02/17/2012
Revised suction gold dredging regulations for California are now available
We just received notification from Mark Stopher, Department of Fish & Game, that the revised suction gold dredging regulations for California have been released.

We have not yet had the opportunity to review them, but wanted to make them available immediately to our readers so they can be thoroughly reviewed and comments can be submitted in a timely manner. However, we've already found one major problem -- the Notice of Revised Regulations states that comments will only be accepted until 5pm on March 5, 2012. 

We suggest you immediately contact the agency via email at dfgsuctiondredge@dfg.ca.gov or by phone at (530) 225-2275 to request an extension of the comment period so our readers will have adequate time to submit comments.

Scott Harn
Editor
ICMJ's Prospecting and Mining Journal
Following is the notification, schedule and comment deadline information from Mark Stopher:

Interested Parties
Today, February 17, 2012 the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is releasing proposed regulations for suction dredge mining in California. DFG released an earlier draft of these regulations for public review in February 2011. Two versions of the currently proposed regulations are attached. The first version is a plain text presentation of the currently proposed regulations. The second version includes all changes, using underline/strikeout formatting, based on the regulations originally adopted in 1994, the modifications proposed in February 2011 and the additional modifications currently proposed. I have also attached the Notice of Availability and Opportunity to Comment.
Copies of the revised regulations are also available for public review at the following DFG offices:
  • 601 Locust Street, Redding
  • 701 Nimbus Road, Suite A, Rancho Cordova
  • 1807 13th Street, Suite 104, Office of Communications, Sacramento
  • 7329 Silverado Trail, Napa
  • 1234 E. Shaw Avenue, Fresno
  • 3883 Ruffin Road, San Diego
  • 4665 Lampson Avenue, Suite J, Los Alamitos
  • 3602 Inland Empire Blvd., Suite C-220, Ontario
  • 20 Lower Ragsdale Drive, Suite 100, Monterey
Public Comment: The opportunity for public review of the revised regulations begins on Friday, February 17, 2012.The public comment period closes at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, March 5, 2012. All comments must be postmarked or received by DFG on or before that date and time. The revised regulations, all related written comments received by DFG, including the names and addresses of commenters, and DFG’s responses to written comments, will be included in the DFG’s official public record.

Please mail or hand-deliver written comments to DFG at: Suction Dredge Program, Revisions to Proposed Amendments, Department of Fish and Game, Northern Region, 601 Locust Street, Redding, CA 96001.
Written comments may also be submitted to DFG via email at: dfgsuctiondredge@dfg.ca.gov. Please include the following in the subject line for all comments submitted via email: Comments re Revisions to Proposed Amendments.
 
On February 28, 2011, DFG released proposed regulations for public review, along with a related environmental analysis prepared in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act. The original public review period closed on May 10, 2011, and DFG has worked since then to review comments and related information received from the public. DFG has determined that revisions to the proposed regulations, as originally noticed, are appropriate.
The proposed regulations are intended to avoid and substantially lessen to the extent feasible any significant impacts from suction dredging authorized by DFG. Compared to the regulations provided for public review in February 2011, the revisions provide more efficient permit management, account for further evaluation of species distributions and life histories, and make related adjustments to the proposed regulations to ensure that authorized suction dredging is not deleterious to fish.

DFG expects to release the related Final Subsequent Environmental Impact Report on March 7, 2012.
Additional information is available at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/suctiondredge/ .
 
Mark Stopher
Senior Policy Advisor
California Department of Fish and Game
601 Locust Street
Redding, CA 96001

voice 530.225.2275
fax 530.225.2391