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Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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EDITORIAL: A Smart Budget Trim Will Help Water Quality SacBee, June 2, 2011
 
As a retired USEPA research biologist with 25+ years experience and someone that has studied the published scientific literature on the subject of small-scale gold suction dredging I can state unequivocally that there are no unmitigated impacts from small-scale gold suction dredging. The opposition to this form of mining often misleads by implying, for example, that these small machines are equivalent to what the US Army Corps of Engineers uses to clear waterways. They imply that these small dredges spread mercury throughout the system. Not true. A State Water Resources Control Board study determined that 98% of the mercury dredged from an atypical mercury "HOTSPOT" was captured by the dredge. Hotspots = puddles of mercury sitting on bedrock. They are very rare and seldom, if ever, encountered by small scale suction dredgers. There is just so much twisted facts out there that deliberately make it impossible for honest concerned citizens to make logical decisions. Please do not jump on this bandwagon without performing your own due diligence. Those organizations that attack this activity have shown their continued dishonest by continually repeating information that they know to be untrue. I have personally provided much of this information to them and they choose to ignore it be cause it does not help promote their agenda.

The only serious impact that small scale gold dredging has on the environment is if the operation were to be performed during spawning season and the dredges were to suck up the fish eggs from the redd. This issue has been recognized for many years and all Western State Departments of Fish and Wildlife have solved this issue by banning dredging in most rivers and streams for nearly 9-month of each year to protect the fish eggs and early life stages. As an aside, and not an attack on fishermen, it is a well known published fact that fishermen have been walking through the fish redds for years while enjoying their outdoor experience. The science showed that walking through a fish redd can kill as much as 98% of the eggs. With this knowledge in hand I do not advocate ending the right to fish. I just want the fishermen educated to prevent these needless deaths and perhaps to further enhance their fishing experience in the future.

I would expect and hope for no less reasonable approach to citizens that enjoy and profit from the business of small-scale gold suction dredging.
Scientists have become advocates for certain agendas - they have become believers and crusaders, forgetting that science moves forward and makes progress by skepticism rather than by the preservation of some status quo or some consensus position.

 

 

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