes law immediately upon signing by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. It would ban suction dredge mining until the Department of Fish and Game completes a court-ordered update of regulations governing the practice.

"In addition to being essential to saving salmon and steelhead fisheries," Wiggins said in a statement, "this bill will save the department an estimated $1 million in costs to administer a program that does not pay for itself."

It's unlikely the practice will be banned entirely - salmon advocates just want controls placed on the activity where it intersects salmon habitat and spawning activities.

It's been a long, long road to this point, and while Ahhnold still has to sign the bill (he vetoed a similar bill, but is expected to sign this one), there's hope.

Expect another outraged fulmination from the Siskiyou Board of Supervisors, who just sent a "strongly worded" letter regarding Klamath Dam removal.

They've been involved in the removal negotiations from the start, but instead of actually contributing, they've apparently found it easier to whine, then claim some kind of victim status in the whole deal.

Truly the Underground is tired of them.

See you not Suction Dredge Mining, Tom Chandler.

AuthorPicture

Tom Chandler

As the author of the decade leading fly fishing blog Trout Underground, Tom believes that fishing is not about measuring the experience but instead of about having fun. As a staunch environmentalist, he brings to the Yobi Community thought leadership on environmental and access issues facing us today.

78 comments
Inthe559: You are quick to jump on and respond to someone that is attacking you. You don't address Kanman and Claudia Wise that have presented that facts. You're wrong again. I have responded, and yes, I am quick to get pissed when someone starts spouting racism and launching personal attacks. That's why this thread is closed.
0
0
It's gotten a little ridiculous. Suction dredge mining is now - in defiance of all logic - now good for spawning salmon? Of course it's not, and even the studies so often cited by proponents don't say that. Yet those studies are being twisted, and the central question is cast aside like so much gravel. The big fiction here is commonly dealt with in a single statement from Ms. Wise's letter: California ... more Department of Fish and Game already regulates the miners out of the waterways during important life events for the Salmon. That includes during spawning season when redds are present. That's simply not true, and what's worse, miners know it. One of the reasons coldwater species groups are pushing for an update to regulations is because the existing set simply don't reflect reality. Spring-spawned salmon and trout don't always spawn within a set timeframe, and what's worse, suction dredging a redd filled with fry is just as bad as one with eggs. Then there are the species which spawn in the fall, and so on. The regs need an update. Miners are willing to pretend otherwise. Then we have the "we improve spawning habitat" fiction, which miners accept as the literal truth when the reality is far murkier. Again, we quote Ms. Wise: It is well known that suction dredging causes little or no environmental harm to fish and biota what many overlook are the many benefits that dredging provides such as increased spawning gravels, dredge made refugia, and yes, mercury remediation to name a few. Removing sediment and creating bars of loose, unaggregated gravel doesn't make for ideal spawning habitat (the Davis biologist in the video mentioned this), yet miners persist in spreading this notion. It's possible there are - in some places - benefits to spawning habitat, but there is plenty of evidence to suggest the opposite is true, as the study most frequently cited says mortality rates in unaggregated beds are extreme in years of high flows. Worse is the mercury question. The Humphrey study that miners often cite as proof they're "good" for the environment draws a different conclusion - that the mercury that makes it through the dredge does so in a form that is far more dangerous than the inert version found at the bottom of rivers. In fact, the same study says the pass-through mercury leaves a dredge in concentrations ten times higher than needed to qualify it for hazardous status. Humphrey even suggests suction dredge mining isn't the right way to remediate mercury left in our rivers from prior mining - a conclusion conveniently overlooked by miners. And then there's the question of what happens to the mercury miners do collect. Where exactly does all that mercury go? (I have an idea.) Should the state set up collection points for miners? I think it's a great idea. It's one way dredge miners could contribute to the enviornment instead of harming it. Should Fish & Game update its regulations regarding suction dredge mining? That's a great idea too. Sadly, miners have fought any updates to their mining regulations - perhaps aware an impartial review of the data might suggest longer closures on some waters, and no dredge mining at all on a few others. No, nobody's blaming suction dredge miners for the plight of the salmon. They are, however, overdue for a review of how their operations impact fisheries and habitat in the state of California, and it's a shame they continue to fight the process - to the point that a legislative solution is now necessary to make it happen. I'm tired of all the red herrings and irrelevance. It doesn't matter that gold is a hedge against inflation, or any of the other stuff. That's not relevant. And the classic strawman - where a desire to see the regulations updated is transmuted to mean you want to ban suction dredge mining entirely (perhaps thereby justifying threa
0
0
mercedriverfriend: Define strawman for me, as my friends and I can't figure it out and have now turned it into our latest joke. Thanks. Is making fun of things you don't understand par for the course? Five seconds on Google would have educated you - it's when someone creates an false argument that can easily be "blown over" instead of dealing with the real issue.
0
0
Define strawman for me, as my friends and I can't figure it out and have now turned it into our latest joke. Thanks.
0
0
Thank you Kanman, you are right as you have been in every post that you have made. I shouldn't have gone that route with Tom. But I knew he would ignore the letter you posted from Pat Keene. I also knew he would have something to say to me cause he has no answers for you thus proving my point about those guys ignoring all the facts presented. But I see your point, and I would like to apologize to ... more Tom. I just hope that when it is all said and done we can all meet in the stream and realize we are all Americans here and pride and hard-headedness is not always a bad thing. It is what had made this country the greatest on the planet. I also see what some of the fishermen are talking about when it comes to people thinking they own the air and everything else around a claim. I think it will also make me better as a miner as I will now know what a redd is. I will avoid them if I come acrossed them. But i need more facts on the impacts of dredging if I am going to be convinced to change my opinion.
0
0
Thanks Tom, You just proved what I said earlier. Tom Chandler: That's too bad since there's been a great deal of spirited debate, yet the threatening, name-calling behavior seems pretty one sided (since I'm the one receiving the emails). You, sir, are not worth my time. You are quick to jump on and respond to someone that is attacking you. You don't address Kanman and Claudia Wise that have presented ... more that facts. You fishermen have yet to put forth any solid facts by experts. Just as I said earlier in a post no one from their side of things wants to respond to the facts of an expert. You guys just believe that what you think is fact. As for people threating you I don't condone that, but it wouldn't really bother me. I am not afraid of those kinda people and would meet them anytime and anyplace to let them know just where I really do stand. Tom I don't want you to address me, I want you to put forth your facts. Name and quote the studies and the experts of the facts you have. I do thank you for proving my point. How you skipped over all kinds of good intelligent posts to tell me I am not worth your time. While ignoring that facts that you don't seem to want to face. You may not be a bad guy Tom, I cant say for sure. I am a asshole at heart and don't Deni it. But you my friend are pompous and condescending, and I would just rather be a asshole.
0
0
Gold. (Please bear with me as I cannot help myself) Gold is used industrially and for jewelry, but what most people forget (and will soon be reminded) is that gold is MONEY! It has been money for over 5000 years and will soon be regaled as money again. You see, there's this little problem in the international economies out there right now. A lot of investors worldwide accepted the investment paper ... more that the criminals on Wall Street and those at the Federal Reserve have been printing for the last hundred or so years. I think the current debt run up via some of the big wall street banks in the derivative market is in the neighborhood of 1.5 quadrillion dollars in derivatives (a quadrillion is 1000 billions)- and the derivative market is unregulated (but of course, we all know those nice bankers or wall street operators wouldn't do something that would hurt the rest of us, don't we?). The point is that at some point in probably the very near future, anything paper is going to burn, and there will be a mass migration back to what has historically been money- gold. The central bankers of the world are accumulating it, the BRIC countries are accumulating it and the smart money of the world are accumulating it (Swiss bank accounts are running out of gold storage places). You don't read anything about this accumulation on the news, because you and I are what the insiders call the dumb money. We watch Cramer on tv because we think he is there to help us and we also watch our retirements disappear as the bankers get billion dollar bailouts in markets they were criminally manipulating. California is sitting on one of the richest occurrences of gold in the world. Gold is what made California one of the leading states in the Union. Mining for gold is NOT a hobby, it is a money making business and the value of the gold us dredgers find will go exponential as soon as the dollar goes into hyperinflation (which shouldn't be far off). Got Gold? Here's some investment advice: in 1980 they used to tell investors to have 20% of their assets in physical gold. Personally, I would suggest 40% or more. And maybe set aside some cash too. Do you have your money in wall street? With the criminals? You know what happens when you do business with criminals, don't you? Personally, I wouldn't give wall street any of my money until there is some semblance of a sheriff showing up to begin to curtail some of the egregious criminality being shown off lately. But that's just me- call me a little paranoid. Are you invested in Treasuries? They are paying- what almost 1%? How about mutual funds? Or your 401K? Since 2000 the investments I have in physical gold are up over 400% and gold has been increasing in value every year since 1998. How is the rest of your portfolio doing? How many of you are sitting on profits these days? The green shoots thing with the economy is pure baloney. I do sales and I can equivocally tell you that no one is buying. Everyone is just getting by. Guess why? The dollar has devalued about 40% since 1998. That means it takes 40% more dollars today to buy what you bought in 1998. I bet that we may see some of you fishermen out on the rivers with your pans or dredges soon when you realize gold may be the only thing that will keep you from becoming homeless- your dollars will be almost worthless and an oz of gold will be worth thousands. Call me a nut now, once the economic reality shows up, I believe that you will believe...Let's bring up this subject again in about a year and we'll see how crazy I am. Kanman
0
0
Inthe559- In this instance, I tend to agree with Tom in that it serves no benefit to be calling anyone names or suggesting any sort of threat. As soon as you are perceived as doing so, no matter how lucid your argument is, you instantly lose all credibility. I know this from my own previous experience in another discussion a while ago. The guy I was debating was doing a good job of really irritating ... more me, and although I clearly stated my position and was maintaining a fairly level headed discussion, he finally pushed me to the point that I suggested he had ulterior intentions. It was a bad move on my part as it basically subjected all the groundwork I laid in my argument to speculation of what my intentions were or worse yet, that I was a total jerk. It is much better to try to stick to the facts and try to divorce yourself from the emotional aspects of your discussion. As soon as your emotional response shows up, you blow the credibility of your whole argument. Been there, done that, learned my lesson.
0
0
Inthe559: Tom like to address the one that think negatively so he can talk down to them. You go Tom, next time someone sicks their dog on you hit them with your purse. Inthe559: Dont get me wrong here, there are some good people that live on the res. but most are not worth the powder to blow them up with. And they steal, lie, and do what ever it takes to get there next bottle or sack or dope. Inthe559: ... more The more posts I read by Mr. Chandler, I take him for one of the types that protests the troops over seas. One that doesnt believe in physically standing up for your rights. All the things that made this country great at one time. Its a shame that it has come to people that want to wage their war with a pen. Inthe559, you've just exposed yourself as a racist and yes - a potentially violent hater with nothing to add to this conversation. This kind of personal attack - coupled with the handful of fairly vicious (and yes, threatening) emails I've received from pro-mining people suggests this thread is about outlive its usefulness. That's too bad since there's been a great deal of spirited debate, yet the threatening, name-calling behavior seems pretty one sided (since I'm the one receiving the emails). You, sir, are not worth my time.
