Author Topic: Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/27/2012  (Read 83951 times)

Chuck Pharis

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Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/27/2012
« on: July 30, 2012, 04:34:57 PM »
This is to all recreational gold Prospectors in the State of Tennessee and in the USA.
As of Friday July 27, 2012 the TWRA ?Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency? is enforcing
TCA 70-4-206. This is ?Stream Mitigation Guidelines for the State of Tennessee?. It is posted on line, just Google it.
Yes, I know it does not say anything about recreational prospecting but that is what they are using right now.
 
All motorized (with moving parts) recreational gold prospecting equipment: dredging and highbanking is banned in the State of Tennessee on any waterways. This includes all National, State, AND private land in Tennessee. This does NOT cover the Tellico Ranger District in East Tennessee and our Coker Creek GPAA property. Our property falls into the ?private land sector? but the TWRA gave me a special waiver on our private GPAA leased land only. Dredging and highbanking on ALL other private land in Tennessee is banned.
Sucker tubing, sluicing, and panning with hand tools is ok on ANY waters in Tennessee.

I had a long talk with the TWRA Aquatic Habitat Biologist and he told me, that he was told by his boss at the TWRA on Friday July 27, 2012 (I do not have the name of the boss yet) to go to the Little River area in Blount county and stop all gold prospecting.
He told me on the phone that he had to ban all gold prospecting on any State waters (even in your own backyard) and cited TCA 70-4-206. He said there is nothing he can do as he is just following orders.
Originally even gold panning, slicing and sucker tubing was banned but after a long conversation and two phone calls, I seemed to convince the TWRA that ALL hand operated tools with (non moving parts) and gold pans will not harm the environment. After I described a sucker tube he gave us permission to use those too. I could not convince them about dredging.
I am going to notify the GPAA and the PLP and a few others here in the State of Tennessee about this. This is out of my hands now but the Biologist said if anyone uses mechanical equipment to gold prospect in any Tennessee waters they could be cited and fined up to $2,500.00. He said he has to enforce the law and so does any Law Enforcement Officer and Ranger in the State of Tennessee.
This has just happened so I know it will go viral. Please do not blame me (the messenger) but I have been working on this for 3 days and am just passing the information to everyone. I did my best to save some prospecting for now and I DID.
Believe me, for ONE HOUR today, we even LOST gold panning with a shovel!
I know this will go up the chain of command here in Tennessee and through out the USA.
I am very sorry to have to be the one to report this, but like it or not, it has happened.

I KNOW most will say ?THEY CAN?T DO THIS?. And I hope some good lawyers and State Government officials can fix this problem.
When I talked to the TWRA they told me to contact the main TWRA office in Nashville and talk to the lawyers there.
I am not going to do that, I am going to pass this information up above me and let them handle it.

As of now I was told of the enforcement and will abide by it and pass it onto others until I hear different.
I am confused and sick over this and do not believe they can do this.
At least we still have our GPAA property and the Tellico Ranger District, for now.

I am going to a local meeting on Tuesday July 31, 2012 to possibly get more information. I will post that information when I get it.

As president of the Tennessee Coker creek GPAA I confirm the above information as true and correct as of 4 PM, July 30, 2012.

This message may be re-printed, posted and passed along AS IS. Please do not edit it or change it in any way.

There is nothing further I can do at my level so please do not ask.

Chuck Pharis
President: Coker Creek Tennessee GPAA chapter.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2012, 11:23:45 PM by Chuck Pharis »
Chuck Pharis
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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2012, 04:48:28 PM »
Thanks for your efforts on this Chuck. I am sure that everyone won't have thanks for you, but don't pay any attention to them.

I am reviewing the relevant code as I write this and I have ideas. I will speak to my ideas when I finish reviewing the code.

Thanks again,

Al
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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2012, 05:32:55 PM »
thanks Chuck for the work you put into this, I believe I have bought my last license from the state to do any fishing or hunting , I don't help those that don't help us. when it comes down to someone telling me that I can't dig or dredge in a creak on my private property then someone better tell me who to send my tax bill to every year. this is just one step away from a dictatorship . if the AHB said his boss gave him the order then he should have been more the happy to supply his name, nobody like to be the guy in the spot light . if he doesn't want to give the name then theres something wrong with the chain of command. I'll quit now but I'm kinda mad and just had to let a little steam off.

thanks again
Don
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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2012, 05:51:51 PM »
 I'm a newbie. I didn't know dredgers built rock bridges. I thought they just need a hole deep enough for the foot valve.  >>>>

  ED

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2012, 05:53:39 PM »
thanks chuck for all your efforts. i believe what you said and we should let the higher powers work this out. i hope.   bridge

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2012, 05:56:13 PM »
Yes thank you Chuck, now lets all do our part and try and keep what we have left.

