The Suction Dredging War Starts in Washington: Gentlemen Do Not Start Your Engines

By Bob Ferris


The above clip came to mind when I was dealing with a recent posting on a fishing site about suction dredge mining in Washington State.  No one expects the Spanish Inquisition and most are not prepared for the onslaught of vitriol, misinformation, threats and bullying typically unleashed by the suction dredge crowd anytime anyone questions their “rights” to run wild and go motorized in our precious and vulnerable salmon-bearing waterways.  
This rapid fire electronic carpet bombing by internet trolls is part of an escalating pattern that we have seen over the past decade or so as the idea of sucking up gravel and silt from the bottom of rivers and streams using noisy machines has gained public scrutiny and attention.  
Another element of this pattern are states and federal agencies that are wholly unprepared to deal with this issue.  Collectively they have historically worked to enable and simplify permitting without giving any substantive thought to the need for monitoring, enforcement and a consideration of the cumulative and material impacts of this destructive activity—particularly in waterways with struggling salmonids.  The agencies are as unprepared for this assault as we often are.
In Washington State the agencies seem much like Bambi—the fawn portrayed above.  They have written a nice pamphlet and have a rudimentary permitting program. They have even formed some ill-advised partnerships with suction dredge miners to undertake mercury removal in spite of strong and repeated evidence that this is not a good idea. And now the “Godzilla” created by the ban in California and the restrictions in Oregon is striding purposely towards them one giant, reverberating footfall at a time.  Boom.
And who exactly is this horde presently in and now heading north to Washington State?  If you read the comments section of this site and the steelhead site as well as follow what the miners are doing in Southern Oregon, the answer to that is not positive.  In short, they are generally folks with extreme views and behaviors with a high level of resentment to regulation.  And even though they appear largely without advanced education—as evidenced by spelling, grammar and correctness of expression—they appear to lack a corresponding humility because their frequent claims to know more about law than lawyers and more about fish and fisheries impacts than ichthyologists.
Racist Tribe Quote
The suction dredge miners are also monumentally unaware.  Cascadia is a region defined by rivers frequently named for and still held sacred by tribes working hard to cling to their aquatic heritage.  These are important and valued characteristics of the region to many of us who work with tribes to fulfill the dream of recovered salmon runs and fully functioning coastal ecosystems.  This is in sharp contrast to the overtly racist tone we frequently see from suction dredgers in comment sections.  The quote above (click to enlarge) from a poster known as Terry McClure is particularly offensive but it is by no means unique.

In addition, one of the frequent commenters on the Washington dredge piece is a fellow who dredges throughout Cascadia and also sells dredge concentrates on the internet to those who want to pay $50 a pop to pan for gold.  This dredger’s LLC is called Blue Sky Gold Mining which sounds very close to the title of the song by the Australian rock group Midnight Oil—Blue Sky Mining—that became an environmental anthem highlighting the deleterious impacts of mining.  I wonder if he understands the irony in that name?
And I wonder if salmon restoration supporters, the tribes, Washington legislators and the state and federal agencies can come together to deal with the existing issue and the looming increase before our salmon and waterways pay the price of this laissez-faire approach to suction dredgers.  Join Fish not Gold and get active. 

61 thoughts on “The Suction Dredging War Starts in Washington: Gentlemen Do Not Start Your Engines

  1. William S Brown says:

    Why don’t you go after Gil netters. Tribalbways were with dip nets not nets stretched bank to bank, fishing boats taking thousands of salmon in one setting without regard to the size. The problem starts at the commercial fishing then to the tribal netters in the river or stream opening. Oh I know why they start there…..its because it will not be a win. Its not gonna be a win either way. If miners can’t dredge then I guess fishing needs to be banned as well. Fisherman leave trash and we clean it up.

  2. Public land user says:

    Simply astounding disinformation in this article.  I didn't know who Bob Ferris was, but a simple google search showed that he is a uber radical, extreme enviro nut who obviously doesn't care one bit about facts or science, only that the ",ends justify the means".