0
0
mercedriverfriend: I'll amuse you a bit more Tom. Hang on because I am going with the bigger picture here. It is called the lesser of two evils. Except that your supposedly "lesser" evil has almost zero measurable impact on the other (you neglected to answer the question about what percentage of the world's gold supply is provided by suction dredge miners). With better than 70% of the world's gold ... more supply used in jewelry and only 11% used industrially (dental and electronic mostly), if you were truly so concerned about the impacts of gold mining, you'd have a much bigger impact on that simply by advocating against gold jewelry, not attacking those who want the impacts of suction dredge mining minimized. In truth, you're erecting a series of strawmen in an attempt to avoid the relevant question here - what are the impacts of suction dredge mining too soon prior to, during and just after the spawn, and why have miners fought every attempt to protect salmon stocks? This entire thread is ample evidence of that (I'm going respond to the "suction dredge miner as friend to fish" nonsense in another comment). Attacking me personally doesn't bolster your argument, nor does attempting to paint me as some kind of hypocrite. As you'll notice from a couple comments after yours, attacking opponents seems de rigueur for many miners. It's not pretty.
0
0
mercedriverfriend: Also, when a miner goes out and harvests gold, he/she is adding a resource to our lives. In my eyes this mitigates the 19.4 pounds of CO2 per gallon of fuel spent in transport and mining activity as this is much less than the fuel spent in hard-rock mining operations for the same return in gold. Fly fishing for fun can be viewed as an activity with no measurable return for mankind, ... more in the end adding only to the pollution we face. Can that be argued, MHH? Some people derive enjoyment from buying a piece of gold jewelry or some other such trinket. Some people derive enjoyment from catching a fish. I don't see why one is any more or less a measurable return for mankind than the other. Personally, I'd rather have the fish because I can eat it in a pinch.
0
0
mercedriverfriend: MHH,Weak responses. I don't appreciate being called a liar either. The man that dreded the four ounces is a very good friend of mine and I have seen his earlier finds. I can't help someone like you. I did not call you liar or otherwise doubt the veracity of your claim. I am perfectly willing to believe that your friend found the 4 ounces of gold you say he found. What I don't believe ... more is the link you tried to make between recreational dredge mining and large scale commercial mining in Indonesia. Your friend's success or failure does not affect operations on the other side of the world one iota. That is the point. You are making an argument that dredge mining is somehow environmentally virtuous and a viable alternative to commercial mining. It simply is not. It's a hobby. One with tangible effects on the environment that should be managed like any other.
0
0
Also, when a miner goes out and harvests gold, he/she is adding a resource to our lives. In my eyes this mitigates the 19.4 pounds of CO2 per gallon of fuel spent in transport and mining activity as this is much less than the fuel spent in hard-rock mining operations for the same return in gold. Fly fishing for fun can be viewed as an activity with no measurable return for mankind, in the end adding ... more only to the pollution we face. Can that be argued, MHH?
0
0
MHH, Weak responses. I don't appreciate being called a liar either. The man that dreded the four ounces is a very good friend of mine and I have seen his earlier finds. I can't help someone like you.
0
0
I was talking to Pat Keene this afternoon and he suggested I forward this letter to this blog for your enjoyment: The Honorable Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger State Capitol Building Sacramento, CA 95814 Fax: 916-558-3160 Dear Governor Schwarzenegger, PLEASE VETO BILL SB670 (anti-suction dredging legislation) My name is Claudia Wise; I retired in 2006 after 32 years of civil service with the U.S. EPA ... more as a physical scientist/chemist. I have been a member of many scientific projects over the years starting my federal career in the Fish Toxicology arena and ending it with the Salmon Restoration division. I have worked on projects ranging from urban fish populations and fish avoidance testing to eelgrass habitat and global climate change. I have been and remain to be a strong proponent of protecting the environment. On October 11, 2007 in regards to AB 1032 I wrote to you regarding another attempt by the legislature to get around a court order and unnecessarily put a large group of miners and businesses out of work with no scientific evidence to support their claims. Dozens of peer-reviewed journal articles some commissioned by the USEPA, USGS, CDFG, Corp of Engineers, and many more from universities support suction dredging as having de minimis effects or no significant effect on the environment they are used in. Nothing has changed in peer-reviewed literature since that time to change this fact. Suction dredge mining has little impact on the areas fish and biota. In relation to natural occurrences suction dredge mining is insignificant. To put the impact of suction dredge mining into perspective it was calculated that suction dredge mining disturbs only 0.7% of the sediment that is moved naturally in a year. The Siskiyou National Forest (SNF), where this study occurred, is a very prominent mining area in California. According to the U. S. Forest Service, SNF, "There are 1,092,302 acres on the Siskiyou National Forest. Using a factor of 0.33 cubic yards per acre per year times 1,092,302 acres will produce a very conservative estimate that 331,000 cubic yards of material move each year from natural causes compared to the 2413 cubic yards that was moved by suction dredge mining operations in 1995. This would be a movement rate by suction dredge mining that equals about 0.7% of natural rates." (Cooley 1995). California Department of Fish and Game already regulates the miners out of the waterways during important life events for the Salmon. That includes during spawning season when redds are present. It is well known that suction dredging causes little or no environmental harm to fish and biota what many overlook are the many benefits that dredging provides such as increased spawning gravels, dredge made refugia, and yes, mercury remediation to name a few. Suction dredging breaks up cemented riverbeds providing fish with loose gravel for future spawning grounds in areas fish presently are not able to use for spawning. Between 1996 and 1998, Quihillalt (1999) found 4% of redds where located on or within 1000 m of dredge tailings. He theorized that dredge tailings may be attractive sites for redd construction because tailings are often located near riffle crests where fish frequently spawn, and they provide loose, appropriately sized substrate. However, embryos in tailings may suffer high mortality during years of high river flows (1998) and be of no concern during years of low river flows (1996 & 1997). During a later survey on the Klamath River during 2002 only one redd was observed on suction dredge tailings. Recreational suction dredge mining was present throughout the survey from the Highway I-5 Bridge to Happy Camp (Schuyler and Magneson. 2006). Even with scouring effects to redds reported in scientific literature this gravel provides areas to spawn that would not otherwise be available to them. Any added benefit to increasing salmon productivity, using suction dre
0
0
As anyone noticed that every fact based argument that is brought up by a miner is ignored. Tom like to address the one that think negatively so he can talk down to them. You go Tom, next time someone sicks their dog on you hit them with your purse.
0
0
Dont get me wrong here, there are some good people that live on the res. but most are not worth the powder to blow them up with. And they steal, lie, and do what ever it takes to get there next bottle or sack or dope. So dont think for a minute that they just use dip nets. And that they do let fish go to waste trying to sell them to every tourist that wonders by. The more posts I read by Mr. Chandler, ... more I take him for one of the types that protests the troops over seas. One that doesnt believe in physically standing up for your rights. All the things that made this country great at one time. Its a shame that it has come to people that want to wage their war with a pen. But its ok, for everyone of the people with their pen swords there are real Americans that fight for rights for real.
0
0
well Tom if they have extra fish to try and sell in a grocery store parking lot while getting three sheets to the wind I would say yes. Tom are you implying that they are limited to dip nets? I think not, but you wouldnt know that cause you havent spent any time on a res have you. I cant tell you I have on more then one res. But I wouldnt recommend it for you. They tend to drink a lot, and a war of ... more words there wouldnt do much good and they would kick your lilly ass.
0
0
Do you own things like electronics that have gold in them? An average desktop computer contains about 1/8th of an ounce of gold; an average laptop, about 1/10th to 1/12th of an ounce. How many tons of carbon has your vehicle emmitted while going fishing, just for fun, while at the same time talking to someone about how much you care about the enviornment? Are you a hypocrite? Oh, this is rich. I suppose ... more all the dredgers travel to their claims on foot or on their Segways. And run their pumps and compressors on solar power and biodiesel. Of course. Fact: dredging represents the most organic way of harvesting gold, which has already been freed from rock by mother nature. No, it's not. Perhaps you've heard of panning? I know a man that recently dredged four ounces in one day, in a hole about four feet across and four feet deep. Next time I see him I am going to congratulate him for saving the earth 1000 tons of destruction. He's done no such thing. Is that Indonesian mine going to halt operations and spare 1,000 tons of material because some hobbyist thousands of miles away happened to come up with 4 ounces on his claim? They don't care at all, and neither do their customers. If you really want to make a difference, buy only antique jewelry and encourage your friends and family to do the same.
0
0
I'll amuse you a bit more Tom. Hang on because I am going with the bigger picture here. It is called the lesser of two evils. The National Geographic January 2009 issue will do a lot to educate you, I suggest you take a peek. Your "not in my backyard" way of looking at resource harvesting leads to "big footprint mines" such as the Newmont Batu Hijau operation located in Indonesia, as seen on pages ... more 44 and 45. Three quarters of the worlds gold comes from these type of mines. This mine requires the removal of 250 tons of rock and ore to produce just one ounce of gold, enough for a typical wedding ring. Do you have a gold ring? Maybe you gave one to a somebody? Do you own things like electronics that have gold in them? Have you ever purchased something with gold plating on it? Stop to consiter how many tons of earth you have displaced, permanantly, in someone elses backyard. This is real. How many tons of carbon has your vehicle emmitted while going fishing, just for fun, while at the same time talking to someone about how much you care about the enviornment? Are you a hypocrite? Fact: dredging represents the most organic way of harvesting gold, which has already been freed from rock by mother nature. I know a man that recently dredged four ounces in one day, in a hole about four feet across and four feet deep. Next time I see him I am going to congratulate him for saving the earth 1000 tons of destruction. There was no waste. You support a style of mining that generates a huge amount of waste per ounce. I don't. I am happy to know that there are dredge miners with a clean method of operation providing those who care with a concious product. Todays dredge miners are akin to those who generate solar power, a little or a lot, and dump it into the supply so that all can benefit from the clean harvest of a needed natural resource. Tom, they might not make a big impact to you, but the Earth appreciates it. The studies have been done, and dredging would have been shut down a long time ago if it was as detrimental to the rivers as you claim. Come to grips with this. Are you a fish scientist? Did you go to school for this? Who is sponsoring this bill? An expert in the field? No. This is another good example of our legislative system being abused by people who have that "not in my backyard" way of thinking. And trust me, this Earth and its Rivers don't appreciate hypocrites fighting for them.
0
0
Inthe559: So I guess its cause they are poor that they need to pedal the salmon that they over fish it must be. Now you're suggesting the Karuk are overfishing salmon using handheld dip nets? Really?!
0
0
mercedriverfriend: Just remember that your life is supported by mining, and to rally against mining on a computer that is built with gold circuitry is hypocracy. That's an odd statement for someone with a grasp "of the facts." Recreational dredging produces exactly what percentage of the world's gold? And what percentage of the gold mined on the planet goes to computer use as opposed to uses like ... more jewelry? That I'd be labeled a hypocrite by someone for advocating suction dredge miners work under the same kind of restrictions almost every other water user is facing is amusing at best - the kind of "not in my backyard" logic that's tortured this thread from the beginning.
