Suction dredge mining, unfortunately, has been used for decades to prospect for gold and other rare minerals in many waterways. The method involves a high-pressure water pump that vacuums up rocks, gravel, and sediment, stirring up and re-distributing sediment and gravel wherever they’re prospecting.
According to the Yakima Herald, the new bill, HB 1261, would prohibit suction dredge mining in all critical habitat areas at all times. Other forms of mineral prospecting would still be allowed.”
The Herald also spoke with Crystal Elliot, the Washington habitat director for Trout Unlimited, [who] said taxpayers have invested for years in restoring water quality and fish habitat, an investment countered by outdated motorized dredging laws.
“Today, our lawmakers remedied this glaring oversight in our regulations,” she said.
The bill is now headed to Washington State Governor Jay Inslee’s desk, who is expected to sign it into law, which will take effect later this year.
Source: Yakima Herald.