    I am an avid fisherman and back about 20 years ago when fires swept through the central California area, we, along with USFS called several gold clubs in the state to come and dredge the rivers and creeks after the fires.  Dredging creates fish habitat and there have been two studies just in CA performed by USDFG which shows conclusively that this doesn't hurt fish and both of these studies were with tax payer dollars.

    So Bob, why don't you start printing the truth instead of your propaganda?

  3. Ron Holt says:

    There is no ban on suction minning in California but a moratorium pending  the outcome of litigation before the  federal appeals court. Proposed harm is not or has it ever been a scientific basis for banning any activity We in California have withstood 3 EIR reports costing the state millions of dollars, and each one finds no signifigant harm from suction minning. On the contrary they have found signifigant benefit in mercury and other heavy metal remediation. Like lead sinkers and lead shot,, a by product of both hunters and fisherman.  We loosen impacted gravel beds for optimum spawning, and in low flow streams where tempertures tend to run to warm for salmonids and other gamefish, the depressions we leave provide cold water resting spots for migrating fish, thus relieving gill rot. Our machines capture 97 percent of mercury and other heavy metals. And if a minimum of selenium is introducted, naturally occuring in most soils, methy mercury can be mitigated out of existence. If being informed and studying what the foremost experts on this subject to find the truth makes me a bully, you have my permission to refer to me as the 800 pound gorilla in the room.

      And lastly, I have been a fisherman and spent a good deal of time under water, and I have never seen anything but the fish population thrive.. Everyday that we come back to our mining spots our holes, our friends are waiting for us. However I do find it ironic that a group as a whole, whose so purpose it is to legally kill as many fish as their state will allow has unmitigated gall to say that we miners are bad for fishing, without anything more than a 503 C, proposed harm, and not one scientific bit of information….

     This is a direct quote from a brief in support of the Center for Biodiversity in the Chilton Ranch case

    "In the appeals process, Amicus briefs were filed by environmental corporations that advocated for the Center for Biological Diversity’s right to lie, defame, misrepresent and practice a reckless disregard for the truth as long as their intentions were to advance their “environmental” agenda. Big names that chimed in with Amicus briefs to OK the Center’s defamatory actions were The Sierra Club, Forest Guardians, Arizona Wildlife Federation and the Maricopa Audubon Society."



  4. bob says:

    Mr. Perlot,

    I am not at all uncomfortable with someone associated with the American Mining Rights Association call me an uber radical. As to the two literature reviews (EIRs), your claim is tired and missleading (see:

    Bob Ferris


  5. bob says:

    Dear Ron,

    While I suspect that this got you one or two electronic high fives on the American Mining Rights Association facebook page, it is a collection of fabrication, misdirection and guilt by association.  That you, Mr. Perlot and others from California are jumping on this and the steelhead post only emphasizes the correctness of my Godzilla analogy for Washington state as we see this ill-advised and distructive hobby migrate north.  That you all continue to misrepresent the implications of the findings of the CDFG EIRs as indications of no harm (see: when they are very narrow in nature and very conditional is dishonest.  And bringing up a 10-year old lawsuit, with quotes from the investment banker rancher for another group seems the weakest type of far removed guilt by association.

    Bob Ferris


  6. Ron Holt says:

    Bob have you ever read the EIRS, cause your lnks goes to a petition to the governor?????? Your actions are typical of the rest of the parasitic green groups, Make and assumption, make unsubstantiated charges, provide know scientific facts, invent sue and settle and other illegal activities to advance your agenda. The ends always justifies the means. PS other than fishing, I have never harmed a fish in my life.

  7. Salmonhabitatrestorationdevice says:

    Wh don't the environmentalists stick to scientific studies that show de minimus impact time and time again? See the above post. The ends justifies the means in their eyes. Who's next?the fishermen? River boating? Hunting?  Whether you enviros realize it or not you are doing your children and their children a great disservice and we will fight you tooth and nail using truth as our weapon. Spread your lies. We will spread knowledge.

