Eastern Oregon Mining Association
Eastern Oregon Mining Association
Serving the mineral industries
Featured Article · All Articles · Rants & Raves · EOMA Newsletters

« Previous Page :: EOMA » Newsletters » Newsletter NEWSC7C6

- Eastern Oregon Mining Association
- 20140913

September 2014 Newsletter
Volume 300

The meetings are held on the first Friday of the month. The next meeting is Friday, September
5th at the Baker City Hall. The building is located at 1st and Auburn Streets in Baker City. The Board meeting starts at 6:00PM, and the general meeting starts at 6:30PM.

Most miners will wind down their operations for the season during the fall months, and get their reclamation completed before the snow flies. Doing this work, purchasing seed and revegetating sites, is simply a cost of doing business. Most of us dont think much more about it. But if you and your family picnics or camps down by one of Oregons mineralized streams, chances are that recreational area you enjoy with your family may be reclaimed mining land. The drive from Highway 7 along the county road to Greenhorn reveals many nicely reclaimed mining sites. Over the past thirty years, the U.S. minerals mining industry has reclaimed hundreds of thousands of acres of land into varied uses, ranging from economic development parks, farms, golf courses and housing developments to wildlife areas and wetlands.
Mining companies invest heavily in the research and development of new technologies and processes to minimize environmental impact, which makes the United States one of the most environmentally conscious places for mining. Whether you are a big mining company or an individual miner, before your Plan of Operation can be approved, you must have a plan on how to restore the site to another beneficial use after it is mined out, and post a reclamation bond so the government is assured that reclamation will be completed. Make sure you get your paperwork done and fees paid. Best of luck to you in the remainder of the mining season.
Your assessment work must be completed by September 1, 2014 and recorded in the county where you work by September 30, 2014. After the form has been recorded, send a copy to BLM along with $10/claim before the end of December.

If you missed the date for sending in your maintenance fee waiver, BLM will void your claim. If this happens, you have no recourse and must file a new location notice. The cost of filing a new 20 acre claim has gone up to $212.

On the Positive Side: Umatilla District Ranger, Ian Reed, has been a pleasure to work with. Chuck Chase, Ken Alexander, I, and several miners met with Ranger Reed, Chris Helberg, minerals technician, and the Forest fish biologist to discuss the Plans of Operation in the Granite EIS. Ranger Reed was well informed about the operations on both the Umatilla and the Wallowa-Whitman and expressed his concern that reasonable mitigations be utilized during the consultation process with USFWS and National Marine Fisheries.

On the Positive Side: Malheur District Ranger Dave Halemeir is new to mining, but he and his minerals technician, Stacia Kimball, have worked to facilitate mining operations on the Malheur. EOMA looks forward to working with Ranger Halemeir and his staff.

On the Positive Side: Meg Doolittle of the Baker Field Office of BLM has left the BLM to return to school. Steve Flock, the lead BLM geologist, is good to work with and goes the extra mile to help miners, something Ms. Doolittle never could bring herself to do.

On the Not so Positive Side: When I stopped by the Wallowa Whitman Forest Service office on Tuesday of last week, I was unable to get a copy of a letter from July 3, 2014, that had been sent by the Forest Service to a miner I was agent for. Even though I had e-mailed and called the Forest Service the week before, requesting a copy of this letter, they would not provide it to me when I was in their office. I was told I would get a copy in the mail.

Miners on the Wallowa-Whitman would like to improve their working relationship with the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest minerals staff. Sometimes, miners and their agents may need to have access to their files, and may need copies of documents. The Forest Service talks a lot about communicating with the miners. Hopefully, in the future, better lines of communication will open up.

Miners who practice ongoing reclamation and those who are just getting their reclamation done for the year, need to seed their reclaimed ground. Make sure the seed is certified free of noxious weeds. Some miners have used the \loggers mix\ from North Powders Oregon Trail Seed Company with success, I like the mix that we have been using for 30 years or so-a mix of sheep fescue, Kentucky bluegrass and a little sweet clover. This mix will not persist and natives can move in over time. Even if you may disturb the area again next spring, get the bare soil seeded. Then, if you dont mine next season, the soil will be vegetated and there will be no risk of sediment leaving your reclaimed site.

Each project area on BLM has a lightly different seed mix. If you dont know what your mix is, call Steve Flock and he will help you out. Steves phone number is 541-523-1487.

