The Salmon River is NOT the Place for a Gravel Mine
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.
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.