Suction Dredge Mining

Trout Unlimited and other conservation organizations are working together to bring closer scrutiny and better regulation of the practice of suction dredge mining in Washington State. Suction dredge mining is a recreational in-stream gold mining practice where gas-powered dredges are used to vacuum up stream bottom sediments in order to extract whatever gold lies within. Suction dredge mining is loosely regulated and the regulations see lax enforcement in Washington State. Other western states have either prohibited (California, Oregon) or tightly regulated (Idaho) suction dredge mining due, primarily, to concerns about the effects on stream habitat. Close to home, recreational suction dredge mining is practiced extensively in Wenatchee River tributaries Peshastin and Scotty Creeks and on streams in Okanogan County.

Trout Unlimited has created a website with information about the issue of recreational suction dredge mining. You can learn more about the practice and the effect it has on rivers, creeks and lakes by visiting this website. You can also sign up to receive action alerts regarding legislation to more closely control suction dredging in Washington State.

Two bills that would require closer monitoring of suction dredge mining have been introduced in the Washington State legislature for the 2017 session. Links to the bills are here. You can help by contacting your legislators to encourage them to support these common sense regulations on the practice.