Power sluice California law question

sajme

Newbie
Aug 28, 2022
4
4
so I understand the rules and regulations of using a power sluice and the discharge of water and sediment and a permit is needed for land but if I bring my own water in a plastic tote and recirc that water am I breaking any rules. I wouldn’t think so? But what do I know 🫡
 
Upvote 1
OP
S

sajme

Newbie
Aug 28, 2022
4
4
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #3
I don't believe you are breaking ANY laws ! BUT what the heck do I know about Cal. laws !:headbang:
If I get stopped I’ll just be respectful and pack my stuff up and leave I don’t think they will be too much of a dck about it unless I discharge into the water, which I’m not
 

southfork

Bronze Member
Jun 15, 2014
1,829
5,976
California
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
Where in California? Most of the easy access like state /federal is hands and pans only. Maybe you're lucky and have some private property. Best of luck anyway.
 

et1955

Hero Member
Jan 10, 2015
863
1,638
Shoreline,wa
Detector(s) used
Equinox 800
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
so I understand the rules and regulations of using a power sluice and the discharge of water and sediment and a permit is needed for land but if I bring my own water in a plastic tote and recirc that water am I breaking any rules. I wouldn’t think so? But what do I know 🫡
Last time I checked , you have to be 200ft. from the river to run a high banker.
 

winners58

Bronze Member
Apr 4, 2013
1,727
4,052
Oregon
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
its 100yd they consider any parts including sluice that are motorized to be a suction dredge.
their are people that have gotten permits from the waterboard to work dry bars
but hard to get them to make an evaluation unless you go through another agency such as filling a PoO.
ideally you would want a waver from the waterboard. a USACE permit would still have to go through the waterboard.

 
Last edited:

Clay Diggins

Silver Member
Nov 14, 2010
4,301
12,787
The Great Southwest
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
they consider any parts including sluice that are motorized to be a suction dredge.
Who are "they"?

The reason I ask is that the law doesn't mention highbanker or sluice. In fact the law is very specific in being about dredge equipment.

A USACE permit would only be for point source pollution. Highbanking is not a point source or pollutant under the law. Ditto the Porter Cologne Act.

As far as water diversions go - no permit or prior notice is needed if the diversion is riparian (from a natural stream or river) and on federal lands. Diverters are requested to notify the SWCRB by July of the year following the diversion. If you divert less than 2 acre feet per year (About 650,000 gallons) your use is considered De Minimus and doesn't require a permit.

For the issues of water clarity when returning your process water to the stream California has long standing and specific laws already on how miners should deal with that - no need to rely on agency interpretations and hand outs.

California Code:
Placer Mining Water Polution
3964. No placer mining operator shall mine by the placer process on any stream or on the watershed of any stream tributary directly or indirectly to the Sacramento River or the San Joaquin River without taking both of the following precautions to prevent pollution of the stream by the effluent from his or her operations: (2052)

(a) Constructing a settling pond or ponds of sufficient size to permit the clarification of water used in the mining processes before the water is discharged into the stream. (2053)

(b) Mixing with the effluent from mining operations aluminum sulphate and lime, or an equivalent clarifying substance which will cause the solid material in the effluent to coagulate and thus avoid rendering the water in the stream unfit for domestic water supply purposes. (2054)

3965. Notwithstanding subdivision (b) of Section 3964, any placer miner who is operating by dredging process, and who desires to transport his or her dredger across a stream, may conduct the dredger across the stream without constructing a settling pond, if he or she is of the opinion that the expense of constructing settling ponds in the stream would be unduly heavy. (2055)

Before transporting the dredger, the operator shall use the following procedure: (2056)

(a) He or she shall give a notice of the intent to cross a stream to the clerk or the secretary of each city or district owning or operating a domestic water supply whose clarity is likely to be affected by the crossing operation. (2057)

(b) The notice shall be given at least seven days in advance of the date that he or she expects to cross the stream with the dredger. (2058)

(c) Upon the expiration of the notice, the operator may, during the following 48 hours, conduct the dredger across the stream even though some turbidity may be caused by the crossing operation. (2059)

(d) After crossing the stream, the operator shall comply with subdivision (b) of Section 3964. (2060)

3966. Any person, firm, or corporation who violates this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor. (2061)


These aren't all the laws. There may be other laws that actually prohibit or restrict the use of highbankers or the use of water for highbankers. I'd really like to see those laws because I've been unable to find them and I'm pretty good at finding them.

