Sign up for e-mail updates:

Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
You are here: Home ›› Blog ›› 2012 Blog Archive ›› The Salmon River is NOT the Place for a Gravel Mine

The Salmon River is NOT the Place for a Gravel Mine

Posted by Jonathan Oppenheimer at Jan 11, 2012 12:00 PM |

The State of Idaho is considering a mining operation in the bed of the Salmon River. Instead, we encourage alternative sources for gravel that don't threaten water quality, fish habitat and one of Idaho's greatest treasures.

The Salmon River is NOT the Place for a Gravel Mine

Gravel mining in the Salmon River has significant impacts on water quailty, streamside vegetation and fish. IDWR photo.

In the coming weeks, the Idaho Land Board will be considering re-issuance of a gravel mining permit in the Salmon River near White Bird, North of Riggins.

The permit would allow gravel mining for 5 years.

Maybe you appreciate the Salmon River for its stunning beauty, for the habitat it provides for endangered salmon, steelhead and bull trout, for the amazing recreational opportunities it provides, for the contribution to the economy of Idaho (floaters generate millions of dollars each year), or for the cold, clean water that flows downstream. We doubt you appreciate the Salmon River for the gravel it contributes to your roads.

The Federal Government designated this section of the Salmon River as an eligible Wild and Scenic River and even the State of Idaho has recognized the value of the river as a Special Resource Water.

One would think that the incredible values that the river possesses, along with the state and federal designations would prevent someone from operating a gravel mine in the bed of the river. Well, think again!

The method of mining, known as "gravel bar scalping" removes the upper layers of gravel that are deposited on gravel bars during occasional high water events. Typical impacts from gravel bar scalping include increased downstream erosion, increased sedimentation, degradation of streamside trees and shrubs, impacts to river hydraulics and introduction of toxic pollutants from heavy equipment.

As a result of the ongoing impacts to the Salmon River and to protect this amazing resource for future generations of Idahoans, the Idaho Conservation League is encouraging the Land Board to deny this permit and to consult closely with federal fish and wildlife specialists to ensure that sensitive species are protected.

Please consider speaking out against this misguided proposal.  


Document Actions
  • Send this
  • Print this

Salmon River Gravel Scalping

Posted by Gary Lane at Jan 13, 2012 01:14 PM
In the big picture, it would seem that the impact this operation of manipulating gravel bars has, would probably be negligent compared with what high water does when it rolls down the canyon each spring. Even new rapids are formed sometimes.

However, as a river outfitter who lives with the wonderful river in our back yard, the scenic values of the canyon and river has a huge impact to our business, as well as personal taste, beyond that.

Did I mention a sour taste? Or that inch by inch, it appears small things are insignificant. But have you ever noticed that you can't see the grass turning from green to brown, but it does indeed change as spring turns to fall. Or have you ever crawled into a boat to discover it only had one oar lock? Would you wish to travel downriver in such a boat?

Our area has seen a big change with a recent major road project for 5 years,above Riggins, with a second two year project (more like 4 yrs) as an extension to this firstone. All these things add up.

Well, our planet has no shortages of places hammered out by the hand of man. However, our places that have beauty of high magnitude are becoming more endangered all the time.

Cooperation and collaboration is great, but sometimes a line in the sand is necessary if we choose not to lose everything inch by inch. Just say no to yet more exploitation, and yes to unencumbered free running water.

Salmon River gravel mining

Posted by Jerry Randolph at Jan 17, 2012 01:04 PM
Gary is absolutely correct in his comment. His "inch by inch" metaphor should serve as yet-another warning siren to all who cherish our waterways. Whether it's the unnecessary Salmon River road project, oversize loads along the Lochsa, a gold mine located literally atop a water resource that serves and/or impacts hundreds of thousands of Idahoans, shoving chemicals deep into the earth within a rich breadbasket, or in this case a gravel operation in a river that is an Idaho icon, these "little" intrusions, over time, add up to major economic/environmental potential for uncontrolled damage that our grandchildren will necessarily have to contend. Better we continue to tackle these challenges as they present which I personally am indebted to ICL for its vigilance, professionalism, and passion.

No gravel pit!

Posted by Helen Carpenter at Jan 25, 2012 01:04 PM
Just say NO! NO! NO!!

gravel mining on the Salmon River

Posted by Darlene Means at Mar 16, 2012 12:17 PM
Not just "no" but Hell no!

powered by Plone | site by Groundwire Consulting and served with clean energy