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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Arnold and Dredging

From a letter to the Editor of the Opinion Page at the local fish wrap questioning the recent signing of a new law in California banning gold dredging in Northern California streams:

Hey Bruce, I need a teachable moment. Please explain to me the logical thought process used by Schwarzenegger before he signed the recent law to ban suction dredging on California’s streams. But before you do, please allow me to interject some observations from the Dumbplumber.

Environmentalists, biologists and Indian tribes are all about the silt disturbed during mining operations, as being destructive to spawning beds and polluting clear streams. However, nobody seems to mind it when every winter storm runoff turns the streams into virtual mud pits for days or weeks at a time. What, do they think that trout take a Hawaii vacation during the winter and spring storms? And about those spawning beds, how does everyone think they were created in the first place?

Having grown up around live streams during my youth, I witnessed every sort of transformation of my fishing grounds, almost every year, but in late spring there were always fish to catch and eat. You see we didn’t torture our fish like they do today with “catch and release”. We ate what we caught.

Nevermind the ranting drivel from environmentalists, there is more silt introduced to Northern California streams in one hour of runoff during rainy season than in an entire year of dredging. Besides, if they were so concerned with spawning, why don’t they just put a moratorium on dredging during a few weeks of spawning season instead of shutting an entire hobby down until some overpaid, product of our education system makes an ass of himself producing a document bent toward the howling masses he is hired to console?

No Bruce, this isn’t about pollution. It isn’t about the health of stream fish or their offspring. It isn’t about maintaining a pristine streambed. It’s about control. Control of a hobby that has become a cottage industry to those with enough guts and fortitude to engage in a risky but rewarding economic venture. It’s about either shutting down this practice altogether or figuring out a way to wring out fines, fees, taxes or permit revenue to bolster an economy that is failing due to fines, fees, taxes and permit revenues. It’s government involving themselves in an industry party that they weren’t invited to. All in the name of safety, ecology and bureaucratic control.

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