Nome gold miners object to salmon stream buffer zone

Discovery Communications

Just as the Discovery reality show "Bering Sea Gold" is driving up interest in offshore dredge mining near Nome, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game recently announced it will begin enforcing a decades-old ban on mining within a half-mile of the area's salmon streams. Several dozen Nome miners objected to the move during a recent meeting with state and federal officials over the rules for the coming season, reports The Nome Nugget.

Mining within the half-mile radius could churn up silt and particles, causing fish to swim around in poor visibility and enter areas where they would be vulnerable to predators, biologists said, or circle around where they would be vulnerable to flying predators, Scott Kent, biologist with ADF&G said.

The way needs to be clear for adult fish entering rivers to reproduce and also for smolts - young salmon - going out to sea. Additionally, turbidity interferes with the life cycles of other fish ...

Kent added that other issues were noise and how it would affect the salmon harvest. Miners had a lot of "yeah, buts" to offer, and biologists seemed to listen. Some wanted more information themselves and promised to find answers.

Read more at The Nome Nugget: Miners protest rule barring mining at river mouths

Meanwhile, a proposed Nome city permit fee on miners to help cover the costs of law enforcement among "mining tourists" has been dropped, reports The Nugget.