  8. Ron Holt says:

    PS,,, Nicholas Perlot was a Belgian immigrant, miner, who died over a hundred years ago.

  9. Frank Matyus says:

    Thank you Ron

    why would the Sierra Fund want to use a dredge on the Combie

    is it because the SWRCB used a 4" dredge on the American river and reported a 98% efficency in the collection of Hg

  10. bob says:


    I guess part of the problem of typing and trying to have a conversation with my wife at the same time.  I was visitng that link because it was one that AMRA and others in your camp are promoting that calls the situation in CA a “ban” which you criticized me over. Sorry for the wrong link.  Yes I have read the literature reviews contained in the CDFG’s (now CDFW) and know many of the scientists involved in the studies–I did my undergraduate and graduate work in CA.  Here is the proper link:  

    More than 20 years ago I worked for an organization that helped corporations manage their lands for the benefit of wildlife–the board was half environmental and half corporate executives. During that time we commissioned a study on how corporate environmental compliance,pubic profile and regulatory attitude influenced regulatory agency trust and exercise of latitude. The basic conclusions of the report were that corporations that acted environmentally responsibly, were perceived by the public as responsible and worked with the agencies in restricting themselves in reasonable manner were granted latitude and were more profitable.  By these measures, the suction dredging community has done pretty much all that they can do to not develop any trust or get any latitude.  

    In more than 30 years working as a professional biologists I have met many players and seen many tactics employed, but the suction dredge cmmunity is by far one of the worst in terms misrepresentations, threats, bullying, active resistance to regulation, and blatant violations that I have seen.  You trying to seem reasonable, sympathetic and a fisherman is just another page out of your playbook (see the post by Miner Rick here  We have simply had enough of you and others using these pathetic and transperent tactics.

    Bob Ferris 



  11. bob says:

    How can you claim to spread the “truth” when most of you will not even spread your tailings?  

    Bob Ferris

  12. Frank Matyus says:

    you can't post anything on the site FISH NOT GOLD ifn it's not thier pillassphy

  13. bob says:

    Their philosophy is to let people post until they get abusive or are posting materials that are purposely misleading and factually challenged. 

  14. bob says:

    Frank, This is an ethically challenged and sadly racist post.  Your implied purpose in posting it is to argue that the Yuroks behave criminally and therefore are not to be trusted.  Additional posts of this nature will not be tolerated.

    Bob Ferris

  15. bob says:

    I can only call him or her what they call themselves.  If they chose to cloak themselves and used an assumed name it reflects only on the value of their comments.


  16. bob says:

    You are trying to imply that recreational suction dredging is an appropriate method for mercury removal, this is not the conclusion drawn by the state and the independent peer-reviewer that thought that the state underestimated the impacts.  Here is a quote from the mercury section: This is a quote from Because the report does not consider all potential impacts of mercury on the system, the conclusion that mercury‟s effects are „significant and unavoidable‟ can be considered conservative.  Link to the full report here:

  17. Ron Holt says:

    I ask for science, you send links to your site, why not just read the the three EIRS done by Fish and Game???? I am guessing that they the millions o f dollars and the years that they spent qualifies them as spreading misstruths. Except for fishing Bob, I have never killed a fish, how about you?

  18. bob says:

    Ron, I have read the EIRs.  I have also read the primary literature and talked with some of the authors about the findings and methodolgy.  And I have talked with scientists at the American Fisheries Society (fisheries) and Xerces Society (invertebrates) about the direct and food chain impacts of suction dredging.  The answers consistently come back that the activity has impacts ranging from the minimal to the profound but none of them argue that it has no impact.  And even some of the minimal impacts such as killing most of the investebrates within the direct dredge area for 30 days may seem temporary and minimal but if you are a small,growing fish that is terretorial that can mean the difference between survival and not surviving.  

