Important Note: The State of California recently passed a law which has placed a statewide moratorium on suction dredging in California until the Department of Fish & Game (DFG) completes an updated Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and completes several other requirements. This law is presently being challenged in the Third Appellate Court.

Meanwhile, just in case you do not know, this new law only stops suction dredging within California’€™s active waterways. It does not have anything to do with the other types of prospecting or mining that we do in California. Unaffected prospecting activities include panning, sniping & vack-mining, sluicing & high-banking, electronic prospecting and other types of prospecting that do not use a suction nozzle within an active stream, river or creek. It also does not affect our group weekend projects.

To continue prospecting the bottom of active waterways, some members have converted to underwater crevicing, using the hookah and pump from their 5 and 6 HP motors on floating platforms to provide air for breathing and a jet of water to help move material out of the way, thus coining the new method as “underwater blow mining.”

There are no seasons imposed upon the other types of surface mining activity. In other words, you can do them at any time of the year.

Please be advised that these other types of mining activity along New 49’™er properties are subject to a our set of Surface Mining Operational Guidelines.

As the suction dredging seasons in California have been suspended, we have identified some fantastic suction dredging opportunities for our members in Southern Oregon.


SEASON FOR MINING ABOVE THE WATER: Pick and shovel-type above-water prospecting activities can be done along the creeks and rivers at any time of the year; but no silt whatsoever can be washed into the active waterway from water directed up onto the stream bank using a motorized pump. Silt and other material from surface gravels (up on the bank) must remain up on the bank and cannot be washed into the active waterway at any time.

Happy Camp has a dry, hot summer and a moist, cool winter season. It seldom snows; but when it does, it usually melts within a few days. River water temperature drops to about 40 degrees during the winter months. During the summer, it runs in the mid-to-high 70’s(F).

Some members do underwater mining throughout the winter months, using dry-suits or hot water systems. We also have members who do surface (out of the water) prospecting activities during the winter months in the Happy Camp area. Although, the Arizona winter weather is better suited for outdoor activity during the winter months.

In Happy Camp, our season gets busy from early April into November, since this is when most members make use of this area’s mining properties.