- Letter by Jim Foley to Governor Schwarzenegger opposing
AB 1032 Suction Dredge mining, comparison between mining and
Trinity River Restoration Project
September 29, 2007
- Following is a copy of a letter sent to Governor
Schwarzenegger in opposition to Assembly Bill AB1032, which
would close California rivers to suction dredge mining simply
because suction dredging mining by individuals affects rivers
in the same way this Trinity River Restoration Project does,
but on a much smaller scale.
- A typical suction dredge miner moves a few yards of river
gravel per day. But CDFG says in the lawsuit brought by the
Karuk Tribe that these suction dredge miners harm the river.
Now this same CDFG says that this restoration project is
beneficial. This is a direct contradiction of the testimony
they gave in court.
- If a suction dredge harms fish, as they claim, then what
would be the impact of a project of this size that dwarfs all
suction dredge activities taken as a whole?
- The following photos will show a comparison of how suction
dredges impact a river and this restoration project impacts a
Letter to Governor Schwarzenegger from Jim
The California Department of Fish and Game is
involved in a Salmon restoration project on the Trinity river in
northern California, which is a tributary of the Klamath river. In
this project, they are depositing over 130,000 tons of bank run
gravel into the Trinity rivers main stream banks, driving huge
heavy equipment into the river, and stockpiling piles of silt to
be allowed to wash into the river, hoping it will wash out during
high water flows during the winter and spring.
There is a major problem with the whole concept that the
California Department of Fish and Game feels that this is an
acceptable way to recover this rivers “natural state”, and yet
they have attacked gold dredgers as harmful.
As per our dredging permit regulations, we are not allowed to
operate any motor vehicle in a waterway, and we are not allowed to
introduce any bank run material into the waterway, yet on the
Trinity river, CD F&G is doing just that. CD F&G is sorting out
the bank run gravel, looking for classified rock between 3/8“ to
4” in size, leaving the oversized material on the bank, placing
the sorted 3/8“ to 4” gravel into the waterway using huge front
end loaders and dump trucks and driving them in the river, and
piling the silt bank run material to be washed downstream during
high water flows.
Dredging sorts material this same way, yet does not add anything
to the river that is not already there. A dredge leaves the
oversize material on the bottom of the river, moves the material
5“ and smaller on top of the oversized material, and adds no silt
that is not already in the river bottom.
If the eminent expert fishery biologists like Dr. Peter Moyle of
the University of California at Davis and Dr. Walt Duffy of
Humboldt State University, that the author of this bill states
that in their expert opinions that the problem with dredging is
the “loose dredge tailings that may be washed downstream could
POSSIBLY cover and suffocate salmon nesting beds (reds)“, then
there is a MAJOR problem with this bill or a MAJOR problem with
this restoration project on the Trinity.
How can the small amount of material we are talking about with
dredging compare to the hundreds of thousands of tons of BANK RUN
MATERIAL that CD F&G is now placing into an endangered salmon
bearing stream to be “washed downstream during high water”?
This doesn't even begin to address another MAJOR issue with this
restoration project. If the material that CD F&G is using to sort
is from the hydraulic mines and huge bucket line dredges from past
mining, when huge amounts of mercury were legally used in those
mining activities, then all this bank run material that is being
added to the Trinity river is contaminated with mercury, which is
a known highly poisonous toxin, and is being taken from the bank
and placed into the active water way. This is in DIRECT VIOLATION
OF FEDERAL EPA LAW AND CALIFORNIA LAW!
Governor Schwarzenegger, please veto AB1032. It will cost jobs, it
will adversely effect tourism, it will cause the failure of
existing businesses, and it will bring forth lawsuits that will
result in large settlements because the truth of the matter is
this simple, AB1032 is based on nothing more than possibilities
and maybes. There has been no proof of any damage, and in light of
this restoration project on the Trinity river, AB1032 and the
philosophy used to create it is in direct conflict with ongoing
restoration projects that CD F&G is currently involved with and
the philosophy used to justify those projects.
Thank you for your time,
Property Rights Advocate