    As to your comment about fish being your friends, the only response I can make is go across the street and fire up your dredge in your neighbor’s livingroom.  Then take their couch and put it in the bathroom and their diningroom table in their bedroom for good measure. Then ask them if they are your friends.  The “hole” argument and fish waiting to greet you is such a silly argument. For every hole you make the silt and debris you generate simply fills another one.  

    I am a scientist who has spent his life studying natural systems and their functions.  I spend a lot of time on rivers and am very, very cautious in my actions around these waters.  I spent today working with my wife to install another rain barrel so that we collect and conserve water in a manner that leads to less siltation and recharged aquifers.  You spent the day trying to justify your use of destructive machinery in waters owned by all citizens for your own personal gain and you question my motivations. Really?

    Bob Ferris

  19. Kim says:


    Thank you for your excellent piece.  

    Kim McDonald

  20. Ron Holt says:

    I applaud your efforts and wish that you were as concerned at reading the EIRS. I asked for fact and once again you offer NOTHING. It would seem that noise is your biggest gripe, and I would say that a small lawnmower type engine pales in size and noise and chemical pollutants that almost every boat motor on the west coast. Given those circumstances if you were really concerned you would be advocating for the removal of all boats in inland waters. I also find it very offensive when I find my claims littered with led and deadly fishing hooks, maybe I should start a non profit to get you thrown out of the water, and maybe sue the government to get the funds to get that accomplished. I always thought science was to be objective, but you my friend have proven that not to be the case. I wish you a long and happy life killing fish. I tire of your lack of responses:-)

  21. Richard Engstrand says:

    Bob – if you had the slightest modicum of integrity, you would admit that "red-necked poor people

    and farmers are no longer welcome in your attempt to re-pristine the watersheds of the west."

    What baffles me, is that you could have accomplished the same goal, by levying exhorbitant

    fines on the noise and the silting.  At least that would be honest. 

  22. Angel Lund says:

    PLEASE look up the "REAL" facts before you comdem all Small Scale Miners!  We are not ignorant nor uneducated.  Many of us are teachers, doctors, environmentalists and are the people you see every day in your community, colleges and work.  Small Scale Miners in addition to removing Lead and Mercury from the water, are also the people out there pulling noxious weeds by hand, and remove trash and other contaminants from public lands.  How many days per year do you spend cleaning up the environment?

    As for Washington State's Gold and Fish Regulations, several years ago the government, environmentalists and the mining community developed comprehensive rules and regulations to insure that all waterways and all fish (not just salmon) were protected.

    Instead of bully and insulting us, we should be standing together to keep our public lands open so that they can be enjoyed by everyone!  Remember that every BLM and Forest road that gets blocked or closed to moterized travel is closed to the handicapped!!  And that is not in the best interest of the public.



  23. bob says:

    Angel, Are you really thinking this post makes your point.  And please remember we have seen your people in the rivers, testifying in state houses and commenting on facebook and blogs. And we have read Miner Rick’s advise to mining advocates:

    “THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT- they [Gold Pan California] want you to sign in as joe public and NOT AS MINERS. Create a name like “naturelover2” or “fielddreamer” or “soccermom” or something that makes you sound like you are the public and NOT MINERS. They want you to make pro-miner comments, but not to the point that you sound like miners- they want it to sound like you are the common public standing up for the miners.  There needs to be a lot of buzz on this so it gets picked up by bigger and bigger press. The more buzz we create about the topic, the more exposure it will get.” E-mail by Rick Solinsky suction dredger and co-founder of Western Mining Alliance.  – See more at:

  24. Mark H says:

    To my fellow prospectors and miners:

    I see they have allowed Mr Ferris out again.

    Please do not disturb or upset Mr Ferris by responding to his mindless scribbles.

    Because as you prove him wrong, which makes him madder. He in his own mind will try to respond to you with more mindless scribbles. Then he gets so confused in his own mind that……well we all know what happens then.

    Keep in mind that poor old Mr Ferris, who couldn’t make it in the real world on his own.

    Has resorted to bottom feeding off other peoples money just to try to make it in life.

