to the North Group of California's
Redwood Chapter of the Sierra Club. The North Group
encompasses all Sierra Club members living in
Humboldt, Del Norte, Trinity, and West Siskiyou counties.
Check our Club meetings and
Suction dredging banned in California
North Group leaders are celebrating a new ban on in-stream suction dredge mining in California. The preponderance of scientific information confirms that suction dredging harms fish habitat. In addition, the practice mobilizes mercury locked deep within bottom sediments. The mobilized mercury is toxic and poses a very real threat to humans and most especially to pregnant women and children.
In stream tailing piles created by dredgers do attract spawning salmon. However, salmon eggs deposited in these unstable gravels almost never survive high winter flows.
The new ban is included in the recently passed California budget. The prohibition will remain indefinitely unless the in-stream mining program administered by the California Department of Fish & Game can be made "self-supporting" and "unless unavoidable environmental impacts are addressed."
The effort to end suction dredging in California has been more than a decade in the making. Led by the Karuk Tribe, the campaign has included both state and federal lawsuits. In-stream dredging for gold in recent decades has practiced by so-called “recreational miners” – too little gold remains in California streams to support commercial mining operations.
The campaign to end in-stream dredging for gold is the brainchild of Leaf Hillman – a traditional Karuk Indian who has also served on the tribal council and who currently directs the tribe’s natural resources department. Through Hillman’s vision and perseverance, California’s rivers, streams and associated public lands can once again be enjoyed by citizens without fear for their own health and that of the environment.
Humboldt bag ban campaign
The North Group is supporting efforts lead by the Humboldt Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation to ban single-use plastic bags in Humboldt County. The effort includes a petition to the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors available on line at this link: http://www.change.org/petitions/ban-single-use-plastic-bags-in-humboldt-county.
The organization Californians Against Waste has published solid information to dispel “myths and misperceptions” advanced by bag ban opponents. Did you know, for example, that two billion of the plastic bags used in the United States come from China and contain high levels of metal and lead?
Learn more about the myths and misperceptions advanced by bag ban opponents at this link: http://www.cawrecycles.org/files/CAWBagFacts_Dec2011.pdf.
At our June Meeting, North Group members were treated to an impressive presentation by Paloma Herrera-Thomas, a 7th-grade student at Jacoby Creek School. Titled “Land Use and Stream Health,” Paloma’s presentation described the study she conducted on three Humboldt County streams to determine sources and levels of pollution associated with dry, wet and very wet weather conditions. Paloma compared pollution levels in an urban, agricultural and protected stream.
North Group members were impressed with the quality of the study and weith the quality of Ms. Herrera-Thomas’ presentation. With young people like Paloma coming along, we can have hope that good science will be put to work to achieve a clean and healthy environment.