DFG Releases Suction Dredge EIR, Schedules Public Meetings

The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has released the Draft Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) for its Suction Dredge Permitting Program.  In 2009, a judge suspended the Program until DFG completed environmental review of the highly controversial program, as part of a lawsuit filed by a coalition of environmental and fishing groups including CSPA.

Suction dredging has been documented to disrupt salmon spawning and rearing habitat and remobilize highly toxic methyl-mercury in sediment.  Mercury bioaccumulates in fish tissue and numerous streams and reservoirs contain mercury at concentrations that threaten aquatic life and human health. 

The Draft SEIR addresses the potential environmental effects of the program and is now available for public review and comment.  It proposes amendments to the regulations that existed prior to the current moratorium.

The Draft SEIR and supporting documents are now available on the DFG website and can be provided upon request by calling (530) 225-2275. Copies of the Draft SEIR are also available for review at DFG regional offices.

Five public meetings will be held in late March.  Interested persons are encouraged to attend to present written and/or verbal comments. Written comments will also be accepted from 28 February through 29 April 2011 at 1700 HRS.  Comments may be submitted by email to mstopher@dfg.ca.gov or by regular mail to: Mark Stopher, California Department of Fish and Game, 601 Locust St., Redding, CA 9600. For more information about the public meetings or the suction dredge program, please visit DFG’s website.

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