    As he realizes that the bottom feeding is running out, Mr Ferris tries more mindless scribbles to stir the pot. Just to see if it will bring more bottom feeding.


    Thank You……..for not upsetting…Mr Ferris




     Mark H.

  25. The Lurker says:

    Name-calling and personal abuse…the dredgers just can't resist pulling that one out of their playbook.  The comments above also display the usual distortion and misrepresentation of legitimate scientific studies as well as the dredgers' eager citation of junk science, for example, articles by two ex-EPA scientists who are dredgers themselves but not fisheries biologists.

    I congratulate the author, Bob Ferris, for exposing dredger propaganda, and look forward to future contributions by him on the same subject.

  26. V says:

    I am a small time miner primarily using just a sluice box and a gold pan. I have a degree in Geography and I am educated. Are u against my activities on a stream or river as well, or does it just pertain to dredging??

  27. bob says:

    If you behave responsibly and do not damage the support systems for fish and the food chains they depend on, I do not have a problem with your operations.  I do not think that is possible with most suction dredging.  The piece explicitly says engines for a reason.



  28. Informed citizen says:

    bob ferris you should be ashamed of yourself. Your radical views, deliberate misinformation, and an all out assault on the fundamental rights of the people. Your BUSINESS profits from this and you bend the will of the government to your side with your corrupt money. A business is not the people and the people are not calling for this only radical environmental groups are!! You and your constituents messed up California so badly that you emmigrated to Oregon and are forcing the passing of radical environmental laws messing with this state and it's people. You are now going to  try and pull the wool over peoples eyes in Washington!! Shame on you and your agenda!!

  29. bob says:


    Stereo King, We have had this discussion before.  You are not an “informed citizen” rather you are a fairly new suction dredger miner who has posted repeatedly in dredging forums about how to skirt regulations and whether or not you can get away with dredging outside of season closings.  


  30. fish & gold says:

    I personally love fishing and gold mining. I live in a state where it is already ilegal to use a dredge on public land. Its a sad state this country has come to where groups of people can influence lawmakers into stopping others from their persuit of happiness. What is really sad is the ones who would ban others are acting out of greed and selfishness. What they don't realize is they are merely pawns of the true enviro extremists whose ultimate goal is to return all nature to nature and remove all human activity. Dredging today, netting tomorrow, then fishing, hunting, biking, hiking, and on and on until you can't even enter the public lands without breaking the law. Every group banned in less support to keep the lands open to us, our children, and our grandchildren. With millions upon millions of acres of public lands you would think there is enough for all Americans to enjoy. Here it began with dredging and spread to rock collecting, metal detecting, artifact hunting, and I see one activity after another being stripped away from us. You will keep backing these enviro nuts until spreading a blanket for a picinic will be seen as harm to some plant and insect life. Wake up and stop thinking about yourself as you are on the edangered species list for public land usage as well as the dredgers.

  31. Informed citizen says:

    Nothing but personal attacks from bob ferris he won't let facts get in his way!!

  32. Informed citizen says:



    Join Date: Apr 2013

    Location: Eugene, Oregon

    Posts: 605


    Re: SB838B on Suction Dredging Passed the Senate and House


    Originally Posted by stereoking15

    Our Humdrum life? So now you are attacking the integrity and lifestyle of me and other miners, ATV riders, hunters, and fishermen because you do not agree with it because we choose a different lifestyle and activities then yours? I choose to be hardworking and can actually man handle something and take pride in hard work while you probably only lift a finger far enough to type in some sort of office. You sir are a coward for even making said statement and you utterly disgust me for inferring that my life or other miners are living a humdrum life. It is in fact the purpose that we bond with our parents, kids, and other miners through this act of dredging that makes it a social act since we humans are social beings. If you look at most river bottoms it is bedrock and therefore a dredge is not going to impact anything unless you drill or use dynamite on it, I for one stick to the gravel bars and suck up on the leading edge so I'm not dredging in the center of the river like you must think we do. Like I have said numerous times have YOU personally witnessed and experienced a properly run dredging operation? If not please do us all a favor and not discuss this further. I am tired of you linking this or that to "scientific fact" unless you have experienced it first hand I don't want to hear anything further from you because you are starting to sound like tom cruise.

