Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law a bill (SB 670) placing a moratorium on suction dredge mining in California. This is a huge victory for paddlers, anglers, and anyone who enjoys California's rivers.
In AW's official letter to regarding this issue we mentioned multiple efforts being made by all who use the rivers, recreationally and commercially, to protect the plants and wildlife that call these rivers home. These efforts seemed in vain, when miners weren't subjected to the same environmental standards. Mining legislation and regulation in California is over 140 years old, and anyone with a mind to find some gold in the river could strap a car engine to the back of a boat, rig it to vacuum, and pull up the entire riverbed (plants, amphibians and insects included) without fear of consequences.
This recession has hit everyone where it hurts, the wallet. Mining activity has increased, partly due to the recession, but also thanks to a record level for the price of gold. Suction dredge mining is destructive, to say the least, and with more miners on the rivers the effects were becoming far reaching. This moratorium comes not a moment too soon.