Chuck Pharis

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2012, 06:05:35 PM »
Thanks everyone, we still have a lot of work to do. I just got off the phone the the GPAA and they know about this. We did lose some areas but kept many others. For a few days we lost everything  >:(
This is just the beginning. As I always say, please do not panic and spread rumors. I will post more information as I get it but after 10 hours today on the phone and computer I am done for the day.
Chuck
Chuck Pharis
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Chuck Pharis

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2012, 06:27:39 PM »
Just a note to everyone: If you are out panning, slucing, crevicing or sucker tubing anywhere in Tennessee and any law enforcement officer tells you that you can't do that, advise them that only dredging and high banking has been banned. They have no right to cite or fine you for using hand operated tools and a gold pan.
Because of what happened from last Friday to this morning many might not have the correct information yet.
As soon as I get more information (in writing) I will post it.
Everything I post has come from State officals and not from rumors.
The best thing to do is, always contact the local Rangers or Police in the area you want to prospect before you get on the water.
Everything is back to normal in the Tellico Ranger District and on our Coker Creek GPAA leased property. For a while we had lost everything, sigh,,,,,
I think the GPAA Buzzard was looking out for us "from above" today.
Chuck
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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2012, 06:36:37 PM »
Thanks Chuck, the battle has just begun I suspect and fear.

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2012, 06:38:37 PM »
70-4-206. Pollution of waters Penalty for violations Nuisance.

(a)  No pollution, including, but not limited to, dye waste, petroleum products, brine waste, refuse from a mine, sawmill or construction activity, industrial or domestic sewage, or any deleterious or poisonous substance or activity, shall be thrown or be caused, or allowed to run into, wash into or take place in any waters, either private or public, in a manner injurious to fish life or other aquatic organisms, or that could be injurious to the propagation of fish, or that results in the destruction of habitat for fish and aquatic life.

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2012, 06:43:00 PM »
A couple of things. Chuck I think you did a great job in gathering information and taking this task on. Good job. Next I must say TWRA can't decide what property it exempts from state law enforcement. That would be like THP saying they are only going to enforce DUI laws on certain roads. That's ridiculous. If you want to change TWRA then don't go to TWRA. Go to TWRC. The commission sets the task for the agency. I think one of the new commisioners lives in Knoxville. In reading the TCA code it looks to me like they are trying to use the "refuse from a mine" to say its polluting but the mine don't exist. Not sure they can make that stretch. Now saying that, if you look at the stream mitigation guidelines they have a much better chance of closing that gap. It goes it to detail about dam and dam structures and any and all forms of barriers, borders etc. Even talks about moving things to restrict, stop or alter water flow. If it were me that's where I would be concerned. No I'm not an attorney but I did stay at a ..........

? 70-4-206. Water pollution; crimes and offenses; public nuisances
 
(a) No pollution, including, but not limited to, dye waste, petroleum products, brine waste, refuse from a mine, sawmill or construction activity, industrial or domestic sewage, or any deleterious or poisonous substance or activity, shall be thrown or be caused, or allowed to run into, wash into or take place in any waters, either private or public, in a manner injurious to fish life or other aquatic organisms, or that could be injurious to the propagation of fish, or that results in the destruction of habitat for fish and aquatic life.

(b) A violation of this section is a Class A misdemeanor. Each day's violation of this section constitutes a separate offense and each five (5) days' continuous violation also constitutes a public nuisance, subject to abatement by permanent injunction.


Chuck Pharis

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2012, 06:48:44 PM »
The thing that gets me is: how can we be polluting any Tennessee waterways by dredging and moving dirt around that is already in the water and then removing mecury, lead, fish hooks and trash from the rivers and creeks?
I am sure this will come out later.
I am having TWO beers tonight  8)
Chuck
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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2012, 06:53:30 PM »
Let's break this down.  no dye, no petroleum, brine.  Those 3 out.  Then refuse from mine, sawmill, or construction activity.  Refuse being rocks from a dug hole in the ground outside of the creek dumped into it, that's ok we can't dig the banks anyway.  Since prospecting is causing zero injury, or possible injury to fish since it is actually less destructive than even a small thunder storm.  We need some names to bust this wide open.

ref?use/riˈfyo͞oz/
Verb:   
Indicate or show that one is not willing to do something.
Noun:   
Matter thrown away or rejected as worthless; trash

mine/mīn/
Noun:   
An excavation in the earth for extracting coal or other minerals: "a copper mine".
Verb:   
Obtain (coal or other minerals) from a mine.

ex?ca?va?tion/ˌekskəˈvāSHən/
Noun:   
The action of excavating something, esp. an archaeological site.
A site that is being or has been excavated.


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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2012, 06:59:18 PM »
thanks  chuck for all your efforts in this matter any area is better than none.
if'n i had my druthers i'd druther be huntin' purdy yeller rocks.

