Proposed New Law on Hydraulic Mining in Washington

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by smelt047, Jan 20, 2014.

  1. Representative Gael Tarleton (Democrat, 36th District) has just introduced a proposal in the Washington State House of Representatives to further restrict and regulate suction-dredge mining in our state's fish-bearing rivers and streams. The text of the bill can be found at:

    I happen to know that Representative Tarleton followed the recent discussion of the issue on this site. If you also feel strongly about suction-dredge mining, please send your written comments directly to Representative Tarleton ( within the next week because a hearing on the bill will occur by the end of January.
  2. This is super important. Please take the time to review this and submit your comments. I am all about user groups enjoying themselves; however, the egregious nature of some of these activities is beyond, beyond not good.

  3. Thanks, Ed. I posted a notice about the proposed bill on another forum:


    The discussion there has been mixed to say the least.

    There is certain to be significant opposition to Representative Tarleton's bill from the dredgers and their allies, so it is time to speak up in support if you care about the potential for damage to our salmon and steelhead streams from a very laxly regulated activity!
  4. We all owe someone on this forum a huge debt of gratitude for helping to level the playing field between high-regulated angling and nearly unregulated suction dredge mining and to bring this to Rep. Tarleton's attention.

    Anglers are prohibited from fishing streams with ESA-listed stocks for fear of disrupting their spawning beds yet at the same time miners have carte blanche to disrupt and pollute the same waters, jeopardizing the millions of taxpayer dollars spent to save threatened species.

    Here's a huge shout out to Kim McDonald. Many, many thanks lady.

    smc, Itchy Dog, Freestone and 2 others like this.
  5. Kim McDonald?

    Sent from my HTCONE using Tapatalk
    Kent Lufkin likes this.
  6. None other!

  7. Done and done.
    Thanks for the heads up on this.
  8. smelt047 said and I quote; " suction dredging actually helps wild salmon and steelhead spawn"
    Yep, that makes perfect sense to me.
    Seeing how depressed the salmon and steelhead stocks were until the miners came and dredged and sucked the spawning beds to save them....
    An honest question; do you really believe this helps these fish in the long run?
    Not trying to start an argument here, I'm just really curious to hear your answer.
  9. I was being sarcastic! (My bad.) That's what some fool on the other forum actually claimed!!
    Greg Armstrong likes this.
  10. Ha!
    That's the problem with the internet - sometimes it's too easy to misinterpret what people are trying to communicate to one another.
    You can't "hear" each other, and we can't see each other - I find myself guilty of mis-reading things people write on occasion, and my own comments are often misunderstood as well.
    Sorry, Smelt - it was my bad!
    Kent Lufkin likes this.
  11. You were just being polite and reading literally, which is what you would do if you don't know someone. My fault was thinking the absurdity of the claim was obvious!
    Kent Lufkin likes this.
  12. Hey thanks, Kent. I just approached Rep. Tarleton who has been doing the heavy lifting on this. She took all the information I gave her, did her own investigation (talking with all sides including Pat Chapman, the WDFW person in charge of the mining program), and put together this legislation.

    Yes, folks, as much support as we can show Rep. Tarleton would be great. Plus, anyone who knows Rep. Brian Blake, who is the chair of the Agriculture and Natural Resource committee, ask him to hold a hearing on this legislation. Rep. Tarleton was told it would happen, but to date, we don't have a hearing date.

    It's also an economic issue, as Kent points out. Not only do the suction dredgers destroy the hundreds of millions of dollars of riparian restoration (for salmon, steelhead, Bull trout) our tax dollars are paying for, but the miners pay ABSOLUTELY NO LICENSING FEES or permit fees whatsoever! So taxpayers are essentially subsidizing their activities.

    Thanks everyone for your help!

    Kent Lufkin likes this.
  13. I just read through the postings on the piscatorial site. Great job smelt047! I do have the data on the HPA that have been granted if you need it. PM me.

  14. Thanks, Kim. I will PM you. I know you've been the impetus behind Rep. Tarleton's bill. I just got interested in the issue quite recently.
    Kent Lufkin likes this.
  15. If we have to buy a license to fish and hunt, why is it that miners pay no fee? Since WDFW regulates miners and gold panners, I believe that they should have to buy a recreational mining license every year with a fee structure like fishing and hunting licenses. For example:

    Gold panning: $X.00 for a single pan license

    Suction Dredging: $Y.00 for an x" hose or $Z.00 for a w" hose


    And why can they apply for a free permit to mine out-of-season? I believe that it shouldn't be allowed, at least not without on-site review. If it continues, a fee should be charged that is high enough to cover all the associated costs of reviewing and ruling on the permit.

    Lastly, dredgers claim that the redistribution of materials is nothing compared to what Mother Nature does annually, especially in high water events. Mother Nature does this in high water so that the suspended material is diluted and materials are spread far and wide, farther and more naturally than what a suction dredger does in low flows. So to help them strengthen this argument, I propose that all suction dredging be limited to peak flows during run-off to help distribute their tailings as Mother Nature intended! Whimps need not apply, lol.
  16. LOL

    "Pans ahoy! There's two dollars and fifty-six cents worth of gold in there with your name on it, broham! Don't let the regs hold you back. Freeeeeeeedooooooooooooom!!!!!"

    Boulder Drop

    Sunset Falls

    Eagle Falls
    smelt047, Lugan, Kim McDonald and 3 others like this.
  17. Too funny! Should be on the Colbert Report.

  18. Sue, you also should mention that the miners are allowed to winch boulders, downed woody debris, and other in-stream objects that are vital for riparian habitat and stream populations. As many of us know, pocket water upstream and downstream of boulders provide fish refugia, wood debris provides all sort of nutrients and shade, etc. We have evidence, thanks to Sue, of holes where boulders used to be, of streams being unnaturally diverted, and whole stream banks being altered. All of this costs money to restore, yet miners don't pay anything into the system.

    smelt047 likes this.

  19. This is why we need a sarcasm font! An understandable mis-interpretation.

    THANK YOU Kim for driving this.
    Greg Armstrong likes this.

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