[env-trinity] Record Searchlight 1 14 09
bwl3 at comcast.net
Wed Jan 14 11:27:40 PST 2009
Well.It was my understanding that Trinity River was included in this
petition. What needs to be changed is the Wild and Scenic designation of
these rivers to a higher class. I believe they're currently Class 3, but I
could be incorrect on the exact designation. That would stop the dredging.
Tribe seeks to halt suction dredging on parts of the Klamath River
The Redding Record Searchlight - 1/14/09
By Dylan Darling
An American Indian tribe from the Klamath River has petitioned the state to
ban a popular form of recreational gold mining on parts of the river and
many of its tributaries.
The Karuk Tribe - along with conservation groups California Trout, Friends
of the North Fork and the Sierra Fund - filed the petition late last month,
asking the California Department of Fish and Game to limit suction dredging
for the sake of salmon.
"We are not trying to end gold mining or suction dredging, but we are
saying, 'Let's not mine in the places that are most important to the fish,'
" said Craig Tucker, spokesman for the Happy Camp-based tribe.
In the 11-page petition, the tribe asks for a ban on suction dredging where
the creeks and other rivers flow into the Klamath. In suction dredging,
miners use gasoline- or diesel-powered pumps to suck submerged gravel from
the waterway and run it through a sluice box in search of gold.
The state has until Jan. 25 to respond to the request, which also includes
some creeks in the Sierra Nevada, said Jordan Traverso, deputy director of
the DFG's office of communication.
"We are reviewing the complex petition from the tribe, and we have not taken
a position on this at this time," Traverso said.
While the tribe says suction dredging creates harmful conditions for salmon
and steelhead by clouding the water with mud and stirs up mercury, those who
do the dredging say it actually improves the river for the fish.
"The worst thing they could do is ban dredging on the Klamath because of the
dams on the river," said Dan Stamps, a Redding man who has been suction
dredging for 28 years.
The dams hold back flood waters that normally would have flushed the river
periodically, shuffling its gravel, he said. Through suction dredging, he
said miners break up packed gravel and create spawning habitat.
As for the muddy water, Stamps said a strong rainstorm creates much cloudier
water than suction dredging.
"Mother Nature puts more mud into the rivers than all the miners in
California all year long," Stamps said.
While dredging does bring up mercury - a heavy liquid metal left on bedrock
below gravel bars from 19th century gold mining - Stamps said recreational
miners are doing a good thing because they then haul it out.
"They don't throw that mercury back into the creek," Stamps said.#
Byron Leydecker, JcT
Chair, Friends of Trinity River
PO Box 2327
Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327
415 383 4810 land
415 519 4810 cell
<mailto:bwl3 at comcast.net> bwl3 at comcast.net
<mailto:bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org> bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org
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