Suction dredging for gold prohibited

July 9, 2013 

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

The Sierra Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service