For years, WSC has been working with a coalition of organizations, led by Trout Unlimited, to create meaningful legislative reforms to address the suction dredge issue in Washington. After years of hard work, we are now inching closer to passing suction dredge mining reform legislation (SB 5322), which would ban suction dredge mining in ESA-designated “critical habitat” for steelhead, salmon, and bull trout as well as empower the Washington State Department of Ecology to oversee Clean Water Action compliance for suction dredge mining activities.
This reform is necessary because Washington suffers from a lack of regulations to protect our fish and waters from the ill effects of suction dredge mining. Despite this activity’s well-documented harm, Washington’s regulations allow suction dredge mining in virtually all waterways and Pacific coastal beaches. Making matters worse, Washington is the only state with populations of ESA-listed Pacific salmon and steelhead that still allows suction dredge mining and other forms of motorized mineral prospecting without requiring permits or regulatory oversight.
In an effort to push this legislation, WSC reached out to our state legislators encouraging them to take action and ensure SB 5322 becomes law.
Read the letter supporting SB 5322