0
0
I hate to break it to you Andy, how ever you spell it they get a check in the mail every third month worth better then six thousand. So I guess its cause they are poor that they need to pedal the salmon that they over fish it must be. Every Indian tribe in this state that is recognized as a tribe that doesn't have a casino is subsidized.
0
0
I have worked in the field of Natural Resources my whole life. Pro-Enviornment, Pro-Dredging, based on the facts. In my opinion, the State of California owes miners for so effectively removing mercury from our State watershed (the studies have been in for a while). Just remember that your life is supported by mining, and to rally against mining on a computer that is built with gold circuitry is hypocracy. ... more It's just a "not in my backyard" way of thinking, unfortunately.
0
0
Inthe559: It is spelled Karuk and they do not have a casino.
0
0
I live in Truckee, CA and do my mining down in the Yuba river drainage. I had no idea the Kalamath was such a hot spot and battleground for the fishermen and the dredgers. From the outside looking in, it looks like a Hatfield v McCoy kind of situation where no one really remembers where the disagreements started, but it going gangbusters right now. As a dredger (and pretty new to the game) it appears ... more that someone needs to sit down and remind the dredgers that even though they own a mining claim, they cannot prevent egress onto the claim. The own the mineral rights and they cannot prevent someone from walking across the claim. I think education is the key to the problem. I'm a dredger and I have no idea what a redd is- after hearing you guys talk about them, I had to look it up on the internet. I wouldn't be against taking some sort of quick course on river ecology, so when I was interacting with the river, I would know what would be the most beneficial thing for me to do. So, if I saw a redd nest, I would know to move downstream and not bother it. I don't know if I am the average dredger, or if other more experienced dredgers know the ecology better than I do. I would be all for having some sort of educational opportunity if it were presented to me.
0
0
Kanman I don't think I have ever came acrossed a aggressive fishermen out there either. If I show up at my spot and someone is fishing I just leave that area and look for another where I will not be bothering anyone. And the fishermen I have seen after I was in my spot often wonder what I am doing we have a pleasant chat and we go our separate ways. I do feel that Andy is wrong when it come to the ... more Karok Indians though. There are the same people that tried to pedal me salmon in a grocery store parking lot on more then one occasion. I do feel they need to be regulated as well as dredging and fishing. Just because they became wealthy with the casinos doesn't mean they have developed a conscious or self-respect.
0
0
I wonder what the basis for the aggressive behavior is? Why would anyone be aggressive to a total stranger? I could understand if you too were aggressive, but I don't think I ever remember running into an aggressive fly fisherman. Well, for what its worth, you are welcome to come fly fishing on my claim. Its a pretty small creek (and getting smaller by the day) although I have seen a few very small ... more trout in it. And if you want to do some dredging with me, you are welcome to try it too. Kanman
0
0
KanMan: Is it a fair assumption that most of the negative interactions with miners has taken place on the Kalamath (or other salmon rivers)? No. It's ground zero for the habitat question, but I was threatened on the Yuba or Feather (can't remember which) and had a panner sic his dog on me right here on the Upper Sac.
0
0
Is it a fair assumption that most of the negative interactions with miners has taken place on the Kalamath (or other salmon rivers)?
0
0
Though I've been aggravated by the fact that dredge holes in the Klamath are a hazard to wading: you often can't see the hole until its too late, I've always realized I have to share the river so I turned the other cheek. Then there came the studies documenting the destruction dredges wreak on the instream invertibrates salmonoids depend on to grow strong, a particularly vexing issue in the Klamath ... more drainage. But everyone has an impact, including me, so I kept the other cheek turned. Then the "49er's" decided to file a petition to stop Karuk dip netting at Ishi Pishi Falls, something they'd been at for hundreds if not thousands of years. That was it, no more turning the other cheek, any group arrogant and self centered enough to file that petition doesn't deserve the other cheek. So now my attitude is: go dredge in your backyard. P.S. Salmon and steelies choose redds based on their own needs regarding flow, oxygen content, depth etc, not because some doofus with a giant vacume cleaner decided to make a hole in the bottom. Andy Marx
0
0
One quick request: Out of curiosity, on which rivers have you flyfishermen had issues with the dredgers threatening you? Just curious. Thanks for your insight. Kanman
0
0
More substance, fewer words. d
0
0
Thanks to this blog I am seeing more of the bigger picture. I am seeing things from the fishermen's point of view, but also I am seeing a lot of opportunity for misunderstanding between both parties. Believe it or not, probably a lot of the dredgers (myself included) are really good people who are enjoying either earning a living or perhaps it is just a hobby. There are people of all persuasions enjoying ... more dredging probably as much as you enjoy fishing. In most cases, I think that in the pursuit of doing what they do, they have concern for the environment and are feeling that they are being diligent by keeping a clean camp, cleaning up other's garbage in the river, and believe it or not, trying to work to cause a minimum disturbance to the river where they work. Sure, there are some brain-dead jerks, but I think for the most part a large group of these people get the same sort of enjoyment you get being out in the wilderness. By the nature of your reply, it is like you assume all dredgers are assholes. It is not the case. I can understand your issues with the noise. I feel the same when I see a lot of ski boats on a favorite lake, or motorcycles passing me by in a cloud of dust when I am mountain biking, or when the snowmobiles race around when I am back country skiing. It's a big world and there are a lot of diverging hobbies impacting all of our lives. Who am I to deny someone else's enjoyment of their hobby? It is annoying as hell, and it is a big issue, but in the big picture, do we outlaw every vocation that employs and engine in the wilderness? Fortunately most the engines used for dredging are pretty small and not too noisy- but any noise destroys the sounds of nature. Tough dilemma, I don't have an answer- maybe we look to find a better muffler system. No one stated that gold mining was a hobby. A lot of people enjoy it, but it is a very expensive enterprise. Public lands are used for a lot of business enterprises including cattle, farming, logging, ski resorts, and mineral exploration. A lot of raping a pillaging has occurred on public lands, and I think it is a disservice to the small-time dredgers to lump them into the stew with the corporate criminals who may have made literally billions off such access. We are talking several orders of magnitude difference here. An unfortunate byproduct of our country's pending bankruptcy may be the sell off of public lands into private hands at which point everything is a moot point. The self-entitlement thing- all I can say is not all dredgers have that air about them. Maybe they sense your loathing of them when you approach and that is their response. I don't know what to tell you, other than to say you sound like a very angry person. I am researching right now and looking for studies that support the angler's point of view, and to tell you the truth, I am not finding many that satisfy my curiosity. Part of the problem is that the studies are written for biologists and a lot of the terms used are outside of my vocabulary, so I have to make assumptions as to their conclusions. That being the case, I find that the studies only focus on the area being dredged and not the surrounding area's affects from the study area. In other words, of course there is disturbance in the immediate area, but just like pulling weeds from your lawn- in another week everything is encroaching again. And I guess the level of disturbance is based upon the scale of the operation. Where I am dredging, typically there is maybe one dredger for every mile or two, so the concentrations are low and the impact is insignificant. When I dredge my 6 foot diameter hole, there may be some impact to the invertebrates in the hole I am dredging and perhaps where the tailing pile is, but there is also another 1-2 miles of undisturbed river on either side of me. So my impact to the river is insignificant- like I have been stating- it would be much less than the impact to the river of a beach party on
0
0
I'm not flaming you. I'm asking you to see the bigger picture about this law and how you think the dredgers are completely innocent of any wrong doing to the environment. The attitudes reflected here amount to "well since others are doing it and I'm just one guy how big could my impact be?" Your not just one guy your an organization plus all the mom and pop's and loners. That adds up. You act obtuse ... more to the noise and disruption you cause to the peace people seek in nature. I could be fishing 25 yards from you all day and you'd never know it but I'm sure everyone within .5 a mile knows your there. This is not "recreation" it is for profit and public land is being exploited for private individuals to gain. It's just plain rude with an air of self-entitlement that makes me want to puke. As far as the other side of the story. I don't leave my flyrod sitting on the bank of public stream and expect it to be there when I return. That's just common sense.....take your gear home with you at night.....I do. And if you can't then that's a chance you take. Your asking for the other side's argument...watch the video. Do a search on cali conservation or suction dredge mining + environmental impact. The info is out there. Ya know thing that really gets me is that you gloat about protection under the law and taunt that fisherman have nothing. We have regulations that we realize are in place for the better of everyone involved. We accept and follow those regulations in hopes of helping the environment and leaving it better than we found it for the next person to enjoy.....can dredgers say the same? I'm not absolving fisherman from all wrong doing but your on a FLY FISHING blog and I'm pretty sure 99% of the guys that do this are not the fisherman breaking the rules.
0
0
Selfinflictedfunk- Hey, everyone's entitled to an opinion, but there is no need to flame me. I am just trying to get some sort of understanding of both sides of the argument. At first (I'll confess) I was a little aggressive, but some of the fly fishermen made some good points and I softened my approach. Now I am just trying to understand the root of the problem and maybe try to find some common ground ... more so we agree to disagree. Does anyone know of any websites that have compilations of all the pertinent studies that would describe both the pro and con conclusions to the impacts of suction dredging on the aquatic environments? The New 49'ers website has about 6 or 8 studies conducted from over the last 10 or so years offering the pro point of view. Where can I find studies that support the anti point of view? I'd like to see a site that offers up both so people who are sitting on the fence could go and make their own decisions as to which argument holds the most water. If I found out that my impact on the river was detrimental to the majority of the species living there, I would change the way I do things. But by having someone flame me, I am not encouraged to understand his point of view. By the way, I called a friend of mine who has had over 20 years of experience dredging and told him that perhaps some of the animosity the fishermen feel may be because of dredgers running them off their claims. My friend told me that probably the reason the miners ran them off their claim may have more to do with sabotage of equipment in the past than being just unfriendly. He said over the last 20 years he had been friendly to fishermen and others who sauntered onto his claim, yet often he would come down to the claim to find that his equipment had been destroyed by an unknown visitor and he has since become less welcoming. I guess there is two sides to every story.
