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Large Scale Dredging


Large scale dredge mining can also be used for mining or to dredge rivers, lakes, bays, reservoirs, and other bodies of water for non-mining purposes. Often large scale dredging is used to deepen or clear waterways that get filled with sediment over time to keep them open for marine traffic. Dredges are also used for rebuilding beaches and coast lines.  Some are even used for clam and crab fishing.  In the Sierra Nevada Mountains, bucket ladder dredges were used to mine the Yuba Goldfields from 1897 until the present. 


Some examples of types of dredges include:


  • Clamshell

  • Backhoe

  • Bucket Ladder

  • Dipper

  • Hydraulic

  • Cutter Suction

  • Dustpan

  • Water Injection

  • Suction 


Dredging in the Sierra Nevada Mountains can be used to recover gold in ponds located in the Yuba Goldfields.  They have also been used for cleaning out reservoirs.  Commercial dredges could be used to clean out rivers and reservoirs in California.  Gold and mercury can be removed during the dredging process, for both commercial and environmental benefits.  Aggregate size material could be separated out and sold.  Fine material could be disposed of in designed ponds, ensuring minimal impacts to aquatic life and plants as part of the process.  However, to accomplish this, a partnership would have to be developed between government, industry, and special interest groups to create a viable approach to both river and reservoir clean up and material removal that would have to occur on a ongoing basis in the State.


The Sierrans for Responsible Resource Development (the "Sierrans") believes large scale dredging of California's rivers and reservoirs is a viable way to increase and maintain reservoir capacity, remove historic mercury from the waterways, and improve the ecosystem for many aquatic animals and plants.  

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