Don't leave a mess, don't put weird things in the water. Don't mess things up for downstream users. Don't believe everything you are told by overbearing state agencies. Good citizens and miners question and investigate when they are told they can't do something.

Some types and methods of mining may be regulated or restricted. Please be aware that large scale mining will usually involve some local government control over the effects of your mining. That can be a good thing, we all want to have a nice place for our children to grow up. Please don't be bad miners. But until someone produces a law that creates a right for a government agency to stop you from prospecting or mining it's all just hot air.

Heavy Pans
 

ratled

Hero Member
Feb 18, 2014
950
2,395
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
I did get USACE permits for both a suction dredge and and a power sluice. both permits required 401 clearance CAWRB and dredge permit from CDF/DFW. Nether was avilible and my 5 years elapsed before they developed a permitting scheme
 

winners58

Bronze Member
Apr 4, 2013
1,727
4,052
Oregon
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
fish and game wardens are left to interpret, even not knowing what a suction dredge or highbanker is.
(g) For purposes of this section and Section 5653.1, the use of vacuum or suction dredge equipment, also known as suction dredging, is the use of a mechanized or motorized system for removing or assisting in the removal of, or the processing of, material from the bed, bank, or channel of a river, stream, or lake in order to recover minerals.

The other section requires conditions to be meet to issue permits and haven't made any progress.
this new law SB 637 took affect in 2016/
 

Gare

Gold Member
Dec 30, 2012
5,179
9,952
Canton Ohio Area
🏆 Honorable Mentions:
2
Detector(s) used
Presently using Deus's have Minelabs, Nokta's Tesoro's Have them all . Have WAY to many need to get rid of some
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
so I understand the rules and regulations of using a power sluice and the discharge of water and sediment and a permit is needed for land but if I bring my own water in a plastic tote and recirc that water am I breaking any rules. I wouldn’t think so? But what do I know 🫡
Why not be sure and ask a California DNR office ?
 

Clay Diggins

Silver Member
Nov 14, 2010
4,301
12,787
The Great Southwest
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
fish and game wardens are left to interpret, even not knowing what a suction dredge or highbanker is.
I don't know of any government in the United States that is structured so the executive agencies are allowed to interpret the law. That is the job of the Judicial branch (courts) - not Executive branch enforcement agencies. Three branches of government, separation of powers, a guarantee of a republican form of government and all that stuff in the Constitution.

There is nothing in the law you point to or any other law that I know of that would allow the fish and game wardens to determine what the law means. The law is clear and doesn't even mention highbanking, water diversion or mining activity that doesn't take place in a stream.

(g) For purposes of this section and Section 5653.1, the use of vacuum or suction dredge equipment, also known as suction dredging, is the use of a mechanized or motorized system for removing or assisting in the removal of, or the processing of, material from the bed, bank, or channel of a river, stream, or lake in order to recover minerals.

The other section requires conditions to be meet to issue permits and haven't made any progress.
this new law SB 637 took affect in 2016/

The law you link to specifically states that it ONLY applies to instream suction dredging:

(d) The Legislature finds and declares that this section, as added during the 2009-10 Regular Session, applies solely to vacuum and suction dredging activities conducted for instream mining purposes.

I have difficulty believing even the dumbest government worker could "interpret" that to include highbanking. Even worse is the constant repetition of this nonsense by the recreational mining community. Cut your own throat much? The legislature was clear and concise when they limited the law (several times) to vacuum and suction dredging in any river, stream, or lake. No interpretation needed.

As I have stated for many years here and elsewhere - show me a law that prohibits, regulates or even mentions highbanking in California.