0
0
Let me first start by saying to Tom I dont see how you miss took this for some kind of threat."that have sided up with the tree huggers will eventually have your throats cut by them and will be banned from the streams." It was a anology meaning that the first chance the Seirra club will be right there to help you out of the stream . Please I have seen the evidence of the studies brought forth by Kanman ... more , please let me see some of the evidence that you guys have to show me the facts. As for you Proffessor the way you come off I am sure you can educate me. You are right I probably wont win any spelling bee, or a english test. But if you would add a game of football and boxing match I know I have two of the four. As for living your whole life in the woods, what woods might we be talking about? I grew up in the Shasta/Trinity mountains what I know about salmon and trout didnt come from a book. Now I do live in the fresno area and have looked into why there isnt any salmon here. They stopped running up these streams some 70 years ago. Long before the average guy with a little dredge even came along. I still maintain that dams are the biggest contributing factor to the demise of the salmon. I even feel there are little if any native trout living below dams anymore. When I say native need trout that born from totally wild non-man raised fish. I even feel that the hardiest salmon were the ones that ran way back into the back country to spawn and the dams stripped them from the gene pool. I am not unresonable, if studies showed that I empacted these fish during spawning I would gladly stay out of the water. But why should we be banned from the streams while F&G fools around milking the taxpays with a study. I mean I wished someone else here would acknolege the our fish and game in this state are failures compared with what other states have done, and are doing. I would also like to address the native american issue. What I am telling you happened the last time eight years ago. And it happened numerous times before. These tribes net the salmon wholesale, they need to be regulated. Every time I have been in Yreka during the time of the run I have natives trying to sell me salmon in the parking lot. This also has happened to me in Klamath Falls and also on the coast near Cresent City. They are a problem, they are killing the factory for little fish. They didnt net more then they needed 150 years ago, but today it a gross waste of fish. I dont have a claim anywhere, but have dredge with my friend a few places. Even in a place where we see lots of people along the trail. We dont try to run anyone out, we explain to them what we are doing and show them. Most people have never seen gold in its nature state. Now if you came down and came at me like obnoxious motors and you are ruining the streams I would probably get out and try a little of who ever it maybe honor on. While stating that I would never come down to a stream where someone is fishing and start dredging. I understand not everyone wants to here a small engine running. I would go someplace else out of earshot. At the same time if I was there first and some fisherman got all loud after arriving after me I would have something to say about that. Just like if I was hiking up the trail fishing and some miner got all stupid about a claim that he owns the mineral rights to I would probably stick the claim stake up his ass.
0
0
I consider myself a conservationist; and I'm an avid Fly fisher. In my youth, (before the Fly-fishing bug struck me) my most favorite hobby was Placer Mining/Dredging. I did it for about 8 years, all over Northern California. It was a lot of very hard work. I never made much money at it; but that wasn't the goal. It was a labor of hope. It was also the most fascinating education in trout behavior ... more that I ever had. As someone with FIRST-HAND experience under the water with the nozzle in my hand, I can tell you that trout LOVED it. In fact, after a long day of unproductive dredging, I can remember taking off my wet suit and joking about a great day of ‘Feeding the Fish'. Let me explain… Once while dredging my way down to bedrock I had created about an eight foot deep hole. I was practically standing on my head, since I hadn't taken the time to remove a larger area of material (rocks and sand) because I was in such a hurry to reach bedrock. I emerged from my hole to rest for a while and got quite a shock. There must have been 400 trout swimming around me! I had stirred up so much food for the fish that they were gorging themselves on hellgrammites and various larvas. I'd created my own hatch! No, I'm not a scientist; but neither are most of the people involved in this issue! Here is what I can tell you from personal experience. (We should be listening to people with experience, don't you think?) While dredging, there are primarily three things that affect the fish in a positive way: 1. You are creating deep holes that trout will use as soon as you've gone, to keep them cool when water temperatures rise. 2. You are putting a lot of food into the water column. 3. The rocks that fall off the sluice box and back into the water (called tailing piles) are free of silt and provide great habitat for juvenile fish to escape predators. Furthermore, dredgers are not putting anything in the water that wasn't there already. Yes, I'm referring to the law-abiding dredgers, the ones that don't spill gasoline. In my opinion, there's a hell of a lot more poachers and polluters than clumsy dredgers. As far as dirt goes - a good rain will dirty-up a river much more than dredging ever does. I know this issue at hand is about salmon and not trout. Obviously allowing dredging when eggs are present is not good for salmon (or any other fish species that you want to thrive). But that's why there are laws, people! Yes - there are specific seasons for dredging. My opinion is: 1. If those seasons need to be adjusted – do it! 2. If certain critical habitat should be off limits – so be it. Our Salmon are more important that our hobbies. I'm just sick and tired of the assumption that many people make that ‘everything that humans do is evil and detrimental to the environment!' I realize I don't have a PhD; but can we wait to pass judgment until more data exists? And when that data emerges, I hope it will be tempered with common-sense input from people representing ALL interests. How many times has the ‘popular science of the day' proved to be a load of crap years down the road? Sadly our scientific community is full of corruption because of the way grant money is doled out. It has turned many scientists into whores – getting into whatever position you pay them to…
0
0
KanMan: Selfinflictedfunk- I think you are getting dredgers and corporate mining companies confused. Corporate mining companies (I believe) are not interested in dredging. The gold isprobably too sporadic and they probably cannot do it on a big enough scale to make it profitable. Most suction dredge operations are mom and pop enterprises with a capital investment of maybe up to $20K. The mom and pops, ... more have souls- big corporations have boards of directors who demand big bottom lines- I think this is a big difference between the two. To my knowledge, the only lobbyists representing the suction dredgers are: attorneys for the new 49′ers and also for Public Lands for the People (which I believe has a staff of one). PLP gets funding from raffles and sales of gold nuggets and belt buckles- we are not talking about any well funded organization here. And from what I can gather, the attorneys for each organization don't necessarily work together, so in some cases, they may also be battling each other, while battling the anti-dredging forces. Butagain, I am not involved in the mechanics of what is going on with the lobbying, so my opinion should hold no sway on what anyone thinks. The dredgers as a whole are a very low budget group (mom and pop operations) and the big miners aren't probably interested in helping out because if the small dredgers get run off their claims, the big guys could (possibly) come in and scoop them up for grins (who knows?). But I know for a fact that the big miners have no interest in helping out the mom and pop suction dredgers. These are your words........ "One final point. The 1872 mining law states that US citizens have a Federally mandated Right to mine on their claims. The states can regulate the Federal law, but they cannot deny it. There will be a lot of Federal lawsuits after this law passes and it ought to get interesting. I somehow missed the part of the Federal register that also mandated the right to fish. Obviously an oversight on my part." When you offer that your actions are protected by law and that law protects the same men you claim to protest and don't wish to be associated with then I can think nothing more than that you are a confused hypocrite. You pollute the water with fuel spills and oil spills (don't claim they don't happen)....you pollute the air with poorly tuned motors spewing emissions......you pollute with noise.......you do it on public land and you profit from this and you have the nerve to get snide about being protected by law and then you claim to want to sit down and talk it out?......Really? Now we are to be some bleeding hearts and feel pity for you because your just a small group of "mom and pop" operations? Mom and Pop don't pull guns on people and run people off the water.....public water at that. Greedy pricks do that.......big corporation with board meetings or you at your kitchen table your profits come at the expense of all of us and something much larger environmentally than all of you. So you'll have to excuse me if I lump you in with the rest of the martians but your attitude and defense leaves me no choice. This law you claim a stake to is destroying WVa. You think this is just about a few people in a stream when in reality it is enormous and far reaching. Hiding behind this law has ruined countless species and thousands of square miles of land, rivers and streams. Whole mountains, streams and valleys gone.....gone. You ever watch a mountain disappear and the surrounding landscape die? They will move 24 million tons of material to remove 4 million tons of coal. But hey it's fast and more profitable so why not, right? Like why pan when I could dredge......maybe I should just use a 50ft. fishing net instead of a fly rod.....I mean it is faster and the returns are greater....after all I'm not out here in mother na
0
0
Selfinflictedfunk- I think you are getting dredgers and corporate mining companies confused. Corporate mining companies (I believe) are not interested in dredging. The gold is probably too sporadic and they probably cannot do it on a big enough scale to make it profitable. Most suction dredge operations are mom and pop enterprises with a capital investment of maybe up to $20K. The mom and pops, have ... more souls- big corporations have boards of directors who demand big bottom lines- I think this is a big difference between the two. To my knowledge, the only lobbyists representing the suction dredgers are: attorneys for the new 49'ers and also for Public Lands for the People (which I believe has a staff of one). PLP gets funding from raffles and sales of gold nuggets and belt buckles- we are not talking about any well funded organization here. And from what I can gather, the attorneys for each organization don't necessarily work together, so in some cases, they may also be battling each other, while battling the anti-dredging forces. But again, I am not involved in the mechanics of what is going on with the lobbying, so my opinion should hold no sway on what anyone thinks. The dredgers as a whole are a very low budget group (mom and pop operations) and the big miners aren't probably interested in helping out because if the small dredgers get run off their claims, the big guys could (possibly) come in and scoop them up for grins (who knows?). But I know for a fact that the big miners have no interest in helping out the mom and pop suction dredgers. Professor- You sound like a good guy. I too, donate tons of time to a local environmental group advocating sustainability and as such if I were convinced I was destroying the habitat of the stream dwellers where I worked, I too would stop tomorrow. But as of this moment, I am not convinced. This whole topic appears on the surface to be cut and dried, but as you delve deeper it gets more and more convoluted (as evidenced by both the discussion on this forum and the animosity shown by both groups towards each other) I'm not so sure how to bury the animosity between disagreeing parties. Part of the problem on the miner's side, is there really isn't any sort of mining association that covers all the miners. There are a few regional mining clubs, but no overseeing authority. Everyone is pretty much an independent agent. What I'd like to see is representative from all the interested parties get together at some sort of "congress" to sit down and air out issues. It sounds like everyone is looking towards the DFG to offer solutions and perhaps the DFG doesn't want that responsibility. It would appear that if they did, this simmering issue would have been solved a long time ago. I don't think it would be too hard to come up with some sort of "stream-side environmental protocols" that would either be issued with permits or perhaps there would be some sort of training class that would be a prerequisite for getting maybe both fishing licenses and dredging permits. Perhaps it would be a day long class that would inform the day use users of the public lands what are the expected protocols and procedures to ensure minimal damage to the in-stream habitat in the course of their daily activities. Perhaps through education the day users could learn and discuss techniques to both perform their labors while at the same time minimizing their impact to the outdoor environment. Having rules isn't good enough- people need to learn the reasons behind the rules to ensure that all of the users of the outdoor spaces become better stewards of our limited resources. The only way I think this thing can be ironed out is by having both sides of the issue work together to come up with protocols that everyone feels good about.
0
0
Here's a link for contributions made by mining lobbiest https://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.php?ind=E04++&goButt2.x=11&goButt2.y=7&goButt2=Submit
0
0
KanMan: —”In truth, recreational miner groups have fought even the tiniest reform of regulations. If you're going to fight sensible reform of regulations, then at least recognize the reality that it'll be less fun when Fish & Game is forced to do its job – in a legally charged climate.”— I don't profess to be at all politically connected with any miner's group, so I may not be towing the ... more party line here, but the mining “lobby” is avery loose knit of individuals and (to my knowledge) has very limited fundingand representation at any legislative level- hell, just look at how effective the anti- dredging lobby has so effectively filled the airwaves with only their point of view. You NEVER see any PR materials from the pro-dredgers other than occasional forum posts. Please inform me how the pro mining groups have fought any of the tiniest forms of regulations. With an obvious lack of any political power, I find it difficult that the miners could fight much of anything at this point.Kanman I would suggest you read more and know who is representing the umbrella of Law you hide under........the mining industry spent 10 millions dollars just in Alaska to kill ballot measure #4. That hardly sounds like a few debunk groups holding a rally at the town hall. You see this is much bigger than just a couple of guys on a stream with a dredger. While your at it look into the gifts for Sarah Palin and her family during this vote...take special note of the corruption.
