Attention prospectors Maine Legislation has proposed a ban on gold dredging. Legislative Document No. 1671, S.P. 646 An Act To Prohibit Motorized Recreational Gold Prospecting In Certain Atlantic Salmon and Brook Trout Spawning Habitats. Emergency.

Presented by: Senator Boyle of Cumberland, cosponsored by Representative McCabe of Skohegan and Senators: Mazurek of Knox, Patrick of Oxford, Saviello of Franklin. Representatives: Farnsworth of Portland, Gattine of Westbrook, Rochelo of Biddeford, Sanborn of Gorham, Theriault of Madawaska. Emergency means that this proposal will become effective immediately if passed.

This legislation has been introduced under the guise that gold dredging harms Atlantic salmon and brook trout spawning habitats. This is far from the truth, in reality we gold dredgers help fish habitat, we create beds for the fish to spawn in. The fish come into our pools to get out of the currents to feed. We also clean their habitat by removing trash and toxic metals  such as lead and mercury. Mercury is very harmful to fish and humans that consume them. Most of the lead is sinkers from fishermen and bullets and birdshot from hunters, believe me when I say that there is a lot of lead.

Lead from the Swift River from one afternoon.

Lead from the Swift River from one afternoon.

Close up view, notice the lead sinkers, some are even attached to fishing line, notice the bullets and bird shot

Close up view, notice the lead sinkers, some are even attached to fishing line, notice the bullets and bird shot

This is my lead count for the whole day Swift River.

This is my lead count for the whole day Swift River.

We also remove broken glass from the rivers and streams of Maine, we also remove trash that has been left behind by others from the banks of the rivers, this includes items such as bottles, cans, monofilament (fishing  line) and those six-pack rings, which these last two items are very harmful to birds and ducks. Birds will pick up fishing lines and use it for nesting material which later trap their young when they hatch and they die, ducks and other small mammals get those six-pack rings caught over their heads eventually strangling them.

If you are a prospector and a resident of Maine or if you own a business in Maine that is supported by prospectors I would like to encourage you to contact your elected officials by phone, email or letter and ask them to vote against S.P.646. All concerned prospectors could send letters to the editors of newspapers in the areas that you prospect in and voice your concerns.

Personally I spend all of my vacation time in Maine doing what I love to do and that is prospecting and gold dredging. I have spent up to six weeks a year there doing so. While I am there doing what I love I am spending money on things such as lodging, supplies from local businesses, gas from local gas stations. We eat in local restaurants, I buy firewood from local sellers and so on. I usually spend a week to two weeks at a time in Maine spending $800 to $1500 a trip. I know I am not the only prospector doing so when I am there I see many others doing the same. If this ban on dredging goes into effect I will be forced to gold dredge in another state that is prospector friendly, the money that is currently being spent in Maine will now be spent in another state.

The clock is ticking, and time is running out fast, if you want to help preserve your right to dredge in Maine the time is right now. Please act even if all you do is share this post at least we together can get the word out in time.

If you have any information to add that supports this post please post it and if you have any more ideas on what to do to help please post them, Thank you.

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Comments
  1. Just a clarification, I am not trying to throw fishermen or hunters under the bus here, I hunt and fish.

  2. Mike says:

    Prospector Jack, The way I read the bill it doesn’t ban Gold Dredging in Maine. It does ban dredging in 19 streams that have been declared “essential spawning habitat” by Maine Fisheries Biologists – have I been misled?

    • You are reading it correctly Mike the thing is these rivers are the main gold producing rivers in the state.

      • Thomas says:

        I live in Michigan and the state has made it legal through permits to use a sluice, but the problem is that all native trout,salmon and mussel bedded streams, rivers and lake are protected and their tributaries. So it seemed to me that you need to own the surface rights and mineral rights but then after doing more research i found that even if its yours you have to file for a permit but all streams are tributaries to our major lakes and rivers. If you ask at the DNR for info and a permit no one knows where to find it or get it or what water is legal hope this doesn’t happen to every state.

