No Reason to Shortcut Current Review of Suction Dredge Mining Regulations
UPDATE: We’re hearing rumors that SB 657 is DOA. More as we know it.
California Trout is in strong opposition to California Senate Bill 657, which simply deletes existing law related to the proper regulation of suction dredge mining permits.
That’s bad idea in itself, but more importantly, SB 657 would undermine an ongoing and comprehensive environmental review of the recreational practice of suction dredge mining.
In a joint letter, CalTrout and the California Chapter of Trout Unlimited said “By deleting existing law related to the proper regulation of suction dredge mining permits, SB 657 would undermine an ongoing and comprehensive environmental review of this recreational practice. The current California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review and the associated process to develop and adopt new regulations governing such mining should continue.”
Stopping those processes now would waste substantial public funds, and short-circuit a public review process in favor of… well, nothing.
The threats posed by suction dredge mining to California’s native and imperiled salmon, steelhead, and trout species are documented, numerous, and must not be underestimated. They include:
- Disruption to spawning gravels
- Disruption to incubating eggs
- Increases in turbidity and unnatural sedimentation
- Alteration of stream-bottom habitats that support important food supplies
- Entrainment of invertebrates and small fish
- Mobilization of toxic mercury within the water column
It is for these reasons and others that the Department of Fish and Game has been ordered to perform a comprehensive review of suction dredge mining and the regulations pertaining to permitting the activity.
Please join us in supporting this ongoing and productive environmental review process, and in opposing attempts to circumvent state efforts to protect our trout, steelhead and salmon.