headed for showdown over dredging
By Mark Freeman
Medford Mail Tribune
Posted Jul. 18, 2015 at 11:01 PM
Suction dredgers and the state of Oregon could be facing a showdown next year when motorized dredging will be banned throughout the vast majority of the Rogue River Basin and elsewhere.
The Oregon Legislature failed to pass new dredging rules in the last session, setting up a 2016 ban on dredging in wild salmon spawning and rearing habitat, which includes the Rogue, Applegate and Illinois rivers.
Some mining advocates plan to violate the moratorium and even intend to push state officials' collective noses in it over belief the ban violates federal law.
"I, myself, have no interest in abiding by it," said Rick Barclay, president of the Galice Mining District, which has butted heads with the state on myriad dredging and mining issues.
Barclay said the mining district plans to hold a "Dredge-In" somewhere on the Rogue next summer, during which bands of miners will operate their suction dredges in defiance of state regulators and police.
"The serious miners are going to mine, and they'll say to the state, 'You want me, you come get me,'" Barclay said. "'You don't have the resources and the wherewithal. So drop dead.'