Protect Oregon’s Salmon Habitat from Suction Dredge Mining

From the Native Fish Society:

Suction dredge gold mining is a practice in which riverbeds are “vacuumed up” by a large, loud, and gas-powered floating machine. Materials from the riverbed go through a sluice where heavy metals drop out, in particular gold. Sediment is then discharged back into the river, impairing water quality and fish habitat.

Suction Dredge Mining Southern Oregon

Suction dredge gold mining may also include the removal of trees that shade our streams and provide critical aquatic habitat. Mining in the floodplain involves the construction of pits that bleed sediment into streams and capture and strand threatened juvenile salmon.

Between 2009 and 2012, Oregon nearly tripled the number of permits issued for suction dredge mining. While restrictions have increased in Idaho and California due to impacts on fish, miners have rushed to unregulated Oregon to cash in as gold prices hit record highs.

The Solution: A bill before the Oregon State Legislature would permanently end all suction dredge mining within Oregon’s Essential Salmonid Habitat and across designated bull trout and lamprey habitats. It would also end this mining practice in Oregon streams considered impaired by elevated levels of pollution.

Take Action Now! Please send a letter today urging a key committee considering the bill to support Senate Bill 830 and protect our streams and riparian areas from gold mining!

Comment deadline: Friday, June 26th 2015

Personalizing your message would go a long way – and don’t forget to talk about how you value protecting habitat for wild, native fish and maintaining clean water!

Thank you for taking action!

For the Fish,

Stan Petrowski, South Umpqua River Steward
Charles Gehr, Rogue River Steward
Mark Sherwood, Southern District Manager

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