Presentation on theme: "Evaluation of Proposed Dredging Regulations and the Draft EIR 10 May 2010."— Presentation transcript:
Evaluation of Proposed Dredging Regulations and the Draft EIR 10 May 2010
Proposed Rules If the 1994 rules were evaluated in the SEIR using fair analysis and data all impacts would be “Less than Significant” We have found that bias towards a pre-determined outcome is influencing the rule making process of a legal activity
Specific Challenges Limit of 4,000 permits per year – No facts or data substantiates this limit Limit of 4” nozzle size – No facts or data substantiates this limit 3’ Rule – No evidence or study substantiates this Closure of ½ the state to protect frog habitat – All available data says this is not necessary Gas cans 100’ from river – No evidence that dredgers spill gasoline if the can is 10’ from river vs. 100’ – likelihood actually goes up Dredge permit number on dredge – What useful purpose can that server? The operator is permitted, not the dredge
WHICH ONE WOULD BE LEGAL Violations Under Proposed Rules: 1.5” Dredge 2.Dredging in frog habitat 3.Dredging within 3’ of bank 4.Gas can not 100’ from water 5.No permit number on dredge 6.Dredging out of season Violations: None
FIND THE NICK MARK – DSEIR CH 4.3 Two claims that have seen 40 years of continuous dredging – where is the environmental impact? The DSEIR states that dredging these streams would create “nick marks” – really? I guess in 40 years of dredging those boulders from floods didn’t “knick the bottom” Where are the “knick marks” in these photos? Both photos show areas that have been dredged for the past 3 years Theoretical discussions should have no place in an Environmental Impact Report when you have 40 years of data sitting in front of you
FIND THE YELLOW LEGGED FROG This claim is shutdown and made worthless under the proposed rules due to it being classified as prime frog habitat.
“Mercury is not an Issue”
DSEIR Requirements for Significance 1. Increase levels of any priority pollutant (Hg) that would exceed State or Federal established levels 2. Result in substantial, long-term degradation of existing water quality that would cause substantial adverse effects to one or more beneficial uses of a water body. 3. Increase levels of any bio-accumulative pollutant in a water body by frequency and magnitude such that body burdens in populations of aquatic organisms would be expected to measurably increase
Criteria 1 Results Suction dredging removes 98% of the mercury from the river while not exceeding any State or Federal water quality standard Based on: – Humphreys 2003 (USFS and CA RWQCB) – Fleck 2010 (USGS) Standard for Hg: 20mg/kg averaged over a 30 day period Highest Levels measured by Humphreys: 1.9 mg/kg Highest Levels measured by Fleck in dredge test: 0 mg/kg
Why is this not mentioned in the DSEIR? 540 grams of Hg Captured US Government Study, 2003
Second Real Dredge Test US Government Study 2007 Dredge Capture Rate: Fleck 3” Test 475 grams in sluice 8 grams in tailings Captured THg Tailings THg Why is this not mentioned in the DSEIR?
Mercury Discharges from a Dredge Never Exceed California Hazardous Waste Thresholds
California Hg Waste Threshold California Hazardous Waste Threshold is 20mg/kg. At no point did either dredge even approach this limit. The average dredging the most contaminated site in the state was a release of 1.9 mg/kg – 90% below the threshold. California rules allow averaging of samples over a 30 day period – not mentioned in the DSEIR A suction dredge would NEVER exceed the threshold under any realistic scenario and actual testing by US Government scientists PROVE this
Criteria 2 Result in substantial, long-term degradation of existing water quality that would cause substantial adverse effects to one or more beneficial uses of a water body. DSEIR finding is based on two things: 1.Speculation that suction dredges cause flouring of mercury 2.Speculation that remobilization of floured mercury causes transformation to MeHg
Humphreys Study Humphreys found that ALL mercury in the sample prior to dredging passed through a 30 mesh screen (floured) Humphreys found that ALL mercury in the tailings passed through a 30 mesh screen (floured) Yet the dredge captured 98% of the floured mercury! Mercury is Floured both before and after dredging 30 Mesh Screen
Want Proof? Fleck, 2010 (USGS Test) Why is this not mentioned in the DSEIR?
Conclusions 1.Mercury is floured both prior to and after dredging 2.US Government studies prove that a standard suction dredge captures 98% of floured mercury 3.Fleck study found no detectable amounts of MeHG in discharge from the dredge 4.Fleck study found no significant detectable amounts of Hg in discharge from the dredge 5.Fleck study found a reduction in Hg(II)r levels from source material to tailings material
Criteria 3 Increase levels of any bio-accumulative pollutant in a water body by frequency and magnitude such that body burdens in populations of aquatic organisms would be expected to measurably increase Criteria 3 is clearly speaking to increasing levels of MeHg within biota The question is do suction dredges do this? The DSEIR concludes they do, what do the studies show?
Fleck Study Measured larva of various species in 2007 and 2008 – found differences between the two years and concluded the only variable that changed was dredging was banned in the area in 2008 – therefore the DSEIR concludes it must have been dredging. Is this finding substantiated?
Water Years 2007 to 2008 Fleck Study: Qualitatively observed the two years were “about the same.”
Almost the Same With the exception of: 2007: Flood occurred on 11 February 2008: Flood occurred on 4 January 2007: Flood exceeded 2008 by 1,000 cfs IF you’re measuring MeHg it would be helpful to know how the hatches coincide with the flood event
How much Hg in a Flood? Fleck took point samples during a May 5 th,2009 flood event the results are: A single flood event produces the total annual load of Hg
Results A flood event contributes far more Hg to the river than suction dredgers EVER could - Natural load achieved in 24 hour period The timing of flood events will have significant impact on measured MeHg levels The DSEIR doesn’t take into account flood event timing; photodegradation (50% according to CA EPA); hatch timing; flood event contribution DSEIR CONCLUSIONS ARE WRONG AND NOT BASED ON EVIDENCE OR FACT We would better spend our time regulating the floods in the river to one every 1.5 years than we would limiting dredge permits or nozzle sizes
DSEIR Grand Conclusion 1 dredger working a 4” dredge in Fleck Test Pit #2 would produce 298mg an hour exceeding the natural load of Hg in the S. Yuba River in 1,100 hours Simple – but wrong
Overview of Pit #2 A suction dredge must work for 19 hours to move the 2% fraction that had the 298mg/hr rate included
Bedrock Sediment is 2% of Total Moved
The Real Time Required DSEIR = 1,100 hours Actual = 2,800,000 hours
Does this look like a dredge? This is where the 298 mg/hr rate came from – not a real dredge Concentrates stay in the dredge – where is the sluice box?
Conclusions It would take 14,800 permitted dredgers – all dredging at the confluence of Humbug Creek and the S. Yuba River to exceed the natural load of the S. Yuba River The DSEIR is not presenting the facts – conclusions are based on conjecture and poor analysis intended to distort the impact of suction dredging There is no evidence that suction dredging is any way harmful to the environment – under the 1994 program rules There is no need to limit permits or nozzle sizes, there is no evidence supporting this All we ask is if you do science – do science. Don’t purposefully select data to bolster a pre- determined outcome. It is unlikely that the DSEIR analysis, the Fleck Study or the Humphreys study would withstand a peer review for experiment construct, collection or analysis. LETS BE FAIR AND USE REAL SCIENCE – NOT CONJECTURE