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QUESTION: Dredging Laws in Colorado
swizz
post Sep 18 2009, 07:07 AM
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I'm about to purchase a 3" (6hp) highbanker/dredge .
I could really use a printable reference that describes the dredging laws here in Colorado. I don't want to take this thing where it is illegal to dredge and I'd also like to be able to prove (to BLM of Sherriff) that I'm not in violation while on-site and dredging.
Please help if you can.


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swizz
post Sep 18 2009, 09:33 AM
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ps: I'm particularly interested in dredging regulations on National Forest land.
Thanks!


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swizz
post Sep 20 2009, 05:51 AM
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Well... I still haven't found a printable reference but I did learn this:
"Small mining regulations in Colorado are basically what you will find anywhere else. There are, however, a few regulations for various parts of the state that are specific to that part of the state. In general, you will not need a permit for a dredge that has a 4 inch nozzle or smaller. Highbanking MUST discharge water into a holding pond before being released back into the waterway."

In addition, I'm now aware of the special regulations that apply to the Arkansas, Cache Creek, and Boulder County.
I'm also aware of regulations that prohibit the undercutting of banks and trees.

Next question regarding the statement: "Highbanking MUST discharge water into a holding pond before being released back into the waterway".
Since I plan on operating a highbanker/dredge combo.... I'm assuming that I will need to do this but I'm not certain what qualifies as a "holding pond". Do I actually have to create a "holding pond" every time I dredge somewhere that I'm highbanking?
I mean... what if I set the (highbanker/combo) rig up in the stream and it discharges directly into the stream? It seems like this would have less impact on the stream than creating a "holding pond" for tailings. Floating dredges discharge directly into the stream, correct?


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russau
post Sep 20 2009, 07:04 AM
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most states dont want to see any muddied/cloudy water back into the stream. a certain amount is acceptable but i dont know the laws of Co. the laws are differnt in most states in one way or the other. long cloudy flumes in the water off the rear of a dredge is not very acceptable in almost anywhere, esspecially if you have a dredge downstrean of someone clouding you out of your dredge hole.very impolite!as long as your water ,on reentering the stream, isnt muddy, there shouldnt be a problem.thats the important part of it.
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CP
post Sep 20 2009, 10:10 AM
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Russ is right about the settle area needs to let the top soils drop out. Not every spot will need a settle pond dug exactly either, some places the ground elevations will allow a settling area away from the water source which is fine too. This way the water settles back into the water table below while all the top soils stay on the ground not entering the water source (creek/pond) you are pumping from.
An excellent demonstration of this was the CP dig site while it was open........The FS even wrote a letter of support/recommendation about our ability to instruct in the proper use of highbankers to prospectors and private land owners. That settling area was dug in a day by two of us and was built to drain several highbankers running at once.....so that would be overkill for one unit, but you can get the idea.

The catch berm had to be built up and 4 units could run at once.


From there the water drained into a ditch which you see two young sluicers using while the highbanker is running in the background. Water source is out of the picture to the right hand side.


Then as you turn around (water source on left now), this is where the water ended up draining off to settle back into the table down hill from the source.


When actually dredging (removing material in stream), there is no requirement for a settling pond or area. This material is already in the stream bed and one small "hand carried" piece of prospecting equipment is not creating any significant disturbance or turbitiy while operating. In fact the fish will actually get in the way while you work because there's a buffet served up from the prospecting activity. We've also done a few dredge vid demo's about just that, you can see the same type unit you are thinking of getting while we are dredging in the stream. Those can be found on the news and events page.

There are also several topics within the forum about this subject which I'll link to a couple here so you can read those q's and answers everyone helped with. happy088.gif

This thread is for state mining permits and has a bit about several different state's permits and also has a pdf link for Colorado's aggregate extraction guidelines from the CDMG. You can also find the Arkansas river and Cache creek permits to print off from this thread.
http://www.coloradoprospector.com/forums/i...p?showtopic=728

This one is another question for dredging on NF lands in Colorado too
http://www.coloradoprospector.com:80/forum...?showtopic=2547

Besides the Arkansas river headwater recreational area, there are another 2 rivers in Colorado that have seasonal permitting as I understand it too.......The Poudre and Uncompaghre rivers.
Other than those and the Arkansas headwater recreational area, you should not need a permit for prospecting activities on NF or BLM lands that are open.
You might run into other "stipulations" officials attempt to impose, but I don't believe these are enforceable upon us as claim owners/miners.
I should also point out, this is my opinion and each prospector in the field must make the call on what they do, and how they exercise their rights within the law. I believe we have a right to conduct prospecting/mining as the federal law states, some of us chose a level of confrontation (to protect our rights should it arise) that might be more than others wish to go through.

There are a bunch of helpful threads in the laws and regulations section of the forum too........read through some of those that pertain and feel free to post up q's about those as well. There are so many and they can be down right confusing to wade through. wacko.gif Great info to know while in the field so well worth the efforts.