  3. Rosey susbury says:

    There is a public hearing scheduled for Monday, January 27, 2014 at 1 pm in Augusta at the Cross Bldg, room 216 at 13 State St. It would be helpful for people to attend. Attending is helpful , but to get up and give testimony, even if it’s just to say how much you enjoy the sport, is even more helpful. Keep it level headed though. Cursing and yelling and flying off the handle will not gain us any points!

  4. william albertson says:

    I wish you guys all the luck in the world, fight them all the way with 19 streams today 50 tomorrow once they get one they will not stop till they have it all. I am in Virginia can’t help you much from here but really hope you whip the pants off of them…

    • Thanks William, that is the truth. Here is the list of rivers that are already off limits to gold dredging taken directly from Maine Land Use Standards: Closed Areas. Motorized recreational gold prospecting is prohibited within the following areas.
      a. Stream channels narrower than four feet wide.
      b. Any area designated as Essential Wildlife Habitat by the Maine Department of Inland
      Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) unless it is determined by MDIFW that:
      (1) There will be no significant harm to the Essential Wildlife Habitat, and
      (2) The activity will not violate protection guidelines adopted pursuant to the Maine
      Endangered Species Act.
      c. The Allagash Wilderness Waterway and all water bodies within 800 feet of normal high
      water mark of the watercourse.
      d. Aroostook County.
      (1) Aroostook River: T9 R5 WELS, T9 R7 WELS, T9 R8 WELS, Oxbow Plt, T10 R6
      WELS
      (2) St. Croix Stream: St. Croix Twp, T9 R5 WELS
      (3) (Big) Machias River: T12 R8 WELS, T11 R8 WELS, T11 R7 WELS, T10 R7
      WELS, Garfield Plt
      (4) Musquacook Stream: T11 R11 WELS, T12 R11 WELS, T13 R11 WELS, T13 R12
      WELS
      (5) Allagash River and all water bodies within 800 feet of normal high water mark of the
      watercourse: T11 R13 WELS, T12 R13 WELS, T13 R12 WELS, T13 R13 WELS,
      T14 R11 WELS, T14 R12 WELS, T15 R10 WELS, T15 R11 WELS
      (6) Chemquasabamticook Stream: T11 R13 WELS, T11 R14 WELS, T11 R15 WELS,
      T12 R13 WELS
      (7) St. John River: T11 R16 WELS, T12 R15 WELS, T12 R16 WELS, T13 R14 WELS,
      T13 R15 WELS, T14 R13 WELS, T14 R14 WELS, T15 R13 WELS, T16 R12
      WELS, T16 R13 WELS, surrounding Hunnewell Island in St. John Plt, Hamlin
      (8) Northwest Branch St. John River downstream from outlet of Beaver Pond: T11 R17
      WELS, T12 R17 WELS
      (9) Big Black River: T14 R14 WELS, T14 R15 WELS, T14 R16 WELS, T15 R13
      WELS, T15 R14 WELS
      (10) Fish River from Mud Pond to St. Froid Lake: T13 R8 WELS, T14 R8 WELS, T14 R7
      WELS, T13 R7 WELS, T14 R6 WELS
      (11) Smith Brook: T13 R8 WELS, T14 R8 WELS
      (12) Red River: T14 R8 WELS
      01-672 CHAPTER 10 10.27,G
      265
      MAINE LAND USE PLANNING COMMISSION Gray text applies only to prospectively zoned areas.
      (13) McLean Brook: T17 R4 WELS
