Emergency Rulemaking Approved for Suction Dredge Mining

The Office of Administrative Law (OAL) today approved an emergency rulemaking to amend an existing regulation defining suction dredge mining. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife proposed this action earlier this month to close an apparent loophole that may have allowed activity that goes against the spirit of the legislative moratorium prohibiting the use of any vacuum or suction dredge equipment for instream mining.

The new regulation as approved by OAL and filed with the Secretary of State defines suction dredging as the “use of a suction system to vacuum material from the bottom of a river, stream or lake for the extraction of minerals.”

Under current state law in effect since 2009, the use of any vacuum or suction dredge equipment for instream mining purposes is prohibited.

Importantly, nonmotorized recreational mining activities, including panning for gold, are not prohibited or restricted under the new regulation or the statutory moratorium that currently prohibits suction dredging in California.

For specific regulatory language of the new rule, or additional information about the moratorium and suction dredge mining in California, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/suctiondredge.

Media Contact:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

Emergency Rulemaking Proposed for Suction Dredge Mining

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is proposing an emergency rulemaking to amend an existing regulation defining suction dredge mining. CDFW is taking this action to close an apparent loophole that may allow activity that goes against the spirit of the legislative moratorium prohibiting the use of any vacuum or suction dredge equipment for instream mining.

CDFW provided notice of the proposed emergency action earlier today. Consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act, CDFW will submit the related rulemaking package to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) no sooner than Monday, June 17.  After OAL posts notice on its webpage, the public will have five calendar days to submit comments. Interested members of the public may want to begin monitoring OAL’s webpage (www.oal.ca.gov) beginning June 17.

For specific regulatory language of CDFW’s proposed emergency action, or additional information about the moratorium and suction dredge mining in California, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/suctiondredge.

If you have any questions regarding this proposed emergency action, please contact Craig Martz, CDFW Regulations Unit Manager, at (916) 653-4681. Related comments or questions to CDFW can also be submitted to suctiondredge@wildlife.ca.gov.

Media Contact: Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937
Public Contact: Craig Martz, CDFW Regulations Unit, (916) 653-4681

Proposed Suction Dredge Regulations Revised, Now Open to Public Comment

Media Contacts:
Mark Stopher, DFG Executive Office, (530) 225-2275
Kirsten Macintyre, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8988 

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has revised its proposed regulations governing suction dredge mining in California under the Fish and Game Code. The revised version is now available for review at www.dfg.ca.gov/suctiondredge, and DFG will be accepting public comment on the new draft through 5 p.m. on Monday, March 5, 2012.

Written comments can be submitted by e-mail to dfgsuctiondredge@dfg.ca.gov, or by regular mail to:

Mark Stopher, Senior Policy Advisor
California Department of Fish and Game
601 Locust Street
Redding, CA 96001

DFG regulates suction dredge mining throughout California pursuant to Fish and Game Code, section 5653, et seq. Existing law prohibits DFG from issuing suction dredge permits, and suction dredging is currently prohibited until June 30, 2016.

On Feb. 28, 2011, DFG released proposed regulations and a related Environmental Impact Report for public review. The original public review period ran from February 2011 through May 10, 2011, and DFG has worked ever since to review comments and related information submitted by the public. DFG subsequently determined that revisions to the earlier proposed regulations were appropriate.

Compared to the previously proposed regulations, the revised regulations provide for more efficient permit management and account for further evaluation of species distributions and life histories. They also include further actions to ensure that authorized suction dredging is not deleterious to fish.

Printed copies of the revised regulations are also available for public review at the following DFG offices:

  • 601 Locust Street, Redding
  • 1701 Nimbus Road, Suite A, Rancho Cordova
  • 1807 13th Street, Suite 104, Office of Communications, Sacramento
  • 7329 Silverado Trail, Napa
  • 1234 E. Shaw Avenue, Fresno
  • 3883 Ruffin Road, San Diego
  • 4665 Lampson Avenue, Suite J, Los Alamitos
  • 3602 Inland Empire Blvd., Suite C-220, Ontario
  • 20 Lower Ragsdale Drive, Suite 100, Monterey

The original version of the proposed regulations is still available on the DFG website, along with the revised version now under public review.

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