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2012, 08:52:26 PM »
Remember it is an election year.  It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to contact those running for office and let them know that you have now become a "single issue voter."  Get their input and response and post it here.  Let them know you will become very vocal with-in and outside our group about their views.  If they are running for national office, aka Senator/Congressman, they are going to tell you that this is a state issue and outside of their reach.  Remind them that this is indeed a national issue being pushed by organizations outside of the state of Tennessee.  If they try to pass the buck, remind them that you will still report them as non-cooperative for our recreational prospecting rights.  Call the Governors office daily as information has changed on a daily basis already. 

On a side note....  Chuck Pharis has handled this impeccably.  We are lucky to have a man of his convictions standing on our side and representing us in this issue.  He was on top of it from the start and did very well to squash rumors and panic.  Chuck, I commend and salute you sir.
Rob Johnson
« Last Edit: July 30, 2012, 10:59:51 PM by Rob Johnson »

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #15 on: July 30, 2012, 08:57:31 PM »
There are many items in this code that need to be researched and discussed. It all seems to come down to what level of impact the activity has on the watershed / water quality. Siltation can't be an issue if you are only moving material that is already in the stream bed. Turbidity can be an issue, but it is localized and temporary at best. Temporary events don't seem to fall under the "umbrella" of this code and neither does the small amount of material transported by a small suction dredge. Critical water quality issues seem to be levels of certain pollutants that are present in the water. If the activity does not appreciably increase these levels then it shouldn't be subject to these regulations from a water quality standpoint. The wild card to me seems to be aquatic habitat and I can't speak to that. Maybe some else can?

Al
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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #16 on: July 30, 2012, 09:27:13 PM »
Where exactly is the property that started all of this? Who own's it? Did anyone see or see pictures of the so called damage?

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #17 on: July 30, 2012, 09:28:37 PM »
From now on im NOT dredging.....   im removing mercury and lead poison from the water, IF i should find any gold i promise (fingers crossed behind my back) to throw it back in the water........  8)

Chuck Pharis

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #18 on: July 30, 2012, 10:39:33 PM »
A lot of this started with dredgers at the Little River area in east Tennessee tearing up the river, dredging and water blasting into the banks, filling their gas tanks IN the river and not filling in their holes. We did this to ourselves and even after warning the dredgers they still messed up the river. I posted many warnings on our chapter website and some dredgers still continued to cause problems. Possible photos and even a video were even taken by locals. I never will understand why some prospectors will NEVER follow common sense rules and mess it up for everyone. After many, many, MANY local complaints and after the Police came out the TWRA was notified and then the ban started.
The dredgers KNOW who they are and now they can trade their dredges in for boats and go fishing.
The worst thing anyone can do is take a dredge out and invite a ticket. I talked with Legal at the GPAA today about this and their advice is NO!!!!! If WE break the law, as bad as it is, any Judge will hang us in court. We CAN take this to court but NOT by breaking the laws. Thanks Rob for the compliment. I was on the phone for 9 hours today (Monday). We actually lost panning too in the entire state AND on our GPAA property for a few hours. I will give the entire story at our Aug meeting. I will post a report after I get back from a meeting Tuesday.
Please be careful about what you post here and on other sites. I spent hours getting on the good side of the TWRA and I do not want to lose anything I/we gained today. They can take away ALL prospecting at the drop of a hat. Folks, we are on probation here and if I catch any GPAA members breaking any existing rules or bans I will fight to have then banned from the GPAA. If you think I am joking here , just try me. I had a tough day and I need a beer  :P
Chuck Pharis
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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2012, 05:04:57 AM »
Well there's only one place  we can fight  this and that's the court room

We can get on here and cry about what's been done or we can fight back

I think it's clear there's a agenda and it's not to clean up the water it's to put a end
To gold prospecting  that much they told chuck already
It's simple enough to prove in court  what effects we have on a river or stream with a dredge
I'm a newbie to dredging and boast or 70lbs of lead iv removed from the river  in less than
6 months of dredging

So stop and think about this for a second   

We need to banned together and start a  legal fund and File a law suite
If ya want to change than we need to make it happen ourselves
We need to form  a board to handle the legal fund and Find that right lawyer
To get this ball rolling

I know we can beat this because iv seen first hand the effects we have on the rivers
And after fighting with the anglers  on the banks who love to tell us how we r killing the fish
And destroying the water  it's always been a pleasure of mine to show them
All the lead weights in my box and ask them who really are hurting the river and fish
You can't even compare the impact  fishing has compared to dredging And it's simple enough to prove

I'll be the first to pledge some money to this. 500 dollars and I'll clean out extra stuff sell it and donate that also
And no I'm not rich and I don't even dredge in tn much anymore mostly in Alabama
But I realize if I allow this to happen than there going to push it further
Give them a inch and they will take a mile
And if your reading this  you need to also





G1sammons

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #20 on: July 31, 2012, 05:08:34 AM »
Also would like to drop a line and say thanks for all the efforts chuck
It doesn't go un noticed and means a lot to all of us

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #21 on: July 31, 2012, 06:51:55 AM »
 Did I miss it??  This is the first time I've heard about blasting the banks and filling engines with gas while in the river. All this time I thought they were just moving a few rocks and being an inconveince to swimmers. If I had that information up front maybe some of the uproar may have been prevented. Something else I would caution everyone on. I mentioned it before. TWRA has to enforce the law equally. They can't stop something in one place and allow it on GPAA property just because Chuck got on the good side of them. Good ole boy politics won't win out anymore when it comes to private property rights.Do you really think I would standby and let them stop me dredging on my own creek a mile away from the GPAA property and still allow it there? Makes no sense. I'm betting now there's even more to the story.

