Major victory for Chetco River salmon and steelhead

According to the Associated Press, the U.S. Forest Service wants to stop new gold mining claims on the Chetco River in southwestern Oregon while Congress considers legislation that would permanently raise the level of protection for wild salmon and steelhead habitat.

Myrtlewood Branches Overhanging the Chetco River (3876) Photo by Rob Robinson

If the Bureau of Land Management approves a ban, a process likely to take two or three months, Congress would have two years to consider legislation filed by Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., making it permanent.

The proposed ban comes a year after California outlawed suction dredge gold mining, a practice in which mining hobbyists use vacuum machines to suck up the riverbed and spew it out into the water in hopes of capturing a few flecks of gold. The California ban is part of a plan to help reverse declining salmon runs on several rivers—but to a bunch of hobbyist gold miners, channeling Yosemite Sam, they’re hopping mad.

The recreational miners are vocal folks. In fact, several miners have commented on this blog that suction dredge mining is actually good for salmon and steelhead.

See this video for the explanation of why that is not true.

The biggest problem with the California ban is that is driving more miners to Oregon rivers. Be sure to thank the Congressional Reps behind the proposed ban, as well as the folks in Trout Unlimited’s Wild Rivers Coast Chapter out of Brookings and Crescent City.


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2 Responses to Major victory for Chetco River salmon and steelhead

  1. Rob R says:

    We need to interview some of the pro-dredging guys. They seem like a hoot!

  2. Chris Deppa says:

    It is good for the fish…………… HAHA!

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