    It is a little hard for me to suffer your righteous indignation with a straight face when I read your posts like the one below on Oregon Gold Hunters:

    Not really the sentiments of someone who respects the law or wants to protect salmon and steelhead for future generations. Since this was within your first post on Oregon Gold Hunters and appeared to be your first suction dredging experience in Oregon, I cannot say that I am too terribly sorry that you will likely not be getting another permit in Oregon.


    My response below



    Join Date: Jul 2013

    Posts: 32


    Re: SB838B on Suction Dredging Passed the Senate and House


    Originally Posted by bobferris

    It is a little hard for me to suffer your righteous indignation with a straight face when I read your posts like the one below on Oregon Gold Hunters:

    Not really the sentiments of someone who respects the law or wants to protect salmon and steelhead for future generations. Since this was within your first post on Oregon Gold Hunters and appeared to be your first suction dredging experience in Oregon, I cannot say that I am too terribly sorry that you will likely not be getting another permit in Oregon.

    Yes you are correct I did post that and was referring with dredging with the permit "out of season" and why it was limited to only July and what the negative effect would be. I had a response of said consequences and did not go. SO YES I did respect the law and did not go till the end of June through early July to Quartzville creek with permit in hand which dredging started June 1st this is still new to me and am learning the rules, regulations, and laws so yes I will ask questions of why things are they way they are and question the status quo. I asked this question mainly for my own curiosity due to the government issuing the mining law of 1872 and how could they restrict the usage so much. If you also look to when I posted this was back in January 2013 I have been a member since July 2011. I am constantly learning and asking why to gain more knowledge, so it is me learning and the others are teaching me. It is not my intent on breaking laws only to find out why those laws exist. Since these laws are state imposed and not federally imposed the state laws conflict with federal mining act of 1872 so I was curious if someone had fought and won.

    Last edited by stereoking15; 07-11-2013 at 08:10 PM.


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    07-11-2013, 08:18 PM



    Join Date: Jul 2013

    Posts: 32


    Re: SB838B on Suction Dredging Passed the Senate and House

    Bob since that post I have done some research as to why the in water work periods are in place and have come to an understanding and appreciate the fact that they are there to protect the fish. I am still green in this hobby but I hate the fact that it will be taken from me so early getting into it and others affected. I like the fact that you are checking up on me since that means you are curious to who I really am and what I'm all about. Please I encourage you to read all my posts and see the good time I had with my family.


  33. bob says:

    Somehow this just happened to drop out of the above text.  

  34. Informed citizen says:

    Like I said and stated on ifish bob ferris I as a conscious human being able to discern and make decisions I CHOSE not to do dredge outside of the in water work period. I once again as stated made a decision based on responses and was educated on the matter and CHOSE not to dredge. You ASSUMED that I would or did and want to circumvent the "law" or its "intent" once again that is not the case. The last post is in response on ifish. Do we need to revisit this again? I gave an explanation last time and you trying to discredit me will not work and this defamation of character will not be stood for!

  35. bob says:

    The intent of your comment on that site and others are pretty clear.

  36. bob says:

    I am wondering if you truly understand the sublime irony of your comments?

  37. Informed citizen says:

    As I said in the past it's your interpretation and you have it mixed up I gave you a reasonable and logical explanation to tell you my side. I have stated MY intent and you chose to ignore it. I know it's your job to discredit anyone who has a differing opinion than you. My question is why not work with the miners themselves and the mining clubs? You completly abandoned that step and went right for the jugular and went for an all out assault on banning dredging. Why not get everyone involved and create a solution (which was already in place)?