Come join your fellow miners on Thursday, September 11, 2014 in Bend at the Deschutes Brewery Pub, 1044 NW Bond St. from 5:30-7:45PM. A catered buffet will be available for $10. The get-together is to help reelect Senator Ted Ferrioli and Representative Mike McLane. RSVP OCAPA 503-588-2430, or call Chuck Chase or Jan Alexander.


Upland Mining:
The first topic of discussion was whether Upland Mining (i.e.; motorized mining NOT within a stream or wetted perimeter) should be exempted from SB 838 (and any possible moratorium).
Grasping at straws, the anti-mining folks worried that any form of mining within 100 yards of a stream could still affect water quality by removing vegetation that provided shade to waters, or vegetation that stabilizes soils that otherwise might move into streams during flood events.

The Miners Caucus in the group pushed to have this issue raised ASAP in the hopes of a consensus that it could and should be removed from 838-seeing as everything else in 838 deals with inwater mining.  We believed the upland mining was added as a afterthought-or just plain mistake by the bill writer(s) who dont know that \placer mining\ is something more than just suction dredge mining.  We also wanted to test the waters (so to speak) with a clear and simple (so we believed) issue to see if the group would actually agree with something this simple.  Unfortunately, the group did not support this idea (i.e.; exempt upland mining), and nothing was decided. With this lack of support, it seems even more likely that nothing much will come from this group in the way of relief from 838.

Law Enforcement/Penalties:
Lt. Gifford (OSP) gave a presentation (showed slides of good & bad mining) and recommended that 838 be changed to allow OSP to write citations (similar to speeding ticket) for simple violations rather than having to cite violators under a Class A Misdemeanor-for the reason that if they cite for a misdemeanor (crime) then the AG/DOJ & courts must be involved at great public expense (including public defender for poor violators)-all that for having a fuel can too close to the water, or being 490 ft. from another dredge.   He recommended that many penalties be changed to simple violations like a speeding ticket -go pay your fine and dont do that anymore. Of course, someone from the green side mentioned that the $6,000+ fines would be a better deterrent to keep such devastating crimes from occurring.....

Marine Board-Invasive Species:
At the July meeting we were told about how the State Marine Board (SMB) has jurisdiction over all watercraft, issues licenses, and requires that all boats & watercraft be decontaminated before moving from one waterbody to another to help stop the invasion of snails, etc.  At the Aug. meeting, the SMB told us that at present, suction dredges are not considered to be watercraft, (i.e. not used for transportation). One of the green group mentioned seeing someone riding on  a dredge floating through a rapid, and asked \Doesnt that make it a boat?\

Management Zones:
Later in the meeting we were shown a very rough DRAFT of a proposal for Management Zones as called for in Section 8 of 838. None of this is good. Many suggestions were made during the presentation, and supposedly the \Task Force\ (made up of agency people & Gov.s office) is currently considering some of the suggestions we made and plans to send us a \revised\ proposal  in a week or so.

Prohibited Areas:  No permits would be issued for motorized instream mining within:  Fed. Wilderness, State Scenic Waters, Monuments, Parks.

No Mining in Areas not Subject to the 1872 Mining Law:
All stream segments designated as ESH, Bull Trout or Lamprey habitat and on non-federal lands: NO MOTORIZED INSTREAM MINING ALLOWED. This would ban all or most so-called \Recreational Mining\.  (Although just maybe one could apply for and obtain(?) an Individual Permit??)

All stream segments NOT designated as ESH, Bull Trout or Lamprey habitat and on non-federal lands: The proposal was unclear on this (or I dont remember); but \maybe\ they would allow such mining under a General or Individual permit (heavily restricted if near any other users).

Mining on Federal Mining Claims:
Mining on claims (on Fed. lands) and within stream segments designated as ESH, Bull Trout or Lamprey habitat and on federal lands would require an Individual Permit.  Application Process and Cost unknown. Mining on claims (on Fed. lands) NOT within stream segments designated as ESH, Bull Trout or Lamprey habitat and on federal lands would require a General Permit.

NOTE:  There was no provision for instream motorized mining/prospecting on federal lands open to mining but NOT on a mining claim.  When asked, they said that might be covered under an Individual Permit if in ESH etc. streams, and maybe under a Gen. Permit in non ESH etc. streams.  We advised them that citizens have the right to \free & open\ exploration of \all valuable/locatable mineral deposits\ on lands of the U.S. open to mining..... and that many of these deposits require motorized methods to find, let alone mine (and that a claim wasnt required before mining).

