Gold war



Tis the season for dredge miners to dust off their campers and mosey into the mountains for river gold.

Tis also budget season, and the Karuk Tribe and California Trout have asked Gov. Schwarzenegger to endorse a provision that the state legislature added to the 2008 Budget Bill that would place a moratorium on suction dredge mining. The groups say the moratorium will protect fish -- like the endangered coho -- in the Klamath and other rivers. Dredging, they say, kicks up toxic mercury that settled into riverbeds after gold smelting at mines in the 1800s, among other bad things.

"The groups’ call to limit the recreational mining technique comes as California faces the worst fisheries collapse in history," says the news release .

The miners, meanwhile, are on it. On the New 49er’s members forum , they’ve outlined an action plan that includes pumping up their deflated war chest to fund "an aggressive lobbying offensive." As part of that, they’re holding a drawing: "Our girls in the office will print your tickets as we receive contributions ," writes Dave Mack.

But, he admonishes, "this is more important than winning prizes. It is about defending our right to continue prospecting for gold in California."

We wrote about this last August.

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