Hobby suction dredge mining in steelhead and salmon habitat is a significant problem in some Washington drainages. HB 2579 was introduced on January 30, 2014 by Rep. Gael Tarleton and has been referred to the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. No hearing has been scheduled yet. Briefly, the bill would amend the Hydraulic Code (RCW 77.55) by prohibiting WDFW from issuing an HPA for any suction dredge mining activity that would occur in any stream that has been designated as critical habitat pursuant to the Endangered Species Act. It would also modify that portion of the Hydraulic Code that authorizes pamphlet HPAs for mineral prospecting and directs WDFW to prepare a revised pamphlet in accordance with the new limitations on suction dredge mining.
Please take a minute to contact Rep. Tarleton and Rep. Blake and request a hearing for HB 2579 and help protect critical habitat for wild steelhead.