At our August meeting in Salem, the Governors Study Group members would not agree to drop the upland motorized mining within 300 feet of ESH and bull trout streams from SB838. That would mean that in 2016, all mining using hand tools and motorized equipment such as pumps, highbankers or drywashers would be subject to the moratorium. Miners using hand tools and only panning, will not be subject to the moratorium. When I was working for the Forest Service in the late 1990s, we developed, (and Federal Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries concurred), a set of \Pick and Shovel Mitigation Measures\. Many mining organizations, such as EOMP, still hand these mitigation measures out to their members. Thus, I thought I would present them to the EOMA membership and see if miners could live with these restrictions in lieu of being shut down by the state in 2016. Let me know what you think.
Mining Using Hand Tools and Motorized Equipment Such as Pumps, Highbankers or Drywashers in Uplands Within 300 feet of ESH and Bull Trout Streams

1. A site specific buffer, at least three feet wide, measured horizontally from the annual bankfull width of the stream (normal high water mark), of vegetated ground, rock, or tailings will exist between the test site and the stream.
2. In areas where bare soil exists in the 3 foot buffer along the stream banks, work will not take place adjacent to the bare soil area. The bare soil will be seeded using a seed mix free of noxious weeds which is recommended by the Federal agency, and testing adjacent to the bare area will be deferred until vegetative cover is established.
3. Wood and/or straw, certified free of noxious weeds, may be used to establish a barrier along the banks if necessary to ensure there is no sediment movement toward the stream.
4. No panning will occur in the streams, except during the in-stream work window established by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, if motorized equipment is also being used.
5. No damming of the channel will occur.
6. Streams will only be forded during the ODFW work window.
7. Stream banks above the normal high water mark will not be impacted in any way which could destabilize the banks or cause sediment to move toward the stream.
8. No vegetation shading the stream will be removed (includes brush and trees).
9. Reclamation of disturbed areas will be ongoing, with only one test hole open at a given time, within 300 feet of the normal high water mark of the stream. This reclamation will include refilling test holes and seeding and mulching with wood or straw certified free of noxious weeds.
10. New areas of disturbance located 3-10 feet from the normal high water mark will not be contiguous with previously disturbed areas. If the first area is reclaimed during one season, an area at least 20 feet long running parallel with the stream will be skipped before a new area is opened up. Once vegetative cover is established on the first reclaimed area, the second area contiguous to the first may be opened up.
11. No work will take place in the exposed stream banks.
12. Where mine access roads are contributing sediment to the stream, waterbars will be constructed to drain water from the road into vegetated ground. The Federal agency will be contacted if work with mechanized equipment is needed to stabilize the road.
13. Driving native surface roads during wet weather will be avoided where possible.

1. Campsites will be located at least 300 feet from the stream whenever possible. Use of hardened campsites where vegetation is not impacted, which are located within 300 feet of streams, should be coordinated with the Federal agency to ensure camping will not impact water quality.
2. All trailers will be self contained. Chemical toilets and outhouses constructed to DEQ specifications are also acceptable.
3. Camping associated with the mining operation will occur only during the time mining takes place. Trailers and chemical toilets will be removed seasonally.

1. All pick and shovel operators processing with water will be in compliance with state water laws (i.e. water right or exempt use of off-channel water).
2. Operators processing with water will obtain a Water Pollution Control Facilities (WPCF) permit from DEQ, and all water will be disposed of by evaporation and seepage, with minimal land application.

1. Mine operators, State Police and the Federal agencies will monitor the waterways for increases in turbidity. Activities will cease immediately if process water flows overland into a waterway or if sediment is visible downstream from the site where mining takes place.
On August 13, American Resource Forest Council (AFRC) submitted comments pointing out the serious flaws in the proposed Blue Mountain Forest Plan revisions for the Malheur, Umatilla and Wallowa–Whitman National Forests. Although the revisions have been literally years in the works, the draft published on March 14 is so seriously flawed it has been met with criticism and condemnation from all sides. AFRC’s comments point out a number of problems with the proposal. The land base available for active, restorative management is whittled down by seemingly endless exceptions, withdrawals, and prohibitions with only 1,720,000 acres out of the total land base of 4,900,000 being identified as suitable for timber production. Although the forests have an annual growth of 1.3 billion board feet, the Allowable Sale Quantity is set at a mere 152 million board feet. Much of the science cited in the plan is derived from the decades old Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project, ignoring more current, relevant scientific research. Opportunities for salvage harvest are greatly reduced and restricted, which will lead to delays in forest restoration. Although the three forests have not been administratively combined, the draft treats them as one, ignoring the vast differences in growing regimes and management issues on each forest.

