Moscow, ID- Friends of the Clearwater filed an amicus brief today with an administrative law judge to support the Forest Service in their bid to deny placer mining on the North Fork Clearwater. The hearing, which begins on Tuesday January 15 in Orofino, will offer the Forest Service an opportunity to challenge mining on the dozens of claims that have been made on the river this past year. Friends of the Clearwater has supplied the agency with critical information leading up to the hearing, and hope to be accepted as a friend of the court. A total of thirty-six mining claims have been filed along a thirty-mile stretch of the river.
"We support the Forest Service in their efforts to challenge mining on the North Fork Clearwater," said Ecosystem Defense Director Gary Macfarlane. "We hope the administrative judge accepts our request to be part of the process."
The group contends that suction dredging of the river is incompatible with other uses of the highly popular waterway.
"The N. Fork Clearwater is a highly popular destination for anglers, campers, and other recreationists. Every summer people flock to its fishing holes, beaches and swimming sites," said Education & Outreach Director Brett Haverstick. "Dredging that river for economic gain shouldn't trump the public good."
The group is also concerned about critical habitat for bull trout, which the N. Fork Clearwater provides.
"The federal government has designated critical habitat for bull trout in places like the N. Fork Clearwater," said Gary Macfarlane. "This type of activity would clearly conflict with that designation."