JR BOI

Epa Shuts Down Idaho Rivers To Dredgers

70 posts in this topic


Well, the EPA regulations have made its way to Idaho and we are getting visibility to the new General Permit requirements as authorized under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. The General Permit (GP) requirements are outlined in a 41 page document and has stated that recreational dredging and placer mining is not allowed on the Boise, Payette, Priest, Salmon and Snake Rivers.  Although I was expecting them to make a stance, I was a bit surprised that they were able to implement it this year.  Although there are a couple creeks close to
Boise where you can still operate a dredge, the pressure they will receive as a result of the rivers above being closed will be incredible and it will be hard to maintain the 800 ft requirement between dredges as outlined in the EPA GP.  Additionally, we will be limited to 4 hours of operation a day and 8 cubic yards of material. 
 

For the entire season we are limited to 60, 4-hour days on Mores creek and 84, 4-hour days on Grimes creek over the course of the season.  However, In these two drainages all of the dredgers will be required to file a Notice of Intent as part of the EPA Permit requirement and once they receive all of the applications, they will allocate hours to dredgers based on demand.  In other word, if demand is greater than allowable dredge hours on the creeks in question, your total number of 4 hour days will be limited.  Although I'd never come close to this kind of time on the creeks, the 4 hour limit is troublesome.  For all of you dredgers, you know that a four hour run is hardly worth the time of setting up all the gear.  Additionally, the year-end reporting requirements are very administrative burdensome and not what I signed up for as a recreational prospector.  This is indeed a sad state of affairs for the state of Idaho which has such a rich and historic tradition in the mining industry.  

 

FYI, as a point of reference there were only ~1,000 dredge permits issued in 2011 through the Idaho Division of Water Resources!

 

JR



 

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This is all nonsense from the EPA.

 

I'll go into more detail later but here are a few points to consider:

 

1. The EPA is not in charge of permitting dredging on navigable waters of the United States, the Army Corps of Engineers is. The EPA just got spanked by the Supreme Court for interfering with the Army on their duty to administer dredge and fill. The EPA tried to void an existing permit from the Army the court told them to F* OFF. The Courts will not be pleased to hear about the EPA continuing to push their nose in their bosses business.

 

2. Dredge permits are for taking material from wetlands and placing it elsewhere. Gold "dredging does not "displace" material according to several recent court decisions.

 

3. The NPDES permit system is for permitting "point source pollution" from outside the waterway. In-water gold dredging is neither "pollution" under the law nor is it a "point source".

 

It seems the EPA has determined that gold dredgers in Idaho are an easy mark. Despite many court cases over the last 14 years, including several Supreme Court decisions, telling the EPA they just don't have that legal power they continue to pick on the little guy in hopes of finding some way to do what Congress and the courts have told them they can't do.

jeff08xx, karu and Underburden like this

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Wow, Ill agree with Clay on this one. What a crock of crap I would like to see how the first court case goes!! I think I am just going to go full on outlaw this year and if anything comes up I will fight it in the supreme court as a clear violation of my rights. 

 

Justin.

 

Clay give me a call when you get a chance.

jeff08xx likes this

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Similar EPA general permits have been in place elsewhere in the country for over 15 years. Read the penalties for violation before you go "full on outlaw".

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Clay,

  Under the Clean Water Act the EPA is responsible for administering the NPDES program. Which regulates discharge into navigable waters of the US.

 The EPA is not permitting dredging per se. They are permitting the "discharge" into navigable waters.

 

 Now we can argue terms such as "point source" and "pollution", but until a court rules in favor for a placer miner and against the NPDES permit, I think it prudent to comply. 

 

  I don't see where the EPA has authority under the CWA to ban recreational mining and placer mining on certain rivers. Maybe under NEPA ?

John Oates likes this

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Similar EPA general permits have been in place elsewhere in the country for over 15 years. Read the penalties for violation before you go "full on outlaw".

 

 

Steve,   I know........ i just got home from appendix removal and this was one of the first things i read, I get a little upset sometimes  ;)

 

I just see the future of dredging in the US coming to an end  :(  and know that its up to us to do something about it.

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I guess I should have mentioned that not only is dredging prohibited on the rivers I mentioned above but the permt also states that "Placer Mining" is prohibited as well.  I'm not certain how far the EPA will take this and I highly doubt they have the resources to enforce the regulations but I would assume taht that means panning as well?  What a fricking mess.......

jeff08xx likes this

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When a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it fall does that mean it never fell-let the devil take the hindmost and do :ph34r: what your conscience tells ya and how much a fine ya can afford-John

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Their course is set and there is no quick fix. These socialist began their quest to destroy America about 40 years ago. They quietly infiltrated our public schools, city councils, and state agencies and then solwly crept into the congress and senate. Allong the way the court system was confinscated by these collective geniuses'  and here we are; divided and conqured.