  38. BSMiner, aka Tom Cullen says:

    I guessed correctly that my post from last night would be deleted, exposing Mr. Ferris as a hypocrite. "Do as I say, not as I do". (Please see: ) showing (proudly!) fire rings he created, causing air pollution (smoke), eyesore (fire ring where there was not one before, leaving unnaturally burned wood scattered about), and a probable case of serious ash run-off into the streams. All because he 'forgot' his camp stove… in July.

    His mothership organization severely frowns upon this kind of activity, encouraging a "leave no trace" policy – Mr. Ferris and his compatriots absolutely left a trace… one that will be visible for years.

    If you are going to pull up posts out of context from other sites, you must allow others to do the same on your site.

    Free exchange if information is what this country is about, Mr Ferris. Are you afraid of your opposition? Knowing the miners have long established law, and facts from numerous impartial studies behind us?

    In the morning I'm calling the Sierra Club Gestapo and ask them to pay a visit to Mr. Ferris and revoke his "green" card.

    (posting far and wide – and I expect you'll pull down that blog and others. no matter. I've got a copy of your entire website. Also, anything this site has ever contained is available on the "wayback machine" – the internet archive. You are a hypocrite, sir.)

  39. bob says:

    BSMiner, I checked the activity log and I do not show a record of you posting last night. You did post on the steelhead site a message very similar to this and this was my answer: 

    First we have no official connection with Sierra Club and the post in question was from a fellow staffer and not me, but it will remain on the site. I agree on the fire issue and think that they should be engaged in sparingly, if at all. My 75-mile river trip ( did not include any fires and we packed all our trash and poop out. And we thought carefully about where we camped and made sure that site looked better after me left than it did when we got there.

    It is interesting that miner make a point of these sorts of activities because they have all these impact and they tear up stream beds, spill gas and make noises in the water that disturb fish.

  40. Joe of Pville says:

    Bob, in your studies, did you ever spend time with a mining group, or miner that dredged for say a week or more and experience the activity?  Possibly where you could check the activity of the wild life and fish of the areas that were dredged so you could make a real conclusion as to the effects of this activity. You would know that if those that use a dredge do so for the thrill of finding gold and making money. It is an expense of considerable funds to be able to conduct. Hard work as well, which those that do, don't mind. If this activity for some, or livelehood for those that own claims was harmful in any way to the environment, it would not be pursued. Fact is that from year to year you can not find the effects from dredging because the winter rains come and replenish the holes dredged with gravels washed from the hillsides from the previous summer, so no evidence of this is known. It is a harvest, just like farming. So my question is why do environmentalists want to shut down gold dredging without really understanding what is? 

  41. bob says:


    This is on its face a specious argument.  Thousands of pages have been written about and speculating on the impacts of suction dredging. Professional societies of scientists have examined this issue and concluded that it is not an appropriate use of rivers.  Your argument that I should not be opposed to the practice because I have not personally performed tests to assess the impacts is not a logical one. And I am not sure that agriculture per se is a good exemplar because uncontroled agricultural activities have given us the dead zone in Gulf of Mexico and Physteria outbreaks in the Chesapeake Bay.  You participate in an activity that causes material damage to salmon-bearing waterways such as degrading the stability of gravel beds and riffles making them more succeptable to scouring.  That is unacceptable in a landscape where we are investing millions in tax payer monies to recover those same species.


  42. Joe of Pville says:

    So no personal experience is involved. Just thousands of pages  to conclude your findings. I'm not saying you should oppose this as many do. Hands on experience is how I became facinated with this type of mining, and there is from my experience, no harm to fish and wildlife as I see it.  How many of those who wrote these pages ever experienced dredging? Dredging in Ca. on the American river was done above Folsom dam where salmon could not go. The ladders for them are on the lower part below the dam.

  43. bob says:


    I started my academic career as an ichthylogists and early on in my consulting career I did some hydrological work so I have a background in how materials move and the consquences. Moreover, I have observed suction dredgers and also watched hours of videos made by your compatriots as well as consulting with many fisheries biologists and hydrologists on the subject as well.  I suspect your ability to assess harm to fish and wildlife is limited and you have spent little time studing these aquatic systems to even know what you have been observing or even what to look for. Your argument is not a strong one as I suspect that many understand the risk of many activities without having to experience them personally–that is in essence one of the basic values of education.