0
0
KanMan, I'm only going off of your statement that “In my mind I keep wondering why the fishermen don't see the more obvious definitely more permanent impacts to the environment (industrial pollution, agriculture pollution, etc)". That doesn't sound like you are pleading ignorance to me. That sounds like you are making a pretty confident statement that the fishing community is only targeting suction ... more dredgers. And, for evidence to the contrary it only takes a wee bit of snooping around to find out what the fly angling community is up to. Look around this website or any other blog dealing with fly fishing. Cal Trout, California Fly Fisher and Trout Unlimited are also good places to visit if you are interested in what the fly angling world is up to by way of conservation. Currently, in my home town we are working to remove dams, mitigate cattle damage and get power companies on board to restore salmon runs to our tiny creek running through town. Why? Not because we just want to hook fish but because we understand the intrinsic value of wild salmon in their native habitat and we'd like to find a way to restore them to their historic runs and make our town a little prettier. At their core fly anglers are conservationists. If you told me I couldn't fish my favorite stream with lead split shot because you had empirical data that showed me it was damaging the fish habitat - I'd gladly quit. In fact there are months at a time that I cannot fish a favorite stream because wading could (not does, but could) damage redds. I have no complaint with that.
0
0
This 1872 Law causes more pollution that can be counted. I'd suggest that the dredgers go read about mountain top removal (especially in KY and WVa) and the destruction it causes then come back and tell me they need protected. Also look into the exploitation of this law by the Bush administration. If your gonna use a Law that protects this sort of thing then you have to be expected to be targeted ... more as well. If your gonna jump in bed with a whore don't be surprised when you get VD.
0
0
Professor- As I noted earlier- I am not a fisherman, nor do I follow what the fisherman community has been doing to improve the water quality, so I will plead ignorance. If you are policing the environment on all these other angles, my hat is off to your community. As a dredger who is new to this whole political fisherman/dredger confrontation, it is just that I have never heard any other reason for ... more the decline of the fish publicly stated by the environmental community blaming anyone other than the suction dredgers. Please excuse me, but I was having great difficulty wrapping my head around how the fishermen could so narrow minded by only focusing the on the dredgers, yet there were many more (more obvious ) reasons. For someone new to the argument, I am also having difficulty about the impacts on the dredging on the aquatic community, especially after reading quite a few state mandated studies which only came up with conclusions stating that at worst, there "may" be impacts on the aquatic environments. Numerous studies, mind you. What do the fishermen know that the experts who ran the studies didn't? Maybe everyone needs to sit down in the same room and try to get on the same page. There really doesn't need to be this angry animosity between both groups when perhaps open lines of communication may be the simple way to solve all the problems.
0
0
Actually, Tom I am not trying to piss anyone off here. I just decided to use your forum to raise a discussion with you since you seemed level-headed guy from the fishermen's point of view. --- "On public lands, I have been threatened by a miner and been attacked by another miner's dog, and seen firsthand the just-above water “test” holes and the bankside moonscapes (all due to a mining law that ... more should have been revoked a century ago), but I've been clear – the legislation in question is about updating the regulations surrounding suction dredge mining to minimize impacts on habitat." --- I'm sorry you have been threatened. On my part of my river, all the other miners I have met have been quite cordial. I'm not really sure what can be done about the aggressive behavior other than maybe some sort of yearly reminder sent out to the miners to remind them that they only enjoy the mineral rights to the property and others do have the other rights to the property too. I don't think there is any argument that you feel that there should be a revision of the regulations. What I don't understand is why you feel that the industry needs to be shut down indefinitely until new regs are considered. I assume the fishing lobby has approached the DFG in regards to creating stricter regulations? And what has been their response? Do you feel that there is some sort of conspiracy (and I don't mean to use this word in a negative sense) between the DFG and the dredgers to ignore the concerns of the fishermen? Why do you think the DFG is reluctant to impose stricter regulations, if (as you suggest) it is intuitively obvious there is a big problem here? I am not baiting you here, as I truly want to understand why the DFG has not responded to your requests. --"Even the studies that suction dredge miners wrongly suggest show no impacts to waterways make it clear that insect populations don't recover for 3-5 months after dredging, and while that may not seem like a long time, it's a very long time for fish." ---- I could possibly see how you could see that point of view. What you may be missing here, is that a dredger typically doesn't move from bank to bank in the dredging process. So maybe we disturb a community of insects in our 6 foot wide hole we are dredging, but the distance between me and another dredger is no less than a mile- so community of invertebrates may be disturbed in a 6 foot diameter hole on a mile long stretch of river. Do you really (honestly) think that makes a big difference in the big picture? As soon as I stop dredging that day, do you not think that the invertebrates would immediately start to re-colonize the area? It isn't exactly like the entire area for hundreds of yards around has been affected. I would suggest that a group of people frolicking in the water at a favorite swimming hole may provide more (and more prolonged) disturbance to the invertebrate community along any stretch of river. ---"Multiply that by multiple passes by miners in one section of river (a reality in recreational groups like the new 49ers) – perhaps one where salmon fry are trying to rear – and the impacts should be obvious." ---Personally, I am unfamiliar with the whole New 49'er crowd, so I have no experience with the impacts on the river that they have. From what I have read in the mining forums, they appear to be families out sharing mining claims- but beyond that, I have no experience. And if that is the case where the same parts of the river are canvassed over and over again, then yes, maybe there should be some sort of containment process. But the New 49'ers represent a very small sub-section of the dredging community in the state of California. And on private claims, canvassing the river provides no benefit. ---"2. Suction dredge mining groups are fighting to oppose dam removal, water rights and habitat renovation projects in the northern end of the state" --- why would dredgers care about dam removals? or any of the
0
0
"My guess is that the rally of all the fishermen against dredgers isn't as much about dredging the redd beds (although that may be a small part of the issue and should definitely be addressed in specific instances) as it is about “obnoxious motors and angry attitudes”. You're right, it isn't just about redds. I rarely if ever fish salmon water. I do fish lots of back country trout streams and ... more the displacement of gravel and the clouding of the river with debris, remnant (dormant?) mercury and such KILLS FISH FOOD. Plain and simple. It destroys aquatic insects and their habitat. If you want to convince yourself that it is all about the annoying generators and the aggressive attitudes of many (not all I'll agree, but one gun pointed in your direction is enough), then go right ahead. BTW how many fly fishers have turned their dogs on you or threatened you to stay the f*** off their water or else? Probably none I'm guessing. "In my mind I keep wondering why the fishermen don't see the more obvious definitely more permanent impacts to the environment (industrial pollution, agriculture pollution, etc) and apparently focusing only on the suction dredgers and not the more obvious polluters- but ultimately the main reason is the noise and attitude issue." Really? You're serious here? Fly fishermen and women have lead the charge against pollution in our precious waterways for decades. California Trout and Trout Unlimited as well as numerous local groups have done more by the way of protecting fish and their environs than any other group. You cannot honestly believe that the rallying against suction dredging you are witnessing is because we fly anglers just have it out for you. Please, in case you haven't been paying attention, there are also irrepsonsible power companies, logging outfits, corporate water companies, cattle farmers, and oh yes, the state and federal governments that we have taken on and continue to do so. Suction dredging is just one more and now that there is a glimmer of hope, one that we hope will be adequately addressed.
0
0
KanMan: With all the discussion that has ensued throughout this thread, I think the main irritation and possibly the impetus of the whole suction dredge banning may be contained within the previous sentence. I'm calling bullshit. You've tried to provoke that response in almost every comment you've made here, and the idea that "all" the fishermen are rallying against mining is a classic faux-victim ... more statement. I think it's important to note that I've provided a forum for miners to make their case, and with two exceptions, almost every commenter has included some kind of name calling or slur. And I've refrained from relating my own experiences with suction dredge miners, even as as several commentors made what appear to be absolute rubbish statements about the concerns of most miners for the environment. On public lands, I have been threatened by a miner and been attacked by another miner's dog, and seen firsthand the just-above water "test" holes and the bankside moonscapes (all due to a mining law that should have been revoked a century ago), but I've been clear - the legislation in question is about updating the regulations surrounding suction dredge mining to minimize impacts on habitat. It's really that simple. Fly fishermen are rallying to see suction dredge mining's regulations updated because it makes perfect sense to do so, and because all the streams and rivers we've already worked so hard to protect and renovate deserve just that kind of consideration. Even the studies that suction dredge miners wrongly suggest show no impacts to waterways make it clear that insect populations don't recover for 3-5 months after dredging, and while that may not seem like a long time, it's a very long time for fish. Multiply that by multiple passes by miners in one section of river (a reality in recreational groups like the new 49ers) - perhaps one where salmon fry are trying to rear - and the impacts should be obvious. Further, I guess I'm fed up with the name-calling and avoidance of the real issues. Several have suggested that people are "scapegoating" suction dredge miners when they should be focusing on dams and water issues, which is a laughable assertion based on the following: 1. Coldwater fisheries groups are leading the fight against dam-related slamon failures 2. Suction dredge mining groups are fighting to oppose dam removal, water rights and habitat renovation projects in the northern end of the state In truth, recreational miner groups have fought even the tiniest reform of regulations. If you're going to fight sensible reform of regulations, then at least recognize the reality that it'll be less fun when Fish & Game is forced to do its job - in a legally charged climate.
0
0
Can't you guys read? Suction dredging creates redds, it doesn't destroy them. What is a redd, after all, but a circular depression in the river bottom where something, some force of nature, either moved the sediment gently aside in a dreamy dance of genetics a million generations old...or sucked it up in a hose. So what if the typical trout redd is about a foot across...those trout need to learn to ... more do it right, so we're making much better redds. Eight to ten feet is about right. If they don't like it, they can just go spawn someplace else. I hear France has a nationalized program. Trout and salmon reproduction is simple and straightforward, and suction dredging helps it. It's obvious. Trout that still want to create their own redds are a drag upon the species, and the sooner they're trained to use the nice big clean ones we make, the better. Put yourself in the trout's position. What would you rather do: take reproductive matters into your own hands in your own time and place, or have somebody appear suddenly, raze your home, fill the air with toxic chemicals and muck, and urge you to get conceivin' in the crater? That's no way to keep things organized. Oh, and because I said so. Oh, and I killed a trout one time, so y'all can kill all you want, because it's all equal. Same is true with mining rights. They is what they is, the law is the law. Some folks just have the rights, and others don't. We all get access to the resource. You go fishing and drop a candy wrapper; I turn your river into a murky toxic sink of heavy metals and cyanide. We're even; next time, you can go first. Unless I do. I have lawyers, you see, and they talk to judges, and then the judges rulz. That's the american way, so long as it comes out the way I want it to, because I'm an American and I have a way. All you have is legislators and governments! Take that, fools! Oh, and I hate judicial activism, because it's unamerican. And I hate science, because it has the unamerican effect of changing what people think, and what I think is what I believe. The congruence between what I think, what I want, and what I know in my bones to be right is the coincidence of the American dream descending upon my shoulders, carried gently by white angl0-saxon angels with long, beautifully styled hair. Mantra of the dredgers: Suck, baby suck! Suck here, suck now! ice
0
0
"Finally, irregardless of the environmental damage caused by suction dredging is the overwhelming annoyance it is. It's loud and obnoxious and despite what you say here, populated by many a person who believes it is his or her god-given right to be there." With all the discussion that has ensued throughout this thread, I think the main irritation and possibly the impetus of the whole suction dredge ... more banning may be contained within the previous sentence. I can appreciate that when you are out in the wilderness, you want some peace and quiet- especially when fly fishing. And in all honesty, if I weren't so enthusiastic about the enjoyment I get from dredging, I too would probably complain about the noise. As far as the "end of the road" mentality, I'm not so sure you can legislate that away- not to mention, this banning regulation may cause further irritation by the "end of the road" guys. Unfortunately, there are jerks wherever you go, and I'd like to suggest that most of the dredgers I have met have been nice family people. Personally, I enjoy hiking and cross country skiing out in the wilderness to get away from everything, and I also display disappointment when I find my quiet solitude has been disturbed by an errant four wheeler, atv'er or snowmobiler. But, alas they somehow feel they also have the same right to be out in the country as I and I just try to go somewhere where I probably won't find them. As the world grows smaller and smaller due to many hobbyists with their chosen venue, the rest of us (I guess) must adapt to the intrusion or search out areas which don't draw that sort of person. My guess is that the rally of all the fishermen against dredgers isn't as much about dredging the redd beds (although that may be a small part of the issue and should definitely be addressed in specific instances) as it is about "obnoxious motors and angry attitudes". In my mind I keep wondering why the fishermen don't see the more obvious definitely more permanent impacts to the environment (industrial pollution, agriculture pollution, etc) and apparently focusing only on the suction dredgers and not the more obvious polluters- but ultimately the main reason is the noise and attitude issue. But unfortunately you cannot ban an industry due to noise and attitudes, so maybe the mercury and fish thing is the excuse for what is really behind this. As others have mentioned previously, I think it would be much more productive if all the people who have issues about all the stuff mentioned above just sat down with each other and worked out a viable agreement to address as much of each others concerns as possible. By having the disagreeing parties running to the govt to try to legislate a solution usually ends up with more problems than were initially noted.
