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North American green sturgeon
Pacific lamprey
San Jose Mercury News, August 6, 2009

Governor signs bill banning river gold dredges
By Jeff Barnard, Associated Press

HAPPY CAMP, Calif.—Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a bill that temporarily halts a popular form of small-scale gold mining in California rivers.

The bill signed Thursday in Sacramento is part of a long-standing campaign by the Karuk Tribe on the Klamath River and environmental groups to restore salmon runs in Northern California.

The new law bans miners from using small gasoline-powered dredges to glean flecks of gold from river bottoms until an environmental review determines how much it harms salmon.

About 3,500 permits are issued each year for suction dredge mining in California, where people come from around the country to experience the rush of finding raw gold.

Copyright © 2009 - San Jose Mercury News

Photo © Paul S. Hamilton