Althouse Creek in Josephine County was one of the earliest gold mining regions in Southern Oregon.  Mining continued there well into the 20th century. Today’s story is about one of the miners of 1922.

By 1852, mining in the Klamath River region attracted nearly a thousand miners. Most moved on as easy gold played out, but a number settled along the rivers.  One such settlement was Somes Bar at the confluence of the Klamath and Salmon Rivers in Siskiyou County.

Public Domain/Wikimedia

The scientists of the American Fisheries Society spent four years working on a position paper on how mining and fossil-fuel extraction affect fisheries.

The result of the work should surprise no one: it concludes that mining and drilling can affect water quality and aquatic ecosystems, and generally adversely. 

It's some of the finer detail in just HOW extractive industry affects fish that can be startling. 

KIamath Riverkeeper

Only three weeks remain before motorized suction dredge mining comes to a halt on Oregon streams. 

Oregon, like California, enacted a moratorium banning the vacuuming of stream bottoms for gold. 

In theory, the bans are temporary, five years in Oregon's case, but California's went into effect six years ago. 

The halting of suction dredging is understandably unpopular with groups like the Western Mining Alliance and the Galice Mining District, some of whose members make (or made) a living from suction dredge mining. 


Environmental groups found a friendly ear in the Oregon Legislature a couple of years ago, convincing legislators to pass a five-year ban on suction dredge mining.

The ban takes effect on January 2, 2016, and is supposed to last for five years. 

Miners are angry about the move, and took the ban to court in an attempt to block it. 

Environmental groups, including Cascadia Wildlands and the Center for Biological Diversity, joined the suit on the pro-moratorium side. 

PGHolbrook/Wikimedia Commons

Southern Oregon and Northern California's Smith River could be temporarily protected from mining by a maneuver proposed by the Bureau of Land Management.

BLM plans to withdraw roughly 100,000 acres of public land from mining in Curry and Josephine Counties, including land considered for a major nickel mine.

Suction Dredging Targeted For Oregon Ban

Dec 11, 2014
KIamath Riverkeeper

Get ready for a big debate over suction-dredge mining in the next session of the Oregon legislature. 

Gold miners are fond of using suction dredges in streams; conservation groups, working to protect water quality and fish, do not like them. 

And a task force recommends banning suction dredging on key streams in Western Oregon, including the Rogue River. 

Rogue Riverkeeper Program Director Forrest English helped write the task force report. 

Cleaning Up Behind The Mine

Jul 10, 2014

It's one of the sharper debates in extractive industries: what happens to land that has been mined. 

Think about strip mines and mountaintop-removal mining. 

Now think happier thoughts, because Oregon rewards companies that do good work in reclaiming mined land. 

Going For The Gold: The "New 49ers"

Jan 30, 2014

The first mention of "The New 49ers" came in a discussion of water quality on a recent Exchange. 

Like the 49ers of old, they are in search of gold in the region's rivers.