[env-trinity] Sacramento Bee July 14 2009
bwl3 at comcast.net
Wed Jul 15 10:48:43 PDT 2009
State lawmakers OK temporary dredging ban targeting salmon habitat
By Matt Weiser
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.
Patricia 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
The regulatory review was supposed to be finished by July 2008, but Wiggins
said the department has yet to begin. As a result, a new court order last
week prevents the department from using general fund money to operate the
dredge permitting program.
Supporters say the bill includes language negotiated with the Schwarzenegger
administration, so they expect him to sign it. Those negotiations followed a
February confirmation hearing for Fish and Game Director Don Koch, during
which the administration's handling of suction dredge mining came under
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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