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Is A Permit Needed For Highbanking In California ?


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   This is a question that keeps coming up over & over. Evidently the state of California requires a miner to apply for a permit to highbank. This requires that you file a Report of Waste Discharge with the Regional Water Board.  You can't begin mining until the Regional Water Board either approves your Report of Waste Discharge or determines that a permit is not required depending on the discharge created in the particular area. The minimum fee is $1120 but could be higher depending on the threat of discharge. Also, there is no time frame on getting a permit. I know of several miners who highbank without permits with no problem. Fines can be quite high as well. Has anyone actually applied for and received one of these permits or know of anyone who has? Has anyone been shut down and fined while highbanking without a permit? 

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 This is all I know. The Plumas National Forest minerals officer told me any operation "near" a water course needs to be reviewed by the Regional Water Control Board even if it only carries water a few days per year. I have ask repeatedly for that statement in writing. haven't seen it yet. The California Dept. of Fishy wildlife says that when you pump water out of a steam course you are diverting the stream and a stream diversion permit is required. there is also the Corps of Engineers to deal with. Your claims are in such a visible area and close to town I personally wouldn't try it. You might sneak by using an in-stream sluice.

 I'll lend you a good detector.

 

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I wonder if the powers that be have ever put a pencil to see how much money the state loses by not letting people dredge each year???

 Their elevator may go to the top but their lights get awful dim .

 Chuck 

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Nobody like rules, regulations, or permits. However, long term success requires learning how to comply properly with those that exist. Outlaw miners are generally not very successful, as the efforts and consequences involved in skirting the law come with long term costs of their own. If proper permitting makes things impossible or unprofitable, then you need a different mining plan using different methods, or a different location.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 5/24/2022 at 6:15 AM, Steve Herschbach said:

Nobody like rules, regulations, or permits. However, long term success requires learning how to comply properly with those that exist. Outlaw miners are generally not very successful, as the efforts and consequences involved in skirting the law come with long term costs of their own. If proper permitting makes things impossible or unprofitable, then you need a different mining plan using different methods, or a different location.

 

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I always like being Legal are on a claim that belongs to a club I’m a member of . This way I know I’m in my rights of being are doing whatever I wish.

 My problem is with the powers that be that are willing to take ones money then give you a permit that’s not worth the paper it’s written on . Then you run head on into another power that wants to control are stop you in anyway they can to you from doing what you’re willing to pay for.

 I’d find it hard to believe if you said okay you win I give up and because all the red tape I’m going home would they refund your money. Maybe someone out there knows the answer to that and can reply.

 I’ve said in the past Id like to do something in the way of gold mining in California but the more I read I’m thinking is it really worth the effort.

 I look back to 1961 when I first started prospecting in California. Oh I had it bad but my wife didn’t want to stay. I’d been better off if I’d kicked her butt out and followed my dream. We parted company 19 years later anyway.

 The Best To Anyone Who’s Willing To Give It A Try .

 Chuck 

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In California if you have riparian rights you don't need any sort of permit or permission.

From the California Water Board.

"A riparian right entitles the landowner to use a correlative share of the water flowing past his or her property. Riparian rights do not require permits, licenses, or government approval, but they apply only to the water which would naturally flow in the stream. Riparian rights do not entitle a water use to divert water to storage in a reservoir for use in the dry season or to use water on land outside of the watershed. Riparian rights remain with the property when it changes hands, although parcels severed from the adjacent water source generally lose their right to the water."

Interesting:

https://www.watereducation.org/aquapedia/federal-reserved-rights

I agree that prospectors and miners need to comply with the law. Does anyone here know of a law that requires a permit to highbank in California?

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Probably a good place to look for California mining laws regarding placer mining is in the state law codes. Not surprisingly California does have some laws about the right way to use and discharge stream water when placer mining. It is interesting that this law only applies to the Sacramento and San Joaquin river drainages (Sawyer Decision).

"No placer mining operator shall mine by the placer process on any stream or on the watershed of any stream tributary directly or indirectly to the Sacramento River or the San Joaquin River without taking both of the following precautions to prevent pollution of the stream by the effluent from his or her operations:

(a) Constructing a settling pond or ponds of sufficient size to permit the clarification of water used in the mining processes before the water is discharged into the stream.

(b) Mixing with the effluent from mining operations aluminum sulphate and lime, or an equivalent clarifying substance which will cause the solid material in the effluent to coagulate and thus avoid rendering the water in the stream unfit for domestic water supply purposes."

There are more details in the published law including the requirement for public notice when placer mining on those rivers. You can read the law in context here:

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displayText.xhtml?lawCode=PRC&division=3.5.&title=&part=&chapter=3.&article=

I don't have all the answers but the answers are out there - you just have to look.

 

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In CA,  boot leg pot growers drop portable pumps by the hundreds onto any river or stream they please and govt. regulators just turn a blind eye when brought to their attention.

I know a guy who uses a mini high banker with a 12v pump and  in a closed recirculating system near a stream at least a 100' away.  He buckets the water over to his basins (3 ...of which are 30-40 gallons each),  which flow from one into another as the material settles out.  He is able to run quite a few buckets of pay in this process and feels he's  within the law.......or close enough as he's not discharging into or pumping out of the stream or using any gasoline powered equipment.

Periodically he shuts down to drain out the muddy water (via a 100" garden hose out into the boonies) and scoop out silt he spreads around the bushes.  

He told me he as operated this way for nearly 10 years and hasn't been pinched yet.

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