Public Workshops on Protecting Water Quality from Suction Dredging

The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) is holding five public workshops in January and February 2017 to solicit input on potential actions the SWRCB can take to protect water quality from suction dredge mining.

For the dates and locations of the public workshops, click this link, or see below.

The problem: Suction dredge mining has significant implications for public health and the environment. Suction dredge mining impairs water quality by mobilizing sediment and toxic heavy metals, like mercury left over from historic mining. This re-suspended mercury can become bioavailable to work its way into the food chain and contaminate the fish we eat. Furthermore, the practice degrades fish and wildlife habitat and impacts culturally and historically significant sites.

The current state of affairs: Under new state law (Senate Bill 637) suction dredge mining must comply with the federal Clean Water Act, enforced by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). The SWRCB is currently seeking public comments concerning potential actions to protect water quality from suction dredge mining, which could include prohibiting any use of, or method of using, suction dredging equipment.

How you can help: Make your voice heard to protect our water!

Attend one of the five Water Board workshops taking place in January and February across the state. For the dates and locations of the public workshops, click this link, or see below.

Submit comments to the State Water Board no later than February 28, 2017. Let the Water Board know that they should exercise the authority provided in SB 637 to prohibit suction dredge mining. In the Water Board’s own words, a moratorium or permanent prohibition of suction dredging is the “only and most cost-effective way to fully mitigate all significant water quality impacts,” (SWRCB, March 11, 2013). Click here for a sample letter that you can download, edit and send to the Water Board.

For instructions on how to submit comments, refer to the Public Notice or the Frequently Asked Questions documents on the SWRCB Suction Dredge Mining website by following this link.

Spread the word! Be sure your network knows about this important opportunity to protect the water quality of California rivers. Print this one-page action alert and share it with your partners and friends. Encourage stakeholders to attend the public workshops and submit comments to the State Water Board.

Further Resources:

State Water Board Suction Dredge Mining Website

Notice of Public Workshops to Solicit Input Regarding Potential Water Board Actions to Protect Water Quality from Suction Dredge Mining

Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Potential Water Board Actions to Protect Water Quality from Suction Dredge Mining Discharges

State Water Board Public Workshop Schedule:

Tuesday, January 17, 2017
1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Falls Event Center
4105 W Figarden Drive
Fresno, CA 93722

Wednesday, January 18, 2017
1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Elks Lodge
2055 Elks Drive
San Bernardino, CA 92404

Tuesday, January 24, 2017
4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Karuk Community Room
39051 Highway 96
Orleans, CA 95556

Wednesday, January 25, 2017
1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Redding City Chambers
747 Auditorium Drive
Redding, CA 96001

Monday, February 6, 2017
1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Joe Serna Jr. – CalEPA
Headquarters Bldg.
Byron Sher Auditorium
1001 I Street, Second Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814

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