Chuck Pharis

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #22 on: July 31, 2012, 08:10:34 AM »

On Monday early afternoon when I talked to the TWRA, they told me ALL prospecting was banned, even panning using any hand tool to dig. Get this: they said we "could pan", but we could only dig with our bare hands! They said no prospecting on any waterways in Tn even on our GPAA property. He did inform me (after some confusion last Friday) that this ban did not affect the Tellico Ranger District. I had confirmed that after a phone call to them at 8:01 am Monday morning. 
I told the TWRA about Kid's day and all the club members who come to our GPAA property with their Families and camp there. I told them this ban would close down our club property and end the GPAA in the State of Tennessee. I asked them if a Father, Mother and 12 year old Daughter could not even take a plastic kid's gold pan and a plastic shovel to a creek and pan for gold. He told me if they did they could be fined $2,500.00
I told them if they banned all prospecting; prospecting stores would close down, camp grounds and local food stores would suffer, etc, etc. They said they were sorry but all prospecting was banned. One hour later they called me back the changed their mind. (I think the 12 year old girl story got to them) and they said they would allow all hand operated tools and pans. Dredging was still banned on private land in the entire state but they would give us a special waiver on our GPAA property. Yes, this breaks their own rules but we need to take whatever we can get right now and more forward. This also shows that someone at the TWRA has a heart and felt for some of us and the locals who would lose money from the prospectors shopping in our area. This might take a long time but we will chip away at it.
I still have this meeting Tuesday afternoon (today) and will post the outcome Tuesday evening. Don't expect much but so far I think I have made some progress. Can you even THINK what it would be like to not be able to even gold PAN in the state? I almost had a stroke knowing I was going to have to ban panning on our GPAA property today. Who would come with no prospecting at all?
I am not patting myself on the back here, but I did work non stop for 10 hours on this Monday and am simply happy that I was able to get some of it back. I did it without panic, yelling, threats or spreading rumors. I won't even tell you how many panicked miners called the GPAA, the local Rangers and even State officials yelling and screaming, even with threats about law suits and court action.
Actions like that will piss them off and we can lose everything. We are on probabtion here so we just need to calm down and move forward.
I will NEVER condone or participate in protesting, rock throwing, yelling, screaming and threats. I will NEVER break the law to get attention to an issue. Many have said they will dredge just to get the fine and then go to court. That is the worst thing you can do.
Many were pissed (in the beginning) at how I planned to handle this. My calm nature and working with the agencies involved saved part of recreational prospecting. Now we will work on getting dredging back. One step at a time. 
I am sorry that I could not give out more information last Friday but it would have hurt the plans I had for Monday morning. I was told to stop dredging Friday and I did. I did not want anyone from the GPAA to break and laws and piss off the State until I was able to talk with them on Monday.
I am just making a point here. I was elected to our GPAA chapter by it's members. I will fight for our rights but will do it calmly. You can vote me out anytime you want. I am here for the duration if you will have me. Last Friday I received a lot of hate emails and phone calls. I almost went fishing on Monday and let the armchair Lawyers handle this themselves. I do not need the stress. 
Chuck


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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #23 on: July 31, 2012, 08:34:47 AM »
chuck you deserve more praise than you are getting.you have handled youreself very well.i think all dredgers and panners shound calm down and follow ALL posted rules and set the example that incidents in question are the actions of a few idiots and not what we do as a whole.cussing and screaming at officials will not help us in any way.if you want to scream at someone find someone not following the rules and let em have it because thats what will cause even more problems for all of us.lets use some common sense and tread lightly while on the waters and show them we can act like adults and dredge and pan in a responsible manner.little river gets alot of attention from alot of diffrent intrests and needs to be used with alot of care.believe it or not as the little river goes so goes the state.
if'n i had my druthers i'd druther be huntin' purdy yeller rocks.

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #24 on: July 31, 2012, 08:56:33 AM »
Chuck funny thing is that Twra  has no legal authority to stop prospecting in any form or fashion
And the pointe that that was there intent will cost them a court decision
Not sure that that have the authority to enforce EPA regs either
Did you record any of these calls or conversations?