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swizz
post Sep 20 2009, 03:46 PM
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Dan, Russ, and Gary (emails), I can't thank you guys enough.
As expected, I have a lot more homework to do and I will establish contacts and a relationship with the BLM office (and regional geologist) before I bust out the dredge. I hope they're as patient as you folk. Fortunately, I'll have all winter to square this away. I'm beginning to get the idea that it may be in my better interest to research the legalities of one or two areas (NF land spots that have been productive for me). Then.... if my planned dredging practices are deemed acceptable at these spots, I should probably stake claim and work them accordingly.
Or.... skip the homework and pay to work established claims. Or.... maybe a little of both. wink.gif
In any event, I'm extremely concerned with doing this the right way and going through the proper channels no matter what it takes. Being a mountain dweller, wildlife freak, and flyfishing enthusiast, I'm also interested in doing things with as little impact on the environment as possible.


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russau
post Sep 21 2009, 06:30 AM
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yep i beleive we all want that also! well a majority of us, theres always 1 or 2 people that dont think!
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Coalbunny
post Sep 23 2009, 12:47 AM
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Dan, the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers also have permits. I don't recall any details on them, best person to ask is Bruce Fowler at the Grand Junction BLM. Mention my name and he might tell you of the days I was a teenager trying to get rich off of panning the Colorado and Gunnison! greensmilies-017.gif


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CP
post Sep 23 2009, 04:27 AM
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Well Coalbunny,

Like I stated above.......
QUOTE
You might run into other "stipulations" officials attempt to impose, but I don't believe these are enforceable upon us as claim owners/miners.

I'll add that I don't believe most additional stipulations are enforcable......that doesn't mean there aren't more.

So, are those areas congressionally designated within the law as recreational areas? Or wilderness areas, or?
Knowledge is the power, got any more details on the law/permits required there Coalbunny since you've prospected there before?

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Coalbunny
post Sep 24 2009, 04:39 AM
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Well, the river hasn't changed. I know where the hot spots are and I know they're still there! Laws, hard call. Now it's a state park all the way from the CO 141 bridge to the state line. It's ok to pan, but I'm not sure about dredging. When you get past the Loma boat launch, it's off limits to picking up anything. That includes THE best hot spot on the Colorado in Mesa County. Which ticks me off to no end (any surprise?). After that the next best hot spot is still open, and I don't think there'd be any problem in me panning or dredging there (and you're right- I ain't telling where it's at, either!!!!).

So I've been thinking of picking up a used 2" dredge. I loved the old style backpack dredge I wanted as a kid. Keene still makes them, just a little bit different. BTW Dan, I think I'll have to consult with you on picking up a 2"er.


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h20prospector
post Dec 30 2009, 08:34 PM
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QUOTE (swizz @ Sep 20 2009, 05:51 AM) *
Well... I still haven't found a printable reference but I did learn this:
"Small mining regulations in Colorado are basically what you will find anywhere else. There are, however, a few regulations for various parts of the state that are specific to that part of the state. In general, you will not need a permit for a dredge that has a 4 inch nozzle or smaller. Highbanking MUST discharge water into a holding pond before being released back into the waterway."

In addition, I'm now aware of the special regulations that apply to the Arkansas, Cache Creek, and Boulder County.
I'm also aware of regulations that prohibit the undercutting of banks and trees.

Next question regarding the statement: "Highbanking MUST discharge water into a holding pond before being released back into the waterway".
Since I plan on operating a highbanker/dredge combo.... I'm assuming that I will need to do this but I'm not certain what qualifies as a "holding pond". Do I actually have to create a "holding pond" every time I dredge somewhere that I'm highbanking?
I mean... what if I set the (highbanker/combo) rig up in the stream and it discharges directly into the stream? It seems like this would have less impact on the stream than creating a "holding pond" for tailings. Floating dredges discharge directly into the stream, correct?


Swizz,

I have a 3" Proline highbanker/dredge combo, what type of unit do you have? I look forward to meeting you and the other members of CP this coming spring/summer at one of the outings.

Pat


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swizz
post Dec 31 2009, 06:26 AM
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Hi Pat,
I bailed on the highbanker/dredge combo and recently picked up a Keene 2" Backpack dredge. It came down to portability and the Keene just looked much easier to pack and carry.
ps..... not sure if you got the flyfishing PM I sent you a couple weeks ago, if not I can resend it.


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h20prospector
post Dec 31 2009, 09:48 AM
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QUOTE (swizz @ Dec 31 2009, 06:26 AM) *
Hi Pat,
I bailed on the highbanker/dredge combo and recently picked up a Keene 2" Backpack dredge. It came down to portability and the Keene just looked much easier to pack and carry.
ps..... not sure if you got the flyfishing PM I sent you a couple weeks ago, if not I can resend it.


Swizz,

Understand about portability. With my unit, you need at least two, 3 would be better, to carry all the crap and get it set up.

Yes I did get the fly fishing PM. Think I will stay indoors this winter. In May when I turn 64, I'm headed to the nearest fish and game office to get my free fishing license (old farts deserve something free), then I'll head for the best fishing spots in the state, making sure I've got a gold pan and scoop in the backpack just in case.

Pat


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johnnybravo300
post Apr 16 2017, 09:31 PM
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Swizz, how has the backpack dredge worked out and how much will it process in a day?


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swizz
post Apr 18 2017, 05:31 AM
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I only used that dredge for one season, then sold it. It worked well and could move a fair amount of material but not what I would consider high production. I was never able to pack everything needed in one trip on the Keene backpack which was made for it. Usually 2-3 trips when you consider gas cans, lunch, hydration and everything else you take along prospecting for a day or more. With two people you could backpack it somewhere in one trip but pretty tough with just one pack.


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