      (14) Macwahoc Stream: Macwahoc Plt, North Yarmouth Academy Grant, Upper
      Molunkus Twp
      (15) Molunkus Stream: Macwahoc Plt, North Yarmouth Academy Grant, T1 R5 WELS,
      Benedicta Twp, Silver Ridge Twp
      (16) Mattawamkeag River: Reed Plt
      (17) East Branch Mattawamkeag River: Forkstown Twp, T3 R3 WELS, T4 R3 WELS
      (18) West Branch Mattawamkeag River: T3 R3 WELS, T4 R3 WELS
      (19) Wytopitlock Stream: Reed Plt, Upper Molunkus Twp, T2 R4 WELS, Glenwood Plt,
      T3 R4 WELS
      (20) Goddard Brook: T15 R5 WELS
      (21) Unnamed stream connecting Cross Lake and Square Lake: Square Lake Twp
      (22) Unnamed stream flowing east into Square Lake at Goddard Cove: Square Lake Twp
      (23) Unnamed stream flowing northeast into Square Lake one mile northwest of Limestone
      Pt.: Square Lake Twp
      e. Franklin County.
      (1) Moose River downstream from Number One Brook: Beattie Twp, Lowelltown Twp
      (2) Kennebago River and its tributaries: Davis Twp, Stetsontown Twp, Seven Ponds
      Twp, Chain of Ponds Twp, Massachusetts Gore, Tim Pond Twp
      (3) Cupsuptic River tributaries: Seven Ponds Twp
      (4) Spencer Stream: Kibby Twp, Skinner Twp
      (5) North Branch Dead River: Jim Pond Twp
      (6) Sandy River: Sandy River Plt, Township E
      (7) West Branch Carrabassett River: Freeman Twp, Salem Twp
      (8) Carrabassett River, Main Stem: Mount Abram Twp
      f. Hancock County.
      (1) The following townships in their entirety: T9 SD, T10 SD, T16 MD, T22 MD, T28
      MD, T34 MD, T35 MD, T41 MD, T4 ND
      (2) Passadumkeag River: T3 ND
      g. Kennebec County.
      (1) Sebasticook River: Unity Twp
      01-672 CHAPTER 10 10.27,G
      266
      MAINE LAND USE PLANNING COMMISSION Gray text applies only to prospectively zoned areas.
      h. Oxford County.
      (1) Cupsuptic River and its tributaries: Lower Cupsuptic Twp, Upper Cupsuptic Twp,
      Oxbow Twp, Parkertown Twp, Lynchtown Twp
      (2) Kennebago River and its tributaries: Lower Cupsuptic Twp, Upper Cupsuptic Twp,
      Oxbow Twp
      (3) Rapid River: Magalloway Twp
      (4) Bear River: Grafton Twp
      i. Penobscot County.
      (1) East Branch Penobscot River: Grindstone Twp, Soldiertown Twp, T3 R7 WELS, T4
      R7 WELS, T4 R8 WELS, T5 R8 WELS, T6 R8 WELS
      (2) Wassataquoik Stream: T4 R8 WELS, T3 R7 WELS, T3 R8 WELS
      (3) Seboeis River: T3 R7 WELS, T4 R7 WELS, T5 R7 WELS, T6 R7 WELS, T7 R7
      WELS
      (4) Sawtelle Brook: T6 R7 WELS
      (5) Munsungan Stream: T8 R8 WELS
      (6) Millinocket Stream: T8 R8 WELS
      (7) Aroostook River: T8 R8 WELS
      (8) Ayers Brook: Summit Twp
      (9) Madagascal Stream: Grand Falls Twp
      (10) Mattagodus Stream: Kingman Twp, Webster Plt, Prentiss Twp, Carroll Plt
      (11) Mattawamkeag River: Kingman Twp, Drew Plt
      (12) Molunkus Stream: Kingman Twp
      (13) Wytopitlock Stream: Drew Plt
      (14) Passadumkeag River: Summit Twp, Grand Falls Twp, T3 R1 NBPP, Lakeville
      (15) Penobscot River: Argyle Twp, Mattamiscontis Twp, T2 R8 NWP
      (16) West Branch Penobscot River: TA R7 WELS, T3 Indian Purchase, T4 Indian