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #25 on: July 31, 2012, 09:05:00 AM »
Also would agree that handling this calmly the way chuck did is the only way to deal with any problem but especially when dealing with a government agency
Threats arnt  going to get anywhere with something like this
And my hats. Off to chuck on this
And when your ready to go fishing let me know iv nice boat and know where we can get some nice walleyes not far from tellico plains

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #26 on: July 31, 2012, 10:16:08 AM »
This is like stopping all driving because a few speed, drive drunk or wreck! :(
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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #27 on: July 31, 2012, 10:21:44 AM »
Yes Chuck, thank you for your voice and experience here, and for all the time you have and will be spending representing us on this.  I'm buying the beer next time I make it out to Coker.

Best,
Jesse

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #28 on: July 31, 2012, 10:24:27 AM »
No I did not record the conversations. I do have a short email in writing about letting us use hand tools.
and pans.
The issue in Tennessee is so many different State agencies have (or think they have) control over the water ways when it flows through the property they manage. We are still working on this and remember it has only been a few days since this started. We still have a lot to do.
Chuck
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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #29 on: July 31, 2012, 10:26:55 AM »
I like Guinness  8)
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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #30 on: July 31, 2012, 11:07:42 AM »
Thank you chuck for all the work you have done this week and all yrs,  i havenot been able to dreadge this yr in cc but you have worked wonderful for the intrest of the club and that why you were relected . thanks for giving the club the right dreadge .
Question.Can we Dreadge at Doc rodgers in sept.and do we need premit still?
thank again : :

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #31 on: July 31, 2012, 11:41:58 AM »
Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2012, 06:27:45 AM by MTaylor »

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #32 on: July 31, 2012, 11:46:37 AM »
Great Job Chuck, You handled this situation in a very calm and professional manner and you got the best results that could have been got out of this situation. Like you said that is the way you have to handle these type of situations, even though we are all upset and angry and want to yell and tell them off at first but everyone has to realize that would have just ruined it completely for everyone that would have been a sure way to piss the state off and them ban everything having to do with prospecting and you ask yourself why would they do that and the answer is simple, because they can. They have the authority, we dont so thats why you stay on their good side and unfortunately kiss their a**.....lol.

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #33 on: July 31, 2012, 01:48:31 PM »
Thanks Chuck for your time & committment to all of us ! I agree it is Early stages of proccess. We all need to stand TOGETHER & fight & with a FEARLESS LEADER heading the way. Thanks again Chuck for all your efforts .

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #34 on: July 31, 2012, 06:39:56 PM »
First, all areas of the Tellico Ranger District are NOT affected by the dredging ban. Yes Doc Rogers will be open according to the 2012 rules.
And, "because they can" is not quite correct. We lost dredging in 98% of the State because a few dredgers in the Little River area pissed off the locals so many times and so many complaints were filed, the State cited older regulations and socked it to everyone. I will be posting more about all of this later tonight or early Wed.
I just got out of a meeting and have more information. I need to get all my notes together. I also need a rest as I have been working on this for days. It is 6:30 pm and I have not even had lunch yet.
Our GPAA private property is also NOT affected by the ban.
Chuck
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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #35 on: July 31, 2012, 07:46:49 PM »
Thanks again Chuck for the hard work. 

BTW.  I'd say the oil from the road when it rains getting in the stream would cause 1000x more damage than if someone dropped a drop of gas in the rivers.  Also, do they make people take their boats out of the water ways to fill them, hmm, I think not.  I'll post some sweet finds from my last dredging trip that I got from about 12 sq ft of bedrock. 

My neighbor is a marine biologist.  Maybe I can take a stream sample from a dredged river section and an undredged and see if he can tell the difference.  I doubt it.  Is there a lawyer fund we need to contribute to and fight for our rights? 
« Last Edit: July 31, 2012, 07:52:41 PM by digi »

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #36 on: July 31, 2012, 08:25:07 PM »
Chuck,

Take a break and fill us in tomorrow. Have three beers on me tonight.  :)

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #37 on: July 31, 2012, 08:48:53 PM »
Thanks Al lol!!!
I am taking a break tonight. I will post the information from the meeting today on Wed. Thursday and Friday I am going to metal detect on private land 3 1/2 hours north of me. If I find anything I will post photos on the web site this weekend.
My thanks to everyone for the kind words.
Chuck
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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #38 on: July 31, 2012, 10:08:02 PM »
3 and 1/2 hours North sounds like KY territory to me.  Lexington area?

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #39 on: August 01, 2012, 12:27:05 AM »
Sorry my secret  8)
Not KY ::)
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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #40 on: August 01, 2012, 06:34:30 AM »
TWRA facebook in response to the question says they never allowed it on management areas and TCA 70-4-206 is not one of their codes??  Short and sweet. That kinda confirms what I've heard.

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #41 on: August 01, 2012, 08:20:07 AM »
The truth is, they never enforced it.
More later this morning.
Chuck
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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #42 on: August 01, 2012, 10:13:16 AM »
Right. The law has always been there. I see  something on the horizon. Have any of you seen the new group that was formed and suing TVA over the Tennessee River. Laws that have been on the books forever and not enforced. Again Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #43 on: August 01, 2012, 01:06:42 PM »
I'm new to this forum but not coker creek or prospecting.