0
0
"So all of the flatlanders should educate themselves before passing judgement and you will look like less of a fool to the people with the facts." Classic argument: call those who support reasoned, scientifically-backed regulation of a damaging, antiquated practice 'flatlanders.' Yes, of course, we are all from SF and belong to the Sierra Club and we just want to make the mountains our personal playground. ... more I've lived in the mountains my entire life and have fished, hunted and enjoyed them. I'm also educated and can spell and write. You will look like less of a fool if you can learn to do the same. "Have you ever been in the water while someone is suction mining? I will go with no because every fish with in 50 yards is right there sniping these poor little creatures." Yes I have and have no doubt, having been an angler my entire life, that suction dredging not only produces undesirable conditions for spawning, it kills and disrupts the fragile aquatic insect habitat that fish survive on. Simply because fish eat what is dredged up by the suction does not mean it is good for them. It destroys aquatic insects and their habitat. Simple as that. "Just think, if each licensed fisherman just caught (and kept) just one fish in a season, then that would account for over 2 million fish killed in each season within the confines of the state. My guess is that in the course of a year, the really good fishermen catch many multiples of the single fish, yet they wonder where all the fish went. Maybe if the DFG posted a limit on fishing licenses, some of the numbers of fish would come back." Actually, those of us who regularly fish streams that have been regulated by the DFG (because of the work of fly angling groups like Cal Trout and TU) in order to protect fish (by limiting limits and permissible tactics) do not wonder where the fish have gone at all. Streams that fly anglers have worked so hard to get regulations on have the highest fish counts around and support healthy, wild fish. Furthermore, using single, barbless hooks and practicing catch-and-release limits the kill rate to almost nothing. I can say with certainty that I have gone entire seasons without killing a single fish. And, to further discredit our lucid friend from Fresno, if 2 million of us are purchasing fishing licenses at around 40 bucks a pop, that's 80 million to - as you put it, - butter DFG's bread. Nothing to sneeze at methinks. Finally, irregardless of the environmental damage caused by suction dredging is the overwhelming annoyance it is. It's loud and obnoxious and despite what you say here, populated by many a person who believes it is his or her god-given right to be there. And they will tell you so without reservation (I have had guns waved in my direction) and with well-articulated signs and sometimes even 'dwellings'. I know there's a law from 1872 that is more entrenched in our government than a tick on a dog, but that is a law that's time has long gone. No person has the right to claim a section of a navigable river as their own and do with it what they want, including chasing off hikers, anglers and passersby.
0
0
William H.: As a current student of agricultural and biological sciences at UC Davis, who has taken more than a few classes regarding California's environmental crises, I can say with complete certainty that I have never once heard a professor attribute declining salmon populations to suction dredge mining. That is, they consider the practice insignificant in its environmental impact in comparison ... more to other, infinitely more damaging factors. Consider taking a few logic & philosophy classes then, because what you've uncorked is the mother of all strawmen. Nobody's attributing the decline of the salmon entirely to dredge mining, but then again, nobody's attributing it to sport fishermen either, and yet we're largely not allowed to catch salmon either. Any biologist should know the salmon are suffering from a variety of issues - dams, water quality, water flows, habitat losses, etc - and suction dredging their spawning habitat is just one impact that needs to be regulated. It's just that simple. Have any of your professors suggested that suction dredging just prior or after the spawn would have an insignificant effect on that area's salmon? No? Do you think - with "complete certainty" - they'd advocate for responsible updates to outdated, unworkable regulations?
0
0
It seems to me that the opponets of the recreation dredgers have no problem with just shutting it down ,Many times uve said we need a study to prove or disprove what effects suction dredging has on fish ...well there has been a number of studies (as mentioned by kanman) and these were preformed by what is to be considered "Top Notch " people right? Their reports say there is no negative impact. That ... more being said, as a dredger ,I am just like every dredger I've met, very concious of what I do in streams or rivers, I've removed countless amounts of debris including lead,broken glass ,rusty iron, broken fishing poles ,and yes even needles, I dont know who left them or how it got there. The fact is I'm sure they aren't healthy for the fish ,or the rafters, or fisherman who use the waters , what I do know is when I'm done - that stuff isn't there. I, like every prospecter I know (who are many) take these items home and throw them away and to the people who read this and say I'm full of B.S. just watch any dredger and you'll see. What you don't seem to understand is the modern prospector has a great appreaction for the rivers and streams we work in I am also a fisherman , hunter and an outdoorsman you could say I'm even an environmentalist, weather I'm dredging fishing or hunting if I see trash I will pick it up. These efforts come from the time I've spent underwater , because thats when you relize everything that's on the shoreline will wind up on the bottom of the river. Now Im not gonna sit here and get into a pissing match with these other "Outdoorsman" but I don't see fisherman filling their tackle boxes with other peoples trash and I'm certain there not gonna lift a rock to get a rusty beer can or unwind 20 feet of monofiliment that's in the stream. Also the question has been asked why we're so rigid on our stance . It's because we know that when we just lay down our liberal leaders will NOT stop untill all is taken from us. Yes, including fishing ! Just ask yourself how many thousands of miles of offroad trails have been shut down ....Humm. If the actions of dredgers need to be changed as to not interfere with the spawn of the fish that inhabit a particular stream , by all means let's figure it out . We can't let Sacramento or Washington dictate how we enjoy what precious lands we have left. Were all supposed to be on the same side. If this issue divides us, we will all lose.
0
0
*correct version of the the last sentance above...oops* "Our precious salmon's true enemies are the cities' and farmers' pumps, pollution, and dams."
0
0
As a current student of agricultural and biological sciences at UC Davis, who has taken more than a few classes regarding California's environmental crises, I can say with complete certainty that I have never once heard a professor attribute declining salmon populations to suction dredge mining. That is, they consider the practice insignificant in its environmental impact in comparison to other, infinitely ... more more damaging factors. What could possibly be more damaging than churning up a few cubic yards of riverbed per weekend of recreational dredging? How about hundreds of sheer walls of earth and concrete plugging up our many salmon rivers... Couple our plethora of insurmountable walls with excessive water diversions from our extensive network of reservoirs and you have most of the story as to why salmon populations have been in steady decline. Declining water quality has also been blamed for the significant crash in salmon populations, especially in the delta. For example, UC Davis Professor David Ostratch published a study that blamed damaging levels of pollutants from fertilizers, pesticides, and industrial chemicals for some of the damage to delta fish populations*. My point is, suction dredging is just a scapegoat for our salmon crisis. Banning suction dredging will not make any appreciable impact on salmon populations as it is essentially irrelevant in the big picture. Our precious salmon's true enemies are the cities' and farmers' pumps, pollution, and dams up rivers however, are the real problem to be addressed *http://www.pnas.org/search?fulltext=David+Ostrach&submit=yes
0
0
Hey Tom- its good we actually see eye to eye. I don't profess to be terribly up to date on fishing as you are. --"In truth, suction dredge mining won't be damaging in some streams, but – like sustainable, responsible logging – it probably won't allowed in the most sensitive habitats." -- personally, I think that is a very fair and rational statement- personally, I would be all for limiting dredging ... more in sensitive spawning areas (or at least limiting the time of year for dredging if the spawning extended past the beginning of dredge season). -- " And what's being overblown is that the moratorium is temporary until F&G gets the (now funded) EIR done. If mining proponents had taken a more reasonable approach when earlier legislation was proposed, then we wouldn't be facing our current mess." -- I also agree with your first sentence, but I don't quite understand the second sentence. I personally have not been involved with the whole debate for its entirety, so I don't know what you mean by "mining proponents had taken a more reasonable approach" - what in your eyes would have been more reasonable? As I understand it (and I admit I may not have a full understanding of the whole picture) the DFG sets the rules and the dredgers abide by them. If there is an issue with the rules, why do the dredgers have to suffer? Shouldn't the DFG make changes and move things forward? Why does everything have to immediately stop as we wait for yet another EIR report? Please enlighten me. In all honesty I could see your last missive as written by me. In a round about way, maybe we agree somewhere in the middle. My biggest issue is I have done nothing wrong; I am very conscientious, I am careful with the environment, clean up other's messes, I don't dredge in a creek where there are salmon, and there is no mercury in my creek- what I don't understand is why I am being singled out with a blanket "you cannot dredge again" (or until our bankrupt state ever gets funding again). In the fishermen's eyes it would be a similar bill stating that due to the lack of salmon returning all fishing is put off until the bankrupt state of California comes up with a new study. The big issue for me is the bankrupt state of California. The funding issue may take literally years to resolve- so whether or not there is a deleterious effect to the fish, the whole thing is shut down. Tom, in essence I accept and appreciate your last post and I appreciate the ability you have to see our side of the issue. You definitely have your own beliefs on the subject, but your comments taken by stepping back and recognizing the big picture are appreciated by me. Thank you. Kanman
0
0
Bjorn: Tom… you = Ruling.You manage not to get drawn into a yelling match, as I probably would.Love reading your stuff because it's well thought out and values the same stuff I do.Keep it up. There's no need for yelling, yet this is one of those issues that always heads that way. In truth, suction dredge mining won't be damaging in some streams, but - like sustainable, responsible logging - it probably ... more won't allowed in the most sensitive habitats. And what's being overblown is that the moratorium is temporary until F&G gets the (now funded) EIR done. If mining proponents had taken a more reasonable approach when earlier legislation was proposed, then we wouldn't be facing our current mess. Instead, it was a lot of fairly extreme rhetoric and intensive, no-compromises lobbying, and as a result, nothing was done. Now it's going to happen the hard way - even for those who are using suction dredges in relatively responsible ways/places. I see similar trials ahead for the responsible users of ATVs. It's possible as few as 20% of ATV users are causing the majority of the problems (including a significant amount of illegal use), but an unwillingness to acknowledge the problem (industry advertising often highlights fairly damaging use of ATVs) means the backlash is going to be bigger rather than smaller.
