Gold miners and environmentalists are facing off in the state of
Washington over methods being employed to extract gold from prime
The PBS station KCTS 9 in Seattle and EarthFix, a public media partnership, report on
the controversy about the potential for damage that suction dredging
Washington is one of the few states that still permits suction
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In suction dredging, according to the news reports, miners in scuba
gear use high-powered vacuums to suck the sediment from the bottom of
a stream and subsequently power it through a riffle box. The riffle
box separates the components of the sediment, and any gold present in
the sediment will drop to the bottom of the container.
The rest of the streambed sediment and any organisms it may have
protectively housed are expelled turbulently back into the water.
"Environmentalists and anglers are trying to end the practice,
arguing it damages streams and their related ecosystems,"
according to the PBS and Earthfix report.
Read the complete report here.