Suction Dredge Gold Miners Hoppin’ Mad Over Ban

| 8/25/2009 2:44:27 PM

Suction dredgeCalifornia has drawn a line in the sediment and outlawed suction dredge gold mining, a practice in which frame-mounted, vacuumlike machines suck up the riverbed of mineral-laden mountain streams and spew it out into the water in hopes of capturing a few flecks of gold. The ban is part of a plan to help reverse declining salmon runs on several rivers—but to a bunch of hobbyist gold miners, it’s an affront to personal rights, according to the July 30 Sacramento News and Review.

“The scientific evidence against suction dredging doesn’t pass the laugh test,” James Buchal, attorney for a mining advocacy group called the New 49’ers, tells the newspaper. “This bill will put hundreds of people out of work and destroy the vacation plans of thousands of people for no purpose whatsoever.”

Despite the gold-tinged vacation dreams of the New 49’ers, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the ban into law Aug. 6. Writes the Associated Press: “Small-scale miners still drawn to California to chase dreams of striking it rich will have to find their gold nuggets the old-fashioned way for awhile, with shovels and pans.”

Over at the Nugget Shooter Forum, an amateur prospecting website, compliance with the suction dredge ban doesn’t look promising. And it appears that miners still favor the speech stylings and hotheaded temperament of Yosemite Sam.

 “We are now in a lock and load catch me if'n ya can MF state a siege,” writes a poster calling himself “John Hoser Oates.” “Never been caught before and ain’t a givn’ up now either.”

 “I say screw them,” writes “Matt.” “I will be dredging the remainder of the summer until the end of the season. I will dredge next summer also. If I get into it with an enforcing agency and my equipment gets confiscated, well, it ain’t worth shit anymore anyways.”

5/11/2012 3:56:27 PM

Well now what do ya know about that... Didn't portray us in a very good light did they just posting the more controversial comments they did! Typical of the media... Don't these media and anti dredging fools know that to many folks this is a living and that many folks at NuggetShooter forums are not "Amateur miners" but very experienced professionals that rely on dredging for income!

Van Schoonhoven
1/23/2011 10:26:25 AM

I'm returning to CA to go the ocean if I have to. There's always more than one way to get down in the creek...legally. Anyone who wants to give up, call me and hand over your 5-6" dredge, I'm not quittin'. I can be reached at (480) 231-1110 and I could pay some as well. I'm not kidding.

9/30/2009 1:24:07 PM

The numbers of local salmon coming back to our creeks have been decreasing over the years, each year the runs get smaller and smaller. There used to be a day when there would be 30 or more of us shoulder to shoulder gathered around Walnut Creek and we would each go home with a nice big salmon. Sadly, today you would be lucky to even see one. However, this creek has NEVER been dredged, EVER! I think the problem is much bigger than that and they have banned dredging for nothing. What a bunch of mis-informed yahoos! Get a grip Sacramento, you have been hoodwinked by a bunch of revenge seeking indians. And what about all the other states? Are they presently dredging and killing their own salmon? I think not. What a crock.

Facebook Instagram Twitter