Though there are many mining operations in Siskiyou County (from gravel processing to hard rock to placer mining), current controversies primarily involve suction dredge mining. In 2009, the use of suction dredge mining was banned in California in accordance with Fish and Game Code section 5653.1, subdivision (b). Effective January 01, 2016, Senate Bill 637 amended the Fish and Game Code, providing an opportunity to lift the ban on suction dredge mining. suction dredge mining was banned in California until the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) can develop a permitting program. In January and early February, the Water Board and staff from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife held workshops to gain public input on the possibility of lifting the suction dredge mining ban. Siskiyou County will be submitting comments by the February 28, 2017 deadline. To stay up to date on the progress, please visit the Fish and Wildlife webpage on suction dredge mining, and the Water Board website on suction dredge mining.
The Board of Supervisors submitted a letter to the Ryan Zinke, nominee for the Department of the Interior Secretary, on February 14, 2017, requesting his assistance regarding suction dredge mining, and providing a background on the Mining Act of 1872 and the ban in California.
The County supports the rights of miners to be able to access the value in their private property as well as their well-established rights under federal mining law. Please refer to the following documents regarding the County's involvement in these issues.
On October 7, 2014 the Board of Supervisors sent a request to the Appellate Judges in the Rhinehart case on suction dredging to publish their decision favorable to the rights of miners under the 1872 Mining Law.