I would like to say Thank you Chuck, your efforts are greatly appreciated and when I finally get to meet you I will thank you in person to show my honest concern and appreciation once more. I think you handled yourself and this problem perfectly, aggression is never the key when going after something like this or dealing with any kind of government for that matter. I have a lot I would like to say about all of this, but i'm going to leave it be untill your post about the meeting you just had. I feel you have done such a good job theres no real reason to make any kind of statment twords this problem. You have answered all my questions about this so far without me having to ask anything ( hints the reason it took me a few days to post) and couldn't ask for more after all your long hrs and days of working this problem out. I have a passion for prospecting and it accompanies my love for geology perfectly, I would hate to have one taken from the other because of a few bad seeds that dont wanna follow rules. Chuck I hope you were able to get farther into there heads with your calmness and attack there hearts with your kindness to win over this problem to the extent that one person could. I am honored chuck to have you representing me as a prospector, and I hope your good examples will be looked at as the proper way to handle such an issue by others in the future.

                                          Thank you again Chuck, you deffently deserve a huge gold nugget for this one
                                                                                                                                                       James Decker

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #44 on: August 01, 2012, 01:59:51 PM »
Unfortunately, this is only the beginning and the whole country knows it.  It's not about damage to creeks, every winter the holes get filled in by storms that move the rocks in floods. Its not about destroying habitate for fish because the small spotty deep holes are benificial to fish and actually help protect them from the sun and hot water at the surface.  Its about ignorant, clueless, uninformed beuracrates jumping to wrongful conclusions once again and banning others hobbies.  I don't doubt its also the fact that we are getting a little gold too. Hunting and fishing will be next unless you are rich.  Already there are talks to make all national forests and wild places off limits without a permit. Welcome to UN agenda 21. Not in this country and I plan on voteing everyone currently in office out of office. Yes I'm a TN voter and I encourage all of you to vote this election cycle.

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #45 on: August 01, 2012, 02:01:53 PM »
I am glad you mentioned Agenda 21. Everybody should Google that and read what its all about. It is really scary if you can read between the lines.

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #46 on: August 01, 2012, 03:07:38 PM »
Isn't our government nice to support Agenda 21?  Another reason I don't trust nor like the UN.  On a lighter note, kudos to Chuck for his fighting to preserve this hobby!

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Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #47 on: August 01, 2012, 03:45:46 PM »
Ok everyone, here is the latest. I waited until I received more facts before posting anything.
 
This will be in 2 parts. The meeting I went to on Tuesday July 31 will be in part 2.

The information I am posting is "as I understand it". I do not post rumors.
 
First, things stand as they were with the current dredging ban. No dredging on any waterways in the entire State of Tennessee including on all private land. Dredging is ok in the Tellico Ranger District of East Tennessee and on the GPAA Coker Creek leased property. That is it, no where else.
The person who came to the Little River area in Blount County, Tennessee on Friday July 27 was Rob Linbaum. His title is: Aquatic Habitat Biologist for the State of Tennessee. He was sent to Little River by his boss at the TWRA, ?Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency? after many complaints from the locals there. Dredgers were digging holes and not filling them up, one dredger even water blasted into the banks, gas tanks were being filled IN the water, and some dredgers were working very close to swimmers. Also there is some private land around Little River. The land owners own the land to the center of the river or depending on their property papers, even more of the land under the water. They do not own the water, but they DO own the land, gravel, sand and any other material under the water. Anyone dredging or even panning on that land can be cited for trespassing. For years the dredgers were not causing any major problems. In the past month the locals have complained plus some of the dredgers talked rude to the locals. Then the Police were called, and it went up the chain of command until it reached the TWRA.
Photos were taken (I have seen some of them) and some dredgers continued to cause problems. As far as the prospectors were concerned, there were no written laws in that area, so many thought they could do whatever they wanted.
After weeks and weeks of complaints, the TWRA pulled up TCA 70-4-206. This is ?Stream Mitigation Guidelines for the State of Tennessee?. They now say this law has always been in force but we (prospectors) believe it has not been recently enforced.
Under those guidelines, an agent for the TWRA (I do not have his name), called Rob Linbaum and told him to issue $2,500.00 citations to all dredgers at Little River. Rob decided to give warnings first and citations for the 2nd offense. There was a bit of confusion and the word got out that the Tellico Ranger District was banned too, but that was cleared up by me on Monday morning July 30. The other confusion was, I posted the incorrect information (as told to me) about the title of Rob Lindbaum. I posted that he was with a different Aquatic agency. I am sorry about the incorrect information.
As of Monday July 30, it seemed that no other Tennessee State or local agency knew about this dredging ban. It had only happened a few days before; late on a Friday and the word had not got around yet. This caused a panic (even when I told everyone to calm down and let me get more information) and many called the GPAA, Congressmen, State reps, Law Enforcement, State Rangers, etc. A lot of yelling and threats happened and it was not a good thing. It made the Prospectors look bad, and I was not happy about it. By Monday morning I had received 7 hate emails and 5 hate phone messages. I was called a liar and worse than that. I had nothing to do with this ban and was simply the messenger!
Also on Saturday, the prospectors at Little River were told that all digging for gold in any Tennessee State or private waterways was also banned. No hand tools could be used including, picks, shovels, gold pans, etc. The only thing you could use to dig with was your bare hands.
Now we come to 8:01 am Monday July 30. The first call I made was to the Tellico Ranger District. They assured me that the TWRA had no jurisdiction in their area and dredging permits were still being issued. I made many calls to other State agencies and no one knew of this TWRA dredging or digging ban. I could not get through to the TWRA. Monday afternoon I was able to get the phone number of Rob Lindbaum. I called him and he confirmed that dredging and hand digging with tools was banned. He told me he had nothing to do with the law, and that he was told by his boss to issue citations and warn everyone.
I spent a long time telling him about recreational gold prospecting as he knew very little about it. I told him what we did and how a State wide ban would seriously hurt tourism in Tennessee and virtually close down the GPAA in Tennessee. He said he did not make the laws and was just told to enforce them.
One hour later he called me back and said after talking to his Boss they would give us back gold panning with hand tools in the entire State of Tennessee. Also the only private land exempted from the dredging ban would be the GPAA Coker Creek leased property.
So we may use the following anywhere in Tennessee except in some National Parks and State protected wildlife study areas.
Gold pans, any type of hand tool, shovels, scoops, crevice tools, picks, etc. Also hand operated sucker tubes may be used. What is banned is all dredging, high banking and the use of motorized equipment to prospect for gold and minerals in all waters in Tennessee except for the areas I wrote about above.
If you are not sure of what can be done in your area, always call the local Rangers, Police or the TWRA and ask first.
Simple gold panning is banned in some areas of wildlife conservation and always has been. This has not changed.   
So that is it as of Aug 1st, 2012.

