Implementation of SB 838
SB 838, passed by the 2013 Oregon Legislature, pertains to suction dredging and the state’s Removal-Fill Law. There are several key provisions in the legislation that impact the Department of State Lands’ administration of the law:
· It imposes a moratorium on suction dredging and other forms of motorized mining on certain streams in Oregon from Jan. 2, 2016 – Jan. 2, 2021.
· Between 2014 and 2016, there will be new operating restrictions and a cap of 850 authorizations annually. The operating restrictions include a 500-foot distance between equipment; operating hours between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.; and a prohibition against leaving the equipment unattended in the waterway.
· The moratorium and restrictions apply to rivers and tributaries that contain any portion of essential indigenous anadromous salmonid habitat (ESH), or naturally reproducing populations of bull trout. This is approximately 85 percent of the stream miles in Oregon.
DSL has revised administrative rules to comply with SB 838
The Department of State Lands has revised the General Authorization for Recreational Placer Mining within Essential Salmonid Habitat (141-089-0820 through -0835). The rules were effective on Jan. 1, 2014. Rule revisions include:
· The new operating restrictions
· How DSL will implement the limit on the number of authorizations.
SB 838 Study Group established
The bill directs the Governor’s Office to convene a study group to develop a revised state regulatory framework for suction dredging. The framework must address compliance, protection, and a consolidated permit process. The Govenor's office will provide a report with recommendations to the legislature by Nov 1, 2014.
In March 2014, state natural resource agencies and the Governor’s Office contracted with Oregon Consensus neutral facilitator Kearns & West to convene and manage the study group. Members of the group represent conservation, mining, fishing, tribal, regulatory and governmental interests. At the first meeting on April 10, the study group will adopt operating principles and anticipated outcomes of their work.