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Suction dredging river impact minimal

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Re: “Suction dredging ban a drain for miners,” (Journal, July 18). The problem begins with assumptions, “hypotheticals presented as fact,” or twisted misinformation creating fear, and based on the flawed premise that the river/stream is a stable environment. The natural hydrological, geological processes provide continual eroding, moving and rebuilding of the “riverine” environment. Suction dredging recovers mercury by 90 to 98 percent, by scientific efficiency models and studies. “Smothering of fish eggs” is unlikely. Suction dredging regulations typically close waterways during sensitive fishery times. Swimmers and fisherman wading in the water, by just sheer numbers, are more likely to negatively impact the fish eggs. In addition, there is no scientific proof of a fish being killed or injured by a suction dredger. Suction dredging aerates and loosens “armored” bed material, creates fresh gravel areas for spawning, efficiently removes mercury, bird shot and lead weights, creates safe haven for “fry” from predators and “cold water and current” refuge. Forty years of suction dredging by small-scale miners and the impact, both aesthetically and environmentally, is nonexistent. It is the “best methods practice” of any placer mining method. Long-term EPA and the (US Army) Corps of Engineers studies have concluded its impact on the environment is “de minimus.” Robin Lee, Auburn