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As reported by the Associated Press, a new ruling by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has tightened restrictions on gold mining in states across the West, including California.
The ruling, which passed by a margin of 7-4, states that the U.S. Forest Service must consult outside federal wildlife agencies before allowing any activities that could potentially threaten an endangered species, in this case salmon. The ruling was the result of a previous lawsuit submitted by the Karuk Tribe in Northern California opposing suction dredge mining in the Klamath River (which had been approved in 2004). The suit claimed that dredging could harm coho salmon, which are protected under the Endangered Species Act. Suction dredges are gas-powered vacuums that pump sand and gravel up from riverbeds.