Should SB 670 have been Urgent PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 23 December 2009

SB 670 DFG SEIR
P.22
6.2 Baseline Conditions Under CEQA, the environmental setting or “baseline” serves as a gauge to assess changes to existing physical conditions that will occur as a result of a proposed project. CEQA Guidelines section 15125 provides that, for purposes of an EIR, the environmental setting is normally the existing physical conditions in and around the vicinity of the proposed project as those conditions exist at the time the Notice of Preparation is published. As underscored by appellate case law, however, the appropriate environmental baseline for a given project may be different in certain circumstances in order to provide meaningful review and disclosure of the environmental impacts that will actually occur with the proposed project. In the present case, the Department has determined that a conservative approach to identifying the environmental baseline is appropriate. As described above, instream suction dredge mining is currently prohibited in California pursuant to a recently enacted state law. (Fish & G. Code, 5653.1, added by Stats. 2009, ch. 62, § 1 (SB 670 (Wiggins).) The same law and a related court order also prohibit the Department from issuing new suction dredge permits. The Department has determined, as a result, that the appropriate environmental baseline for purposes of CEQA and the analysis set forth below is one that assumes no suction dredging in California. This Initial Study and the SEIR will, as a result, provide a “fresh look” at the impacts of suction dredge mining on the environment generally.

DFG SHOULD TAKE A “FRESH LOOK” AT THIS.
THEIR OWN WORDS

http://www.goldgold....Gdenial_ltr.pdf

No emergency exists
( California legislature doesn’t seem to know this with regards to SB 670)

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DFG SHOULD TAKE A “FRESH LOOK” AT THIS.
WATER QUALITY CONTROL BOARD EXEMPTS LOGGING FROM CEQA


California Regional Water Quality Control Board
North Coast Region
ORDER No. R1-2009-0114
Short Term Renewal of ORDER NO. R1-2004-0015

CATEGORICAL WAIVER OF WASTE DISCHARGE REQUIREMENTS FOR DISCHARGES RELATED TO TIMBER HARVEST ACTIVITIES ON FEDERAL LANDS MANAGED BY THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE FOREST SERVICE IN THE NORTH COAST REGION
The California Regional Water Quality Control Board, North Coast Region (hereinafter Regional Board) finds that:
1. On March 24, 2004 the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board adopted Order No. R1-2004-0015, Categorical Waiver For Discharges Related to Timber Harvest Activities On Federal Lands Managed by the United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service in the North Coast Region (Federal Timber Waiver). The Federal Timber Waiver is the primary regulatory mechanism used to provide coverage for discharges of waste from timber harvesting activities by the US Forest Service within the North Coast Region,
2. The Federal Timber Waiver expired on March 24, 2009, in accordance with Water Code section 13269, subdivision (a)(2).
3. The Regional Board adopted Order No. R1-2009-0028 on April 23, 2009, which granted a short term renewal of the Federal Timber Waiver to allow additional time for staff to prepare a revised Categorical Waiver for USFS timber harvest activities. This renewal expires December 10, 2009.
4. In the interest of streamlining multiple program oversight for non-point source discharges similar to those related to timber harvest activities, the Regional Board staff proposes the expansion of the existing waiver of WDR to include additional activities that can result in nonpoint source pollution on Forest Service lands within the North Coast Region.
5. A draft revision of the Federal Timber Waiver to include all nonpoint source pollution is well underway, but is not yet completed. It is anticipated the revised Federal Waiver for nonpoint source activities will be considered for adoption by April, 2010. Consequently, a short term extension/renewal of the existing Federal Timber Waiver is needed to continue coverage of federal timber harvest activities in the interim while the revised waiver is developed.
6. It is essential that the Federal Timber Waiver remain in effect until a revised Federal Waiver for Nonpoint Source activities is considered and adopted. Without a Waiver, the Forest Service can not enroll any new projects, potentially causing significant delays in planned timber and fuels treatment activities on Federal lands. Projects already waived under the existing Waiver will remain in force and effect and will not be affected by the expiration of the waiver. Projects already waived under the existing waiver can continue without interruption, provided they comply with the conditions and criteria of Order No. R1-2004-0015.
Order No. R1-2009-0114
WDR Federal Timber Waiver Extension
Of Order No. R1-2004-0015
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7. The Regional Board has reviewed the terms of the current Federal Timber Waiver and determined that it terms are adequate for the purpose of the temporary extension of the expiration date. An extension of the existing Federal Timber Waiver ensures that timber harvest activities on federal lands comply with the Basin Plan until the revised waiver is considered and adopted.
8. In accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (Public Resources Code section 21000 et seq.) (CEQA), the renewal of a categorical waiver is a “project” and Regional Water Board is the lead agency responsible for approving that project. Section 15061(B)(3) of the CEQA Guidelines (section 15000 et seq of title 14 of the California Code of Regulations) allows a lead agency to find a project exempt from CEQA if “it can be seen with certainty that there is no possibility that the activity in question may have a significant effect on the environment.” The short term renewal of the Waiver with no substantive changes will not have any effect on the environment because the environmental baseline, against which the Regional Water Board considers the environmental impacts of a project, includes the existing Categorical Waiver. There is no possibility that the project will have a significant effect on the environment, and it is, therefore, exempt from CEQA.
9. The Regional Board has notified interested parties of its intent to temporarily extend the Federal Timber Waiver. The Regional Board, in a public meeting on December 10, 2009 heard and considered all comments pertaining to the extension of the Categorical Waiver.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, that
Order No. R1-2004-0015, Categorical Waiver For Discharges Related to Timber Harvest Activities On Federal Lands Managed by the United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service in the North Coast Region (Federal Timber Waiver) is renewed to continue coverage of federal timber harvest activities in the interim while a more comprehensive Timber waiver is developed.
I, Catherine Kuhlman, Executive Officer,
do hereby certify that the foregoing is a full, true,
and correct copy of a Resolution adopted
by the California Regional Water Quality
Control Board, North Coast Region,
on December 10, 2009.
______________________________________
Catherine Kuhlman
Executive Officer
09_0114_WDR_FederalWaiver_Extension_R1_2004_0015