Heavy Pans
 

Jim in Idaho

Silver Member
Jul 21, 2012
3,159
4,351
Blackfoot, Idaho
Detector(s) used
White's GM2, GM3, DFX, Coinmaster, TDI-SL, GM24K, Falcon MD20, old Garrett Masterhunter BFO
'Way Too Cool' dual 18 Watt UV light
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
In some respects, guys, the LAW is Meaningless. Unless you have the financial resources to fight, the law-enforcement people can do whatever they want, and you are powerless to do much about it. They know this, and use it. Unfortunately, that's the actual reality of our world.
Jim
 

ratled

Hero Member
Feb 18, 2014
950
2,395
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
I don't know of any government in the United States that is structured so the executive agencies are allowed to interpret the law. That is the job of the Judicial branch (courts) - not Executive branch enforcement agencies. Three branches of government, separation of powers, a guarantee of a republican form of government and all that stuff in the Constitution.

There is nothing in the law you point to or any other law that I know of that would allow the fish and game wardens to determine what the law means. The law is clear and doesn't even mention highbanking, water diversion or mining activity that doesn't take place in a stream.
Clay I get what you are saying but in these crazy times, >Aug 2009 (and YES this was part of the beginning of these crazy times) all bets are off. Remember, words have meanings and meanings have definitions and in CA a suction dredge is defined as " the use of a mechanized or motorized system for removing or assisting in the removal of, or the processing of, material from the bed, bank, or channel of a river, stream, or lake in order to recover minerals."......... a highbanker is a motorized system.. While not included by name it is included by definition.

That is from the state legislators (stop calling them law makers,,,,,, it only encourages them) That is the basis the guy in the smokey the bear hat will use when he says "press hard there are 3 copies"
 

Azure

Greenie
Oct 5, 2020
13
13
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
Clay I get what you are saying but in these crazy times, >Aug 2009 (and YES this was part of the beginning of these crazy times) all bets are off. Remember, words have meanings and meanings have definitions and in CA a suction dredge is defined as " the use of a mechanized or motorized system for removing or assisting in the removal of, or the processing of, material from the bed, bank, or channel of a river, stream, or lake in order to recover minerals."......... a highbanker is a motorized system.. While not included by name it is included by definition.

That is from the state legislators (stop calling them law makers,,,,,, it only encourages them) That is the basis the guy in the smokey the bear hat will use when he says "press hard there are 3 copies"

I think of the intent of providing a definition for suction/vacuum dredging was to prevent people from breaking up the system to get around the ban, like previously happened. The law only applies to what is reasonably and commonly understood to be a suction/vacuum dredge. And only applies to the usage of dredges for the removal/processing of materials from river/stream/lake bed/bank/channel for minerals.

If you believe the definition applies to anything in the world that could match the definition and is not commonly understood to be a suction dredge. Then it would be a very vague law, open to selective enforcement and would be unconstitutional. E.g., the definition would apply to a pacemaker, which no one in their right mind would consider a dredge.
 

Reed Lukens

Bronze Member
Jan 1, 2013
2,497
4,995
Congres, AZ/ former California Outlawed Gold Miner
Detector(s) used
Tesoro Vaquero, Whites MXT, Vsat, GMT, 5900Di Pro, Minelab GPX 5000, GPXtreme, 2200SD, Excalibur 1000!
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
Then it would be a very vague law, open to selective enforcement and would be unconstitutional.
And the different rangers using selective enforcement is the problem... the green environazi types, write you up and confiscate your equipment and or arrest you...
I had 3 environazi's show up on my claim with 2 tow trucks, a sheriff and a flat bed on a rainy day to steal my equipment... they were from a different ranger district. They had the forest circus key to my gate... I called my district ranger, asked him why this was happening and he had not been informed... He asked to speak with them on my phone, then I heard him screaming at them for about 5 minutes and then they handed me my phone back, appologized to me and left...
But it was raining, so their trucks couldn't climb the hill after it got wet... it still cost me $300 and a couple days of hauling gravel to fix the road after they winched their trucks up the hill... but my district ranger had me take their forest service lock off of my gate and we hadn't had a problem again until this year, when I kept finding the chain cut like 6 times, this last time was with a brand new forest circus lock on it...
Unfortunately.... the good rangers are retiring...
 

Top Member Reactions

Users who are viewing this thread

We Dig Metal Detectors
Top