  44. Public Land User says:

    Pretty typical of you to obfuscate Bob.  YOU may get tired of the facts, the tax-payer funded scientific studies performed, but the public land users don't.  And they don't agree with your radical agenda.

    If you'd like to debate facts and not resort to childish Alinsky tactics, let us know.  We don't fall into your little antics.

  45. Public land user says:

    Bob, in reading all of your comments in here I have a question for you.  Are you 14 years old?  Your emotional instability reveals your inability to form an argument in favor of your agenda.  Why don't you go out and hire some scientists and do your own studies since the tax payers have already funded 3 with conclusive, irrefutable evidence that small scale mining does not hurt fish.

    Liberalism is a religion to you isn't it?

  46. bob says:

    The “studies” you refer to are reports based on lierature reviews and we have covered this ground before.  They do not say that suction dredging is without impacts (see  

  47. bob says:

    Thank you for your kind remarks.  I do not have to hire a scientist because I am a scientist.  Moreover, those studies that you constantly refer to are not studies but reports based upon literature reviews.  And what is yur background?  


  48. bob says:


    Many of the us were just treated what you feel passes for honest dialog on your American Mining Rights Association facebook page.  When people asked respectful questions they were soon blocked from your site. Do you really think that people did not see what you did?

    Bob Ferris


  49. Joe of Pville says:

    One thing about education, it doesn't teach you how to take a risk. Life in its self is a risk. Dredging is not a  risk for fish and wildlife. It has to be experienced not read about. It is about the freedom to pusue happiness for those that do without the harming of others. Of the 3,600 permitted dredgers throughout the state of Ca., there are 60,000 miles of waterways that were open during the summer months while fish were not spawning. Hardly enough to make it illegal. It's easy to crush a small group to fit an agenda. Bob, come out behind all those pages and experience real life.  

  50. bob says:

    Joe, Plumbing is a fine profession, but it does not normally prepare you to see or understand complex ecosystems or the impacts of various activities on those ecosystems or supporting food chains.  That is why we ask those trained in that field to look at these issues like the folks at the American Fisheries Society who testified in support of the California legislation as well as the more recent action in Oregon.  Peope call you when they have a plumbing problem and call ichthyologists when they have a question about fish.  Simple as that.

    Bob Ferris

  51. Frank Matyus says:

    why would the sierra fund want to use a cutterhead dredge on the combie?

  52. chuck says:



  53. Wes says:

    I have a question. If suction mining for gold is so detrimental for our streams and rivers then why after almost fifty years of it are there no documented cases of anyone becoming ill or dying from eating mercury cantaminated fish.  Why are the streams still healthy with fish and other aquadic life.  I'll tell you why because banning suction dredging because of mercury is not about fish or other aquadic habitat its all about the money in federal grants that these enviromental groups receive to go out and put together some scientific mumbo jumbo. 

  54. Wes says:

    The one and only reason these environmentalists do what they do and its all of them for what ever their agenda is is because of the money they receive in grants.  They all have found a way to make a very lucritive living off the backs of the tax paying citizenship.  Do you think Izzy Martin of the Seirra Fund would care about mercury if the cause wasn't connected to millions and millions of tax payer funded grants.  These environmentalists are all Intellectuals.  That's a person who is over educated, little or no common sense and with no real world experience knowing how to do anything.

  55. vinnie says:

    wait until the grass carp from the midwest begin to be deposited in cali waterways….there are plans to bring literally millions of eggs from the midwest to californias waterways… gold dredging, then no salmon….the grass carp will eat the food and the salmon eggs (after all, they are also gods creatures and deservew their share of caviar alos, no lib-tards?)… gold dredging, no more salmon!

  56. bob says:

    Please provide some references for your claims of plans to import carp eggs from the Midewest.  

    Bob Ferris

Comments are closed.