California Dept of Fish and Game
Suction Dredge Program
601 Locust Street
Redding, CA 96001
Dear Mr. Stopher;
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Final Suction Dredge Regulations.
I am disappointed to see that the vast majority of the information that we, as miners, submitted was ignored. This disregard for substantial and significant information as part of the whole record results in suction dredging regulations that are flawed and will cause significant harm to me and my economic wellbeing. While I appreciate that you are required by law to fully mitigate the significant effects, the regulations are based on flawed and biased opinions and disregards significant and overwhelming scientific data that had it been considered would have reached an entirely different conclusion. I am a professional engineer and have first hand for many years witnessed the science of the benefits of dredging on the Yuba River.
In light of the amount of countering information, I can’t see the scientific basis for the regulations and I strongly oppose the Final Regulations in total as written and respectfully request the entire regulation be discarded as biased and prejudiced against suction dredging. There is simply no evidence in the record that supports the conclusions from the SEIR and the resultant regulations. While I suspect that all comments received are merely to complete your CEQA process and therefore will be ignored I will preserve my rights to continue to fight this unjustified taking of my rights by filing this letter in opposition to the regulations. The only part of the regulations I am in agreement with is “suction dredging is not deleterious to fish.” Without any qualifiers.
These rigid environmental regulations are decimating small, environmentally sound businesses which have supported local communities and have provided added income for many local families. Closing the Yuba River to dredging below Englebright dam will financially impact my 5 children who most all are going to college right now. And I am appalled at the fact that the DFG’s regulations sacrifices my rights to financially supplement my children to support unsubstantiated accusations of environmental destruction. You need to realize that you are destroying people’s livelihoods to benefit the salaries of the CEO’s of environmental non-profit groups.
Once again, I am sending you copies of pictures showing Salmon spawning in suction dredge tailings on the Yuba River just below Engle bright Dam. These very localized dredge activities have been one thing that has benefited the Salmon Habitat on this section of the Yuba River and I am very proud as a true responsible environmentalist to have helped the fish with my dredge activity. I also have mason jars full of lead and mercury that I have removed from the Yuba river. None of the studies address these benefits. The very small amount of dredging that has taken place in the last 40 years on this section of the Yuba River is not even recognizable today. The Salmon will actually suffer with no dredge activity due to the fact that we will not be providing some seasonal shallow gravels for them to spawn in. The shot rock from the building of the dam has armored the river channel and us, as dredgers, are the only mechanism that is loosening up the rock so the salmon can spawn. Obviously they aren’t going past the dam, so we are in effect creating spawning habitat ( by loosening up the gravels ) in an aquatic environment that has forever been changed by the construction of the dam. If it weren’t for our dredging, the river channel would be as solid as a concrete culvert and there would be nowhere for the fish to spawn.