 

As long as we continue to allow them to define the science, language and cause they will continue to eliminate one activity, group and freedom as they wish.

 

I'm not diminishing the hard work of our defenders but we are playing their game, on their home field, with predetermined results. Unless we unite and organize all outdoorsmen, women and children we'll continue to fail one battle after another until all is lost.

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Every bit as legal as the socialist plan; and when you have roughly 1/3 of the US population on your team with paid-for congressmen, senators and judges who cares...

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Momentum is building... Tonight is of prime importance; as was the meeting and discussions yesterday.  

 

Wilderness Nation Lives

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I am in the process of trying to get a permit for Idaho (East Fork Eagle Creek) and the problem I am running into is not with the EPA, it is with the state.  There is an appendix which shows open waters and it specifically states that if something is not listed as open it is closed under the states letter permit which means you need to fill out a "joint application for stream bed alteration".  This makes the EPA stuff look pretty easy.  I am going through the motions but I don't think I have much chance of being able to dredge this summer.  If anyone has any input on this I would like to hear from you.

 

Also my understanding of EPA and clean water act it that it applies to navigable (which creeks are not) waters and pollutants which you are introducing (which is none). 

 

If anyone else on East fork Eagle Creek is going through the process please contact me and let me know how it is progressing for you.  Wouldn't mind comparing notes.  Thanks for reading.

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My wife and I were planning a trip to Idaho last summer.We were just planning on panning and sluicing with our new top runner sluice.Anyway,we contacted the state dept of water quality who issues the permitting for the state of Idaho[if Iremember correctly]and was informed that not only did we both need a permit just to pan but we needed to come to their office and show them on a  map where we would be at so they could come and check on us.Needless to say Idaho did not recieve any of our tourist dollars in their coffers.This brings me to another problem in another state.we all need to start calling the tourism officials in the state of Oregon which are all available on the internet by going to oregon tourism and letting them know our tourist dollars will not be spent in their state.There is more than one way to skin a cat and its time we started ripping some hide by thinking outside the box and employing some major clout in these states that value their tourism dollars.It's worth a shot and if we get the word out and everybody starts calling and threatening to spend their money elsewhere;it just might be the ticket we need to turn things around. We don't know till we try.

Ronald C likes this

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I called Idaho to get the permit as a resident advised me, and asked if it was ok not to list the specific site I was working and write "ALL OPEN WATERS" and they said no. I told them the permit should be good for anywhere and not what sites I list because I do not know where I will be in rugged terrain or who's claim I may lease. They said in that case I'm supposed to call and notify them. They want to come check on me...I said I'll be fine.....don't bother... What a bunch of BS. So I'm supposed to get verbal approval when I move? I told her nevermind... I'll keep my $30 and mine under the 1872 Mining Law...

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Like I said,they won't be getting any of my tourist dollars.I'll spend my summer and money in New Mexico.Got plenty to keep me busy there this summer anyways.I really would like to spend some time in Idaho but not interested in getting caught up in all their beaurcratic controversy.Maybe I'll wait untill they can no longer pay the rangers and other officials to come out police everybody?

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K Rose,

Just to clarify it’s really not the State of Idaho that is causing the problems, it is the Federal government, specifically the EPA.  For the most part, Idaho is a very conservative state with rich history in the mining industry.  These regulations are being pushed upon us with little regard to history and are headed your way.  There has been lobbying at the State level but not with enough fortitude to react to this in time.  We knew the EPA was eyeing stricter prospecting regulations but I think many people were shocked to see it implemented this year.  For the record, we generally have decent support from the Forest Service and they regularly attend our local prospecting club meetings. 
 

I got regulated to 16 total hours of dredging for the 2013 season on a favorite creek close to Boise.  The EPA regulations limits dredge operations to 4 hours a day meaning I can disperse my 16 hours over four days.  On the other creek I applied for I was awarded a total of 40 hours for the entire 2013 season.  What can I say, it’s a bum deal and I can only hope we can gain some control over it similar to the wolf re-introduction whereas we are now able to control the wolf population at the state level.  Sad times indeed!  

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This is my first time on the forum here and figured I would chime in on this topic as I love dredging myself and am completely pissed off over the new regs.  Does anyone know how much is going to be allocated for the enforcement of the epa b.s.? and if the state is going to enforce the epa,s laws or is going to be just the feds running around trying to bust people out there dredgeing?  I agree with you john!

Coeur_D_Alene likes this

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