Among those calling for the proposal to be scrapped or substantially revised is Congressman Greg Walden who sent a letter on August 18 to Regional Forester Jim Pena calling on the Forest Service to work more closely with local communities to address their concerns. On August 1, based on work performed by the forestry consulting firm Mason, Bruce and Girard, the Eastern Oregon Counties Association voted to comment negatively on the proposal because of its failure to adequately address impacts to the public. The Blue Mountain Forest Partners collaborative also wrote a letter calling for more effective use of the collaborative process in devising a viable plan for the three forests.

In the face of these expressions of concern and in light of the serious flaws in the current draft, AFRC is hopeful that the Forest Service will not move forward with a plan that is bound to lead to litigation and needless delays in implementation.

EOMA President, Ken Alexander, submitted comments on the Blue Mountain Forest Plan Revision on August 14, 2014. EOMAs comments concerned the negative effects the draft EIS would have on mining on the Wallowa-Whitman, Umatilla and Malheur National Forests if the preferred alternative was implemented. Forest Supervisor John Laurence, stated repeatedly at public meetings that the Plan would not close roads. However, the Plan actually will close roads if implemented as written. New wilderness, non-motorized back country, elk winter range, corridors and closing more roads to reach \desired densities\ will all negatively affect mining.

The Wallowa-Whitman now has 19 maps of the forest, showing open roads, closed roads with no use, closed roads with use, roads that they dont know if there is use. Baker County has a set of maps, there is also a set at the Forest Service office. I have reviewed these maps briefly and already have seen problems with our mine access roads showing \closed with no use\. Miners familiar with roads in their areas, need to take a look at the maps and make corrections to the maps. EOMA recommends that all roads used by the public remain open to the public.

Ken Ivory, Utah State Representative, will be at the Sunridge Inn from 10am to 4:30pm September 13th. No Host Lunch. Come learn about State’s rights in regards to public lands. At Statehood, the federal government promised all newly created States that it would transfer title to our public lands... Reservations are required as seating is limited. Please call 541-519-5035


The advertising listings are only $1 per month to get your ad listed below. Send your ad to: EOMA, Box 932, Baker City, OR 97814 along with your remittance for each month you want us to run your ad. The number next to your ad is how many months your ad will run.

These are beautiful proof grade one ounce silver medallions with the addition of real gold “nuggets” in the pan. Your choice of years; 2012, 2013, or 2014. Send $50 plus $5.00 shipping, insurance, and handling to EOMA, Medallions, PO Box 932, Baker City, OR 97814, or call Bobbie at 541-523-3285. Be sure to specify what year you want.

Written by a miner for miners, this book covers all aspects of researching mining claim records, how to locate your own claim and keep it. Send check or money order for $32 dollars to: Tom Kitchar, PO Box 1371, Cave Junction, OR 97523.

Lest We Forget-Memories of Upper Burnt River Valley is a must have book. Are you researching RS2477 rights of way? Do you want information on the old homesteads? Are you interested in learning if your ancestors mined, farmed, or just lived in the Burnt River valley? This is the book for you. The cost is $59.95 plus shipping costs of $8.00. Send to P.O. Box 153, Unity, OR 97884. Or save on postage and call Jan at 541-446-3413 and she can bring one into Baker City.

These claims are located upstream from the patented Dooley Placer. Several new operations are starting up on Clarks Creek, both on patented lands and on BLM. These three claims, Iron Spoon, Lucky Dream, and Blue Trigger have plenty of virgin ground available. They were mined by the old timers with hand tools but were not dredged by the bucket line dredges which mined Clarks Creek in 1924, because the dredge capsized at Clarksville and could not continue upstream.

This backhoe is a workhorse. Good running machine and hydraulics work well. It has a yard and a quarter front end loader bucket and a 2’ backhoe bucket. Equipped with a cab. Serial #9106582 Priced to sell $7,500. Call Ken Alexander 541-446-3391