some autoformatting business made my comment above come out all weird
I agree that most miner's and fishermen wish to do what is best. The sharing of knowledge, non-hostile debate, and open-mindedness can reduce damage to rivers. I'm not an opponent of gold mining as long as further damage to rivers are minimal.
1. 'Gold Miner's' stated "Hook and release sport fishing kills more fish than miners do." This is misleading. There may not be much incidental mortality associated with dredging compared to rare and negligible mortality associated with recreational fishing. But the habitat alteration may significantly and negatively effect the future of the population.
I have seen first hand on the Klamath River dredging activity by miners on spawning grounds in October, which coincides with the Chinook salmon spawning season.
This article includes a very wrong and misleading claim by New 49'er, James Buchal, and failed provide expert knowledge to offset his ugly and untrue statement. Buchal called cold water refugia an "idiotic theory" of Native American tribes. This is unintelligibly nonsensical. Refugia are physically real; definitely not a theory. I have more than 10 years of professional salmon biology experience in northern California. Main stem river temperatures at tributary confluences are significantly cooler than most of the river from late Spring into the Fall. Any recreational swimmer will notice this. Cooler water contains higher dissolved oxygen concentrations and is crucial to the survival of juvenile salmonids. I have snorkelled the Klamath River in the Summer. Juvenile Chinook Salmon are noticeably absent in most of the warm river and highly concentrated in cold water refugia at tributary confluences.
Buchal continued by saying that fish are "happy" about food stirred during dredging. Fish will certainly take advantage of an unnaturally provided meal. However, this short term benefit to a few individuals is a long term detriment to their population. Dredging resorts substrates in which specific runs of salmon have evolved to spawn. Also, the most irresponsible of miners will dredge spawning areas while eggs are incubating. A few fish may be "happy" to get a meal, but while thousands perish.
In Print This Week:
Dec 12, 2013
vol XXIV issue 50
The North Coast Journal Weekly
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