The Office of Administrative Law last week today approved an emergency rulemaking to amend an existing regulation defining suction dredge mining. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife proposed this action earlier this month to close an apparent loophole that may have allowed activity that goes against the spirit of the legislative moratorium prohibiting the use of any vacuum or suction dredge equipment for instream mining.
The new regulation as approved by and filed with the Secretary of State defines suction dredging as the "use of a suction system to vacuum material from the bottom of a river, stream or lake for the extraction of minerals."
Under current state law in effect since 2009, the use of any vacuum or suction dredge equipment for instream mining purposes is prohibited.
Nonmotorized recreational mining activities, including panning for gold, are not prohibited or restricted under the new regulation or the statutory moratorium that currently prohibits suction dredging in California.
For specific regulatory language of the new rule, or additional information about the moratorium and suction dredge mining in California, visit dfg.ca.gov/suctiondredge.