      Purchase
      (17) Millinocket Stream: T3 Indian Purchase, T1 R8 WELS
      01-672 CHAPTER 10 10.27,G
      267
      MAINE LAND USE PLANNING COMMISSION Gray text applies only to prospectively zoned areas.
      j. Piscataquis County.
      (1) East Branch Pleasant River: T5 R9 NWP
      (2) West Branch Pleasant River: Shawtown Twp, Beaver Cove, Bowdoin College Grant
      East, Katahdin Iron Works Twp, Williamsburg Twp
      (3) West Branch Penobscot River: T1 R9 WELS, T2 R9 WELS, T2 R10 WELS, T3 R11
      WELS
      (4) Allagash River and all water bodies within 800 feet of normal high water mark of the
      watercourse: T10 R12 WELS, T10 R13 WELS
      (5) Allagash Stream and all water bodies within 800 feet of normal high water mark of
      the watercourse: Eagle Lake Twp, T8 R14 WELS
      (6) Webster Brook: T6 R11 WELS
      (7) Millinocket Stream: T7 R9 WELS
      (8) Munsungan Stream: T8 R9 WELS
      (9) Chemquasabamticook Stream: T10 R15 WELS
      (10) Stream between Lower Portage Pond and Spider Lake: T9 R11 WELS
      (11) Stream in wetland on south end of Churchill Lake: T9 R12 WELS
      (12) Stream between Webster Lake and Telos Pond and all water bodies within 800 feet of
      normal high water mark of the watercourse: T6 R11 WELS
      (13) Kennebec River: Big Squaw Twp
      (14) East Branch Piscataquis River: Blanchard Twp
      (15) West Branch Piscataquis River: Blanchard Twp
      k. Somerset County.
      (1) Dead River: Pierce Pond Twp, T3 R4 BKP WKR, Bowtown Twp, West Forks Plt
      (2) Spencer Stream and Little Spencer Stream: T3 R4 BKP WKR, T3 R5 BKP WKR,
      King and Bartlett Twp, T5 R6 BKP WKR
      (3) Kennebec River above junction with Dead River: West Forks Plt, Moxie Gore, Chase
      Stream Twp, Indian Stream Twp, Sapling Twp, Taunton & Raynham Academy Grant
      Twp
      (4) Moxie Stream: Moxie Gore
      (5) Parlin Stream: Parlin Pond Twp
      (6) Doucie Brook: T9 R17 WELS
      (7) Gulliver Brook: Plymouth Twp
      (8) Moose River: Holeb Twp, Attean Twp, T5 R7 BKP WKR, Bradstreet Twp
      01-672 CHAPTER 10 10.27,G
      268
      MAINE LAND USE PLANNING COMMISSION Gray text applies only to prospectively zoned areas.
      (9) Cold Stream: West Forks Plt, Johnson Mountain Twp
      (10) Baker Branch St. John River: T9 R17 WELS, T8 R17 WELS, T7 R17 WELS
      (11) Southwest Branch St. John River: T9 R17 WELS, Big Ten Twp
      (12) Northwest Branch St. John River: Big Ten Twp
      (13) St. John River: Big Ten Twp, R10 T16 WELS, T9 R17 WELS
      l. Washington County.
      (1) The following townships and town in their entirety: T18 MD BPP, T19 MD BPP, T24
      MD BPP, T25 MD BPP, T30 MD BPP, T31 MD BPP, T36 MD BPP, T37 MD BPP,
      T42 MD BPP, T43 MD BPP, T5 ND BPP, No. 14 Twp, No. 21 Twp, T18 ED BPP,
      T19 ED BPP, T26 ED BPP, T27 ED BPP, Devereaux Twp, Marion Twp, Edmunds
      Twp, Baring
      (2) Tomah Stream: Forest Twp, Codyville Plt, Lambert Lake Twp
      (3) Baskahegan Stream: Brookton Twp
      (4) St. Croix River: Fowler Twp, Dyer Twp, Lambert Lake Twp

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