The legislature and Governor have enacted SB 1018. A part of this legislation applies to suction dredge mining, and that excerpt is attached.
The law now requires the Department of Fish and Game to report to the legislature on or before April 1, 2013 on suggested legislative changes and a fee structure. The previously established date of June 30, 2016 for the end of the current moratorium on suction dredge mining has been removed.
The Department has not yet determined the exact steps or time-frame for meeting the requirements of this legislation. Further, You may already know there are also several existing lawsuits which are likely to affect the future of suction dredge gold mining. For these reasons, the Department cannot predict when, or if, suction dredge will be lawful in California or when permits may be available to interested miners.
Many miners have inquired about other methods of mining including, though not limited to, highbanking, power sluicing and gravity dredging. We have advised them on a case by case basis of potentially applicable sections of the Fish and Game Code, particularly sections 1602 and 5650. You should also know that these activities may be subject to the authority of the appropriate Regional Water Quality Control Board. Information on this topic is available athttp://www.swrcb.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/cwa401/suction_dredge.shtml . If you have questions about the authority of the Regional Water Quality Control Board I suggest you contact them directly. You can determine the appropriate office at the following websitehttp://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterboards_map.shtml.