There is little we can do about this ban on a local level. Threats, yelling and rude emails and phone calls will not help.
We need to work with the PLP, our local and State government and convince the TWRA in Nashville that they are wrong to ban dredging in the entire State.
What would I do: I would re-open dredging and hit the violators hard. Fine them big time and confiscate their equipment. Make an example of them and leave the law abiding prospectors alone.
This is in your hands now so I wish you the best of luck. There is nothing more I can personally do at this point buy offer my support.
Your comments are always welcome.

This message may be re-printed AS IS with no changes, additions or added comments.

Posted: Aug 1st, 2012 3:35 PM east coast time.
 
Chuck Pharis
President: Coker Creek Tennessee GPAA Chapter.
Part 2 will follow soon.     
« Last Edit: August 01, 2012, 03:50:01 PM by Chuck Pharis »
Chuck Pharis
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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #48 on: August 01, 2012, 04:02:39 PM »
Thanks Chuck. You have done more than your fair share of the work. It is time for some others to take the ball and run with it. I think a few interested, level-headed, people with some level of knowledge of how these things work should get together and come up with a plan of action. If anyone has an interest let me know, particularly if you have experience in fisheries biology or stream hydrology. I think we need to work together as gold prospectors to find an answer and try to resolve this with the governing and regulatory agencies in a civilized manner. I don't think approaching this from a contentious standpoint will be helpful at this point.

Comments, Suggestions???

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #49 on: August 01, 2012, 04:17:44 PM »
I think we should gather information from other people that have tried to reverse dredging bans in other states i have seen some letters and petiotions, i will gather them up, also maybe a committe should be formed by those that are the most interested, pass all information to them and let a group handle it instead of  everyone workiing on their own accord. Just my thoughts so far...

Dale

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #50 on: August 01, 2012, 04:34:58 PM »
I would talk to some of the members out in California. If memory serves me right, they're dealing with, pretty much, the same battle. If so, they may be able to, at least, give us some info on where to start.  Could give some information on what not to say or do.  Sometimes that's more valuable than people realize.  My mom used to work with the governor in Knoxville.  If it'd help, I could try and see if she could put in a good word, though I would recommend holding off until some expert opinions are collected.

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #51 on: August 01, 2012, 04:42:50 PM »
Chuck have you talked to anyone at TWRA in Morristown or Nashville?

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #52 on: August 01, 2012, 05:04:26 PM »
No I have not talked with anyone at the TWRA. I called 3 times (locally) and could not get through.
I only talked with the Biologist and got the information from him. He told me to contact the main office in Nashville. I am not going to do that and will leave it up to others to handle. I do not suggest you call one at a time. A group should get together, get a lawyer to help and maybe local and State government. If a lot of miners call with different ideas we might be in worse trouble than we are already.
Set up a plan as a group, elect one person to be the spokesman (NOT ME) and go from there.
Pool your information together (be sure it is accurate) and then present it. Do not rush into this. I am sure the TWRA LAwyers did some prep work before they started the dredge ban.
I will post information from the Tuesday meeting later today.
I have posted and am posting all the current information I have on this Forum.
Chuck
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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #53 on: August 01, 2012, 05:44:50 PM »
chuck you did not say but i assume a water powered sluice would fall under hand tools rule since no moving or motorised parts.just wanted to make sure.thanks again for all youre hard work and time in this matter.you deserve a few days off and good luck on youre trip.hope to see you post some nice finds.
if'n i had my druthers i'd druther be huntin' purdy yeller rocks.

