Dredge doesn’t harm the fish
We need to educate the people of the state Senate on what’s happening to our right to gold dredging and mining in Oregon.
California stopped gold mining with dredges last year. So the gold miners there came to Oregon and bought permits to dredge. Actually, about 2,000 permits were issued last year to dredge. We all spent thousands of dollars for gas, food, camping and permits.
Senator Allen Bates from Medford (in the middle of excellent mining country, of all things) put a bill before the Oregon legislature to stop all dredging on the major rivers.
I was up the river during the first salmon run and saw salmon spawning in the tailings of our old dredge holes. When I approached, the salmon hid in the dredge holes.
Then we had another dirty high-water flood. As soon as the water levels dropped, there were little one-inch trout in the water holes. They survived the dirty water and the flood.
Remember that we can’t dredge until July 1, so the eggs have already hatched by then. The little fish are one or two inches long, sometimes more. They enjoy the food we move through our dredges. I see smallmouth bass eating the small fry, small eels and anything that comes out of our dredging holes. Is Senator Bates going to outlaw Mother Nature and stop the muddy dirty flood water?
I also want to know if he will pay me the roughly $4,000 I have invested in enjoying my retirement. We dredge miners take lead, mercury and steel shot out of the rivers. The government and the environmentalists are way beyond their rights.
Gerald Klope Sr.