0
0
Tom... you = Ruling. You manage not to get drawn into a yelling match, as I probably would. Love reading your stuff because it's well thought out and values the same stuff I do. Keep it up.
0
0
Inthe559: Maybe you shouldnt read anymore from miners but your an idiot. You sorry excuses for outdoorsmen that have sided up with the tree huggers will eventually have your throats cut by them and will be banned from the streams. Nice. This offers a tasty side dish to the main course - the barely coherent threat I received via email from an anonymous (presumably) miner. It's impressive how often ... more the discourse on this topic devolves to the level of name calling and threat.
0
0
KanMan: “First, you suggest you've never killed a fish. That's a classic red herring – this isn't about killing adult fish.” Actually, adult fish are kind of important, aren't they? After all, without adult fish, there would not be any offspring. And isn't the current issue about lack of salmon noted on the west coast referring to adult fish? This kind of non-sequitur boggles the mind. It's simple. ... more This is about habitat and the impacts of suction dredge mining on that habitat. Your repeated focus on fishermen killing fish is specious; fishing is regulated and limits are set based on biological studies. Have you noticed that there are no salmon fishermen this year (or last)? That's because emergency regulations - based on science - were instituted to maintain whatever population is left. Limits on trout and other species are similarly managed. And of course, few fly fishermen kill fish (as if that mattered), and coldwater conservation organizations have done more to protect riparian habitat and riparian habitat than almost any other group. You can point your finger at all the other factors contributing to the decline of salmon populations, but then raise the classic strawman that somehow suction dredge mining is being singled out. The reason this is happening is because the suction dredge mining lobby has worked to prevent any review or changes to existing regulations or studies relating to its impacts on salmon habitat. Nobody has said that suction dredge mining is the sole reason that salmon are disappearing, yet you repeatedly raise that assertion as if it were true. It's a strawman. You even provide the perfect support for my contention: but I also follow the dredging regulations put in place by the DFG and they tell me that by the last weekend in May (if I were dredging on a creek that had salmon) the redds would not be an issue. But talk to me…. are there similar restrictions on rafters, and other fishermen who also disturb those same beds? Here's the ugly truth: May isn't late enough in the season to protect spawning fish populations, yet fish & game hasn't updated its regulations to reflect that reality - especially in areas where multiple species of salmon, steelhead, and other species spawn (and not at all once). And the idea that rafters or fishermen affect redds as much as suction dredges is ridiculous on the surface. There's simply no argument that suctioning a redd filled with eggs or even fry is anything but lethal, and it's this kind of activity that the suction dredge lobby seems intent on protecting - which has brought us to this sorry place. My guess is that suction dredge mining could be entirely banned in sensitive areas due to impacts on habitat, yet allowed in others. Which - not oddly - sounds a lot like fishing regulations. And yes, suction dredge miners have fought that update to the point where - now that it's happening - it's going to have to happen right away (salmon are collapsing). All your other points - impacts by fishermen and rafters (it's laughable that rafters have the same impacts on habitat that suction dredges do), dams, etc - are little more than hot air. Suggesting we're hypocrites for focusing on your damaging use and not everyone else's is classic bull. This blog does advocate for salmon against dams, corporate interests, greedy water users, etc, and - like most advocates - I'm unwilling to overlook the impacts of recreational suction dredge mining. Simply put, it's time suction dredge mining underwent the same scrutiny and regulation that everyone other group contributing to the decline of the salmon (and other species) does. Fanatical resistance to that reality has led us to this point, and while you carefully excerpt portions of studies (many of which are old or lim
0
0
Cliff Graham: Tom,Thanks for fighting this fight and for explaining its merits to the masses. Might see if yer buddy Smethurst can give it some national exposure. I would think the average person will find it at least as offensive as second hand smoke, and CA sure snuffed that out. (bad pun?)Miners, I'll not read any more of your foolishness or respond to it. Maybe you shouldnt read anymore from miners ... more but your an idiot. You sorry excuses for outdoorsmen that have sided up with the tree huggers will eventually have your throats cut by them and will be banned from the streams. Fish and game is not your friends, tree huggers are not your friend. They are with you on this because it serves their own agenda. It will be you in the future. Just like the sorry ass Seirra club when it goes down and buys up deer tags so the big bad hunters cant kill bambi. Listen all you fishermen, fishing will go before hunting. You dont butter fish and games bread, do the math . Compare fishing lic. and hunting lic. then add your tags and upland bird stamp, duck stamps, pig tags, I could go on and on so when fishermen get ousted from the streams. dont cry you sheep will have earned the right to sit home because you are just steps in the ladder just like miners, hunters, and very other non- tree hugger. As fishermen and a hunter if I had to choose I would choose hunting hand down. So look at me as a future opponent that will vote out fishing first. Kanman we are wasting our breath here, but it matters not to me. Most fly fishermen I have met tend to be candy asses anyway. So watching you be included with all the other fishermen, salmon snaggers and wagon burners will ammuse me.
0
0
Hey Cliff, your loss..... I guess you miss the huge irony here. The 2+ million sport fishermen (that is they kill fish for sport and a little ego aggrandizement) in the state of California are responsible for curtailing the jobs of the miners who try to eek out a living by mining and as a byproduct end up improving the habitat of the stream (and not killing fish). You kill fish and are allowed to ... more do so yet we enhance the habitat (we feed the fish) and we are mandated to indefinitely stop. Yup..... makes perfect sense to me. If you guys belonged to the Outdoor Fisheries Photography Assn (or some other low impact environmental organization), your argument would at least pass the smell test. But since through the enjoyment of your sport, you do actually kill the fish, I find your concern for the "fish & the environment" curious. Just think, if each licensed fisherman just caught (and kept) just one fish in a season, then that would account for over 2 million fish killed in each season within the confines of the state. My guess is that in the course of a year, the really good fishermen catch many multiples of the single fish, yet they wonder where all the fish went. Maybe if the DFG posted a limit on fishing licenses, some of the numbers of fish would come back. Nahhh.... that would be too simple. Sorry guys, I am just trying to logically understand your premise and I am having great difficulty. And I truly don't mean to upset anyone.... I am just trying to wrap my mind around this.
0
0
Tom, Thanks for fighting this fight and for explaining its merits to the masses. Might see if yer buddy Smethurst can give it some national exposure. I would think the average person will find it at least as offensive as second hand smoke, and CA sure snuffed that out. (bad pun?) Miners, I'll not read any more of your foolishness or respond to it.
0
0
Hi Dave- Thanks for your opinion. And the way you state it, I too would be against dredging- the problem being is that there are many peer studies out there that deny that particular assertion. I'd like to see the peer studies that support your position. I didn't make up the claim thing- it just the way the law reads. Just last week, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered its ruling in the case of Coeur ... more Alaska, Inc v. Southeast Alaska Conservation Council. In a 6-3 decision, the court reversed a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that had invalidated a Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 404 permit for the discharge of mine tailings. The Supreme Court found that the Army Corps of Engineers acted in accordance with the law when the agency labeled mine tailings, or slurry, as fill material . The ruling may not be "right" in most people's eyes, but it is what it is. Now you know for a fact that large profit driven corporations will take huge advantage of the ruling to whatever destruction of the environment results from it. What I may offer to all you fishermen is that when dealing with suction dredging, you are not dealing with huge corporate monoliths- you are dealing with individuals (your neighbors, friends and families) who are out there enjoying the environment and making a huge effort to also make negligible impacts on the environment. We too respect our environment and would never do anything that is even suggested to damage it. I think it is very important to make that distinction. The corporation is always profit driven, while the individual does have a soul and all their decisions take environmental considerations in to the process. For the most part fly-anglers are very low impact with their individual behaviors. But as a side note, I live in a very popular fly fishing destination in California and each morning I watch the orchestrated ballet of the fly fishermen casting the lines to the water and it is always pleasant to watch. Yet when I venture down to the stream for my afternoon walk, I notice that although each fly fisherman is respectful to the environment, the sheer masses of all of them are having their own deleterious effects on the environment. Stream banks are being eroded, fishing line is tangled in bushes and candy wrappers are at the bottom of the stream, etc. It appears the fishermen (in their sheer quantities) are loving the river to death. In the long term, everything that we humans do (by our sheer masses) probably has a negative impact somewhere. Unless a person lives truly simply like the early Indians did, our unrecognized impacts upon the environment may transcend generations. We all do what in our minds is the right thing to do. You feel your fishing hobby is low impact and it does your soul well. I too feel when I am out working in my stream (which by the way has a very low sediment load- so that may be why I am so adamant about my low impact) I feel my impact on the big picture is just white noise. One summer thunderstorm and resulting rain in a square mile section of wilderness probably disturbs more sediment and mercury than all of the permitted dredgers in the entire state does in the course of working a whole summer. Maybe we should pass a law that outlaws summertime thunderstorms too. Just be careful when riding your high horse and laying blame on others. It would help to walk in the shoes of those who you scorn for a while before making far reaching indictments. If anyone would like to try suction dredging (before the bill gets signed) I would be more than happy to share the experience. In my eyes it may be as cathartic as fly fishing (in its own way). Don't knock it until you've tried it. I do it because I love it as you do fly fishing because of your love of of your form of entertainment (killing fish). Yet we both see the evils of each other. Maybe it is time to find a way to work together and support each other. Thanks again for your clear and forth
0
0
Flatlander here. Slurping up stream bottom sediment is bad for the stream. That's a pretty persuasive position. Persuasive enough to justify requiring those who want to do it to prove that they aren't wrecking the ecosystem for everybody else. Ditto a mining claim. You can't possibly prevail in the assertion that you have the right to do what you want in a public, navigable waterway regardless of ... more other regulations and rights. Finally, all anecdotes considered, some uses of resources are worse than others. Fly anglers are rightly proud of their low-impact behaviors, though of course not all anglers and places are the same. A vacuum dredge--noise, sediment, damage, and the sheer gall of people who would do such a thing for entertainment and profit--should, and must, take a place well down list of uses a community will approve for its precious resources. d
0
0
Inthe559- You make an interesting theory. What perplexes me, is why this bill is having such a fast track. I just don't understand the reason for the rush. There have literally been at least 10 governmental studies which note that dredging has negligible effects to the environment. Yet, all the fishing organizations and the indians and everyone else is on board too. I understand the indians since ... more there may be political ambitions re: casinos, but I don't get the fishermen. Believe me, if I truly felt that I was in any way damaging the stream I am working, I would quit tomorrow. But there is NO EVIDENCE of it. It's interesting that the bill had to be sponsored by someone from a region differing from any of the regions that actually experience the dredgers. Any of the counties that harbor dredgers will sorely miss the money spent locally by the dredging community. It may not seem like a lot of money now, but once the bill is signed, I think you will see a lot of isolated communities dry up and waste away. A lot of money is spent locally by dredgers working their claims. What do you think the reason for eliminating (first) the dredgers and then possibly others off the forest lands? I know for a fact that on the Federal level there have been laws introduced that will severely limit who can afford to work a claim as the minimum bonding needed and liabilities will be so unreasonable that it will be difficult for all but the most capitalized business to conduct mining if those bills pass. It almost seems as there is some sort of movement to move the little guy off the forest lands. But what do I know other than this SB670 is patently unfair to the small businessman dredger (it isn't about hobbyists- its about putting the small businessman out of business). I'll step off my soap box for the rest of the evening. But I truly am curious why the fishermen dislike the dredgers. Kanman
