Well once again the uninformed public has won a battle that they know nothing about. In California they have put a stop to gold dredging. I was a gold dredger in California for some 15 years and had to fight the Department of Fish and Game for most of those 15 years about what dredging was doing to the river and the salmon fish. They did an environmental report which supposed to show just how bad it was for the fish, but that report never once proved anything bad was happening to the fish, in fact in many places it said it was doing some good for the fish. I went to meetings with the DFG and not one person there had ever dredged or been under the water to see what was going on. Not one of the people who had made the environmental report for DFG had either. Some of the data was years old. The words that kept coming up were; maybe, could, might, possible and so on, not one word that said YES, it is harmful to the fish. Well the miners beat the DFG that time, but it now seems they have lost out to the same scare tactics that were used back in the 80’s.
Strange that it is the Indians who have gotten this passed in Calif. It is the Indians who use gill nets and catch thousands of salmon each year before they get to the spawning grounds. But do the Indians have to stop, not that I have heard of. They did stop the salmon fishing in most of the rivers in Calif, I understand, this at least saved thousands of more fish who could get to the spawning grounds, one good thing done for the fish. There are still the commercial fishermen out in the ocean who catch thousands of the salmon before they even get into the rivers, enough said about them. How many of the dams built in Calif. have fish ladders, not many I understand, so how can the salmon get up river without them, they can’t, but is anything being done about that? I have heard that Oregon is going to remove some its dams so the salmon can return to there spawning grounds, be nice if Calif. would do the same. But I doubt that will ever happen.
There were and are mining laws from the Department of Fish and Game that wont allow the gold dredgers to dredge in spawning grounds already, no laws about fishermen walking in and over those same spawning grounds. There are season for dredging for almost every river in the country, so the fish wont be bothered during there spawning time, so how can dredging harm the fish if one is not dredging at that time. I used to mine on the Trinity River in Trinity County, Calif. were there was no season for dredging. But I was on the main river far from the spawning areas. I can say from experience that nothing I did ever stopped any salmon from getting passed me and on its way up river. Many of the salmon would rest in the holes I made under the water. Have always wondered as to how the environmentalists thought that dredging was causing stress to the fish, when it was ok to catch and release those fish. I would think that being hooked and fought until one is to tired to fight any more just might be a stressing thing to a fish. After all the fish need all of there strength to fight their way up rivers and streams to get to there spawning grounds, but I never once heard a thing about this from the DFG or the environmentalists.
There was talk about the turbidity of the water behind a dredge, turbidity is how much sediment is in the water. But Mother Nature on her own does fill the river with turbidity with the run off from heavy rains many times a year, even during the salmon runs. The Trinity dam lets go with a huge amount of sediment each year to keep the dam from filling up with the stuff, most often during the salmon run times. One thing I can say for certain about dams and dredging, dams keep the rivers in a dead state by not allowing the needed water to clean out the sediment and turn in over and all around. The river bottoms become dead areas of movement, dredging at least turns this stuff over and gets it moving again just like natured intended. And yet the environmentalists and the DFG think that stopping dredging will save the salmon. Here I should mention just how much lead, from the fishermen lead weights and mercury left over from the 49’ers, is being removed by the gold dredgers, is there any other way this poison is being removed from our rivers? I believe there is something else going here, just what I am not sure, it could be that the big mining companies don’t want the competition from the small miners so they can get more money for their gold, after all if no small miners can get gold, there is just that much less on the market. Cannot say this the truth, but it does make sense, doesn’t it?
Enough for now on this subject, but if you want freedom to stay alive in this country, you had better help keep the small gold miners alive in the areas where you live. In all of California there were only some 3500 dredge permits issued and lots of those were people from out of state, that is not vary many for an entire state, just how much damage do they really think could be done by that amount? Come on folks, think, use those minds and look at the real facts on this subject. Dredging is good for the local economies and good for the rivers.