Washington's salmon are more precious than gold

Wenatchee River. Photo by Rene Rivers

Please ask your Washington Senator to VOTE YES on Senate Bill 5322

This month, we have an opportunity to protect Washington's watersheds and endangered fish from a form of gold mining that’s sucking life out of our rivers.

Suction dredge mining uses gas-powered vacuums to suck-up the bottom of rivers and streams in the hunt for gold. Right now in Washington, suction dredge mining is allowed to occur in virtually all waterways, including Critical Habitat for threatened and endangered fish – such as Chinook salmon, the primary food source for our struggling southern resident orca whales.

SB 5322 will change this.

This legislation WILL:

  • Bring commonsense regulations that align with our neighboring states (OR, CA, ID, MT) and prohibit suction dredging mining in Critical Habitat for threatened or endangered salmon, steelhead, and bull trout. Right now, WA is the state with the most to lose with our iconic salmon and orca populations on the verge of extinction, and yet we are the farthest behind with regulating this mining activity.
  • Protect WA's hundreds of $millions$ invested in salmon recovery from being squandered and washed downstream.
  • Protect WA taxpayers from costly lawsuits targeting the lack of WA compliance with the Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act.

This legislation WILL NOT:

  • Kick anyone off the water; miners can still mine for gold in Critical Habitat using non-motorized methods (motorized mining in other areas still allowed subject to Clean Water Act compliance, as in other states).
  • Have a big price tag; this legislation uses existing regulatory frameworks - it simply brings WA into compliance with federal laws.

Tell your Washington Senator how deeply you care about Washington's salmon, orcas, water quality and protecting millions of dollars of taxpayer investment in these critical resources.

Urge them to VOTE YES on SB 5322 by clicking this link.


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