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Re: 911 Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 7/30/2012
« Reply #54 on: August 01, 2012, 06:10:27 PM »
Any hand operated sluice is ok.
Chuck
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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #55 on: August 01, 2012, 06:33:51 PM »
Has anybody considered alerting the media about it being against the law to dredge? I live in Townsend right on the river and I was considering buying a dredge but now that I know all this I'm glad I didn't. However, when I tell locals up here that it's against the law to dredge the river they all say they've never heard of this. I agree with everybody else on here and think it's ridiculous that they ban dredging. I say alert the media and raise chaos.

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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #56 on: August 01, 2012, 07:04:31 PM »
Chuck the biologist story and the story I recieved from Morristown and Nashville are different. Did he mention a commission meeting and the Hiwassee Watershed that contains Coker Creek and it's trubutarys?

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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #57 on: August 01, 2012, 07:06:49 PM »
chuck thanks for conformation dont hurt to ask.
if'n i had my druthers i'd druther be huntin' purdy yeller rocks.

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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #58 on: August 01, 2012, 07:18:36 PM »
The Biologist I talked to said nothing about any meetings. He was the one who issued the warnings and is authorized to issue $2,500.00 citations. I am sure very soon other local and State agencies will be able to issue the same citations. Remember this just happened 6 days ago.
What the TWRA can and can't do will have to be figured out legally. The press can post he information and maybe open more eyes to what is going on. Just be sure to post ONLY the facts if you contact any TV, Radio Station or News Paper.
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Tuesady meeting with the US Army Corps of Engineers.
« Reply #59 on: August 01, 2012, 07:35:46 PM »
Part 2 of the Tennessee dredging ban. Posted Aug 1st, at 7:20 pm.

The meeting on Tuesday July 31, 2012 was in Lenoir City, Tennessee at the US Army Corps of Engineers office.
No other Tennessee State agency was there. There were 3 from the Corps there and 4 representing the Tennessee prospectors. This was by invite only so I did not give out the information earlier because we did not want hundreds of angry dredgers there. This meeting was for information only.
First the Corp had nothing to do with the current dredge ban.
There were two parts to the meeting. The first was to file one dredge permit through the Corps to see how it might go through and "possibly" get approved. The Corps issues permits but normally for sand and gravel excavation and other things that affect the waterways. I won't get into what else they do as that does not apply here. The permits are for one location only and a study of that location has to be done before the permit can go through channels. The Corps does not approve it on their own. The permit has to pass through local and State agencies first. The Corps was advised of the current TWRA dredging ban. We all basically agreed the permit that was filed will probably end, if and when it passed through the TWRA office. I was not involved in filing for the permit. It was filed for the Little River area by one of the prospectors at the meeting. It will be interesting to see how it passes through Tennessee agencies.

Now for the 2nd part of the meeting. We asked questions and the 3 people from the Corp were able to answer most of our questions.
First they have no control over the TWRA. I asked about all the agencies that cover water in Tennessee. If seems as water flows through our State, when passing through a National Park, the Park Service wants or has control over it, then when passing through private land someone else takes control, then when it passes through a County another agency takes control, then over and under and along side of them, are many more agencies. Sometimes one agency talks with another agency and sometimes not.
For instance, it seems the TWRA believes they can ban dredging on their own without notifing any other State agency. It seems like that happened last Friday. I have no idea if the TWRA contacted any other agency or not but everyone I called last Monday had no idea there was a dredging ban. Only time and some investigation will answer that question.
We talked about the chain of command over the Tennessee waterways.
All the different agencies would fill pages of a notebook. On top you have the Federal level. Under them you have the Forest Service, the TWRA, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the TWA, the Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Rangers, the Aquatic Biologists, countless Engineers, many other agencies both State and local and a Partridge in a pear tree.
I really do not want to make fun of all of this, but I came out of this meeting knowing more than I knew when I came in. I also came out of the meeting more confused than when I went in, plus I came out of this with more questions then when I went in.
After 1 1/2 hours we made very little progress forward. I never really expected to anyway.
The US Army Corps of Engineers knew very little about gold prospecting. We had to show them (on a laptop computer) what a gold dredge was and how it operated. Remember the Corps normally issues sand and gravel excavating permits plus other permits for many other things, etc. Some of the rules are under the Clean Water Act, # 401, 402 and 404. Also the TWRA cited TCA 70-4-206.
Everyone should read those acts and regulations. Like them or not, those are what the State refer to.