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DFG SHOULD TAKE A “FRESH LOOK” AT THIS.
THEIR OWN WORDS

REVIEW OF CALIFORNIA COHO SALMON NORTH OF SAN FRANCISCO
Report to The California Fish and Game Commission
April 2002

Page 164

Suction Dredging

Suction-dredge placer miners extract gold from the river gravels by sucking the gold bearing
gravels into the floating dredges, pumping the gravel-water mixture across a settling
table where the gold concentrates by gravity, then discharging the gravel and water back into the
river. An annual permit from the Department (under Title 14 CCR, section 228) and, in some
circumstances, a Lake and Streambed Alteration Agreement is required to engage in this activity.

Dredges use high-pressure water pumps driven by gasoline-powered engines. The pump
creates suction in a flexible intake pipe with a nozzle no greater than six inches in diameter.
Suction dredges vacuum the streambed (which is composed of rock, gravel, and finer sediment)
with water through the hose into the sluice box. Both the pump and the sluice box are usually
mounted on a floating platform, often positioned over the work area by securing to trees or rocks
with ropes or cables.

The portion of stream bottom dredged ranges from a few small excavations to the entire
wetted area in a section of the stream. Larger suction dredges have the capacity to excavate as
much as several cubic yards of gravel from the river bottom, depending on the type of streambed
material and the skill of the operator.

Dredging activities in freshwater environments can have a variety of direct impacts on the
environment, including impacts to aquatic and riparian organisms (Griffith and Andrews 1981;
Thomas 1985; Harvey 1986) and channel stability. Impacts can also result from the potential
release of hazardous constituents (such as mercury) to marine and terrestrial environments.
However, there are no studies that document such dredging-related impacts on coho salmon or
their habitat within the petitioned area.

Conclusion: Suction dredging, in accordance with Title 14 CCR, section 228, is allowed within the waters of the petitioned area. The restrictions currently imposed by regulations on this activity are designed to eliminate the potential for impacts to coho salmon by restricting suction dredging actions to locations and times when such activities will not impact the species.


http://www.dfg.ca.go...sNorth_2002.pdf

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 23 December 2009 )
 
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