0
0
Hi Tom- Again I am here to clarify your clarifications. "First, you suggest you've never killed a fish. That's a classic red herring – this isn't about killing adult fish." Actually, adult fish are kind of important, aren't they? After all, without adult fish, there would not be any offspring. And isn't the current issue about lack of salmon noted on the west coast referring to adult fish? There are ... more a lot of reasons adult fish are not coming back to spawn- amongst them: overfishing by international fishing fleets, an abundance of predators along the coast, industrial pollution, climate change, impacts by factory farmed fish, unregulated fishing by Karuk tribes, and of course several million licensed Salmon fishermen. Face it, I am a dredger, and you are a fisherman-- you have a history of killing adult fish and I do not. "If a suction dredge blows through a salmon/steelhead/trout/pick a fish spawning redd, the integrity of the redd is destroyed and the eggs are distributed downstream, never to hatch." I assume that could be a problem, but I also follow the dredging regulations put in place by the DFG and they tell me that by the last weekend in May (if I were dredging on a creek that had salmon) the redds would not be an issue. But talk to me.... are there similar restrictions on rafters, and other fishermen who also disturb those same beds? Let's also outlaw them from using the rivers too at the same time as the dredgers are. One of my main issues with the wholesale shutting down of suction dredging is the issue of my location due to salmon population densities. My claim is on a fork of the Yuba River in Northern California. There are NO SALMON on this river. The reason? Bullards Bar Dam ( It is over 645 feet tall and it has no fish ladders). I am a little slow about fish and all, but I assume a salmon cannot jump a dam that high? So my dredging doesn't affect any salmon. So why am I to be shut down? "That's only one of the salient issues, and it's why the court ordered Fish & Game to conduct a study documenting impacts on endangered fish habitat (mostly salmon)." You act as if there has never been a study looking into the effects upon dredging and endangered fish. As a matter of fact, EIR studies have been done by; CDF&G, United States EPA, US Department of Defense, Army Corps of Engineers, etc and have found no direct relationship between suction dredging and BOTH either disturbing fish habitat or displacing mercury. Aren't these studies good enough? Why must dredging be stopped while waiting for yet, another study? Where is the emergency in this? "The unwillingness of suction dredge miners to even consider the kind of reasonable regulation embraced by those who want to protect the resource has become a brick wall – one that now has to be torn down by force." Who is talking about unwillingness- the dredging community readily adheres to the regulations offered by the DFG as such as I assume the fishing community does. Who is being unwilling here? And please provide an example of unwillingness of any dredger. By your tone, I sense you feel that all dredgers are some sort of white (or some other color of) trash. All the dredgers I deal with are articulate and very hard working small businessmen trying to eek a living out of a job that they are very passionate about. Where else can you go out into some of the most beautiful parts of the wilderness and enjoy all it has to offer (and if they are lucky, they may get a paycheck for their labors)? Personally, I am an environmentalist- I spend unbelievable amounts of time volunteering my time to the local environmental organization. And when I am down at my claim, I spend a lot of time cleaning up the trash of others (including fishermen). Often I find in my sluice: lead fishing weights (by the pounds), old lures, lead bullets and literally tons of garbage left in the wilderness by other not so respectable people. And I pack it up and out every
0
0
I guess the point that I am trying to make that we all need to stick together on until there is a real studie done on the impact. Last time I was fishing a few weeks back my buddy was dredging 50 feet down stream, in six hours of dredging he pulled up enough lead spilt shot, slip sinkers, and verious weights to fill a three pound coffee can a 1/4 of the way up. Its only a matter of time until us fishermen ... more will be the problem. Lets face it the Ca fish and game is not our friends. There bread is buttered by hunting lic. and game tags as well as fishing lic. check the prices whos going first hunting or fishing and the numbers spell fishing to me. We pay more as residents of this state then most non-residents pay for lic in other states. And we are the only state that has had a major deer heard that has declined steadily. Our fish and game doesnt care, they want the revenue not the work that goes with it. Check and see how our fish and game rates next to states that have a lot of wild life. It speaks for itself. So be ready, it may not be this year or next but our day as fishermen will come and who will cry for us the hunters, the dredgers, certainly not fish and game. And this means you too fly fishermen, they will lump all fishermen together just like the responsible dredgers and the ones that rape the land. Our only hope is to be able to hurt them together by not buying hunting tags, fishing lic, or dredge permits. Until then our fate is in the hands of liberal democrat women that have never seen a salmon other then on a plate at dinner in the bay area.
0
0
Have you ever been in the water while someone is suction mining? I will go with no because every fish with in 50 yards is right there sniping these poor little creatures. And I take it that suction dredging takes fish tails off so they are stuck in this so called dead zone. I would agree with you if we were talking a 10" dredge but you cant put a 10" in just any stream. But 4" and below dont create ... more dead zones, that fact that all of us fishermen have to face is that hatcheries produce inferior fish. All of the trout fishermen that have caught planters know this, they die most of the time weather they are lip hooked or gut or gill hooked. Dams have killed our fish not dredgers, man just cant replace mother nature and produce hearty fish like she can, Lets get these dams torn down, thats the only way we are going to save the salmon form a slow death. And talk of mercury and sediment in the water is bull. Mercury is a natuarlly accuring element and is found in most streams but I will agree that mining of the past has added to this. Dredgers dont use mercury they suck it up and usually find gold in it since mercury is the only thing that sticks to gold. As for the sediment in the water come on, so we must assume that all the fish that live in the rivers die every winter when the rains and floods come? I dont think so, as for dredge holes one winter usaully takes care of holes left in the river bed. I as a fisherman just think you are pointing the finger at the wrong people and even if dredging is banned its over for the salmon over a period of time cause of the dams and mans inability to produce fish as healty as natural spawn fish.
0
0
Inthe559: So all of the flatlanders should educate themselves before passing judgement and you will look like less of a fool to the people with the facts Yes, of course. Let the reasoned commentary begin. Suction dredge mining is now good for salmon. Of course. Displacing invertebrates and raising mercury from the streambed have to be good for salmon and ecosystems, right?
0
0
Allow me to raise a few of the issues - the same issues that suction dredge miners have refused to face. First, you suggest you've never killed a fish. That's a classic red herring - this isn't about killing adult fish. If a suction dredge blows through a salmon/steelhead/trout/pick a fish spawning redd, the integrity of the redd is destroyed and the eggs are distributed downstream, never to hatch. ... more The same is true even after the eggs have hatched and the fry remain in the nest. That's only one of the salient issues, and it's why the court ordered Fish & Game to conduct a study documenting impacts on endangered fish habitat (mostly salmon). The unwillingness of suction dredge miners to even consider the kind of reasonable regulation embraced by those who want to protect the resource has become a brick wall - one that now has to be torn down by force. There are other issues. You suggest you only "dirty the water for 75 feet" which is blatantly untrue. Studies have show that suction dredge mining displaces food (aquatic insects, which small and large fish eat) downstream for several months. That means that suction dredge mining tends to leave a "dead zone" of habitat that won't support fish. Those insects eventually repopulate, but it's a bit like telling you that your house is fine, you just won't be able to eat for a month or two. No problem, right? Then there is the mercury issue; suction dredge mining increases mercury levels in waters, often in very significant amounts. The mercury - an artifact of earlier gold mining efforts - has settled and suction dredge mining disturbs it. And these are just a few of the issues. To repeat, it's not about fish. It's about habitat and what suction dredge mining does to that habitat. And yes, we're talking about species that are absolutely hovering in the balance - collapsing populations that require an ecosystem-wide approach to recovery. Why do suction dredge miners feel they're immune to having the effects of their actions studied? That's exactly the stance taken by groups like the 49ers. I've embedded a video in the original post that explains some of the issues. It's a little on the slow side, but it's provided by CalTrout. As for chasing the "big" industrial polluters, that's another strawman; the "they're worse than we are" routine is the last refuge of those who know better.
0
0
Oh yeah, by the way. Its the dams that are killing your salmon not dredgers. Look at Centrall Ca anyone reading these words here wasnt even alive what the last salmon run up those creeks and rivers.
0
0
At least Kanman isnt stupid. I have grown up catching salmon in the Sac river all my life. When they spawn they look for a depression and a area with clean sand and gravel to lay their eggs. It is at these times that fish and game already restrict dredging to protect the spawn. Ok now lets look at the end result of dredging it leaves a depression and the sand and gravel clean of algee, vegation, and ... more debree. Emm just what a salmon is looking for. I am not a dredger but a avid outdoorsman that knows the facts. So all of the flatlanders should educate themselves before passing judgement and you will look like less of a fool to the people with the facts. Dredge on Kanman you are improving the stream for salmon while you find and remove all lead sportsman have deposited on the bottom for all these years. Go figure lead a dangerous substance, where are all you tree huggers that should support Kanman for doing you such a service. My advice is get the facts not what you have heard but research and come to your own conclusion.
0
0
Allow me to respectfully disagree with your glory. I am a suction dredger and I have NEVER in the process of dredging, EVER KILLED A FISH!. Can you state that? Which official study are you guys agreeing with that suggests the suction dredging has anything to do with harming any fish? Actually, I didn't show up to start a fight. But I am curious. Can you honestly tell me why you want to see suction ... more dredging go away? And don't try to tell me its about endangering the fish- after all, as fishermen, I am sure on one instance or another you have actually killed a fish (where I can honestly say I have never done so). Is it because the dredges muddy up the waters for 75 feet? Or is it you just don't want to share the beauty of the outdoors and the rivers with others? I am not being argumentative, I am just curious. Do you mind, honestly answering my question? And also, why aren't you guys interested in going after the big industrial polluters, who actually DO POISON the rivers and oceans? Just curious, you know.
0
0
Cal Trout has initiated a letter writing campaign to help get this thing passed. Sign up and spread the word.
0
0
And I think a salute is also owed to the Sacramento Bee, which seems to cover environmental issues in this state better than any other paper we have here.
0
0
The Above Ground and Down Here are tired of them too... they make the area look ignorant and silly... Three cheers for stopping dredge mining.
0
0
Let me be the first to offer a enthusiastic salute to the lawmakers who saw the economic and ecological damage this "recreational" mining was doing to the streams and rivers of California. I offer an equally enthusiastic, but different type of salute, containing just one finger, to the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors.
0
0

Discover Your Own Authentic Fly Fishing Experience

With top destinations, guided trips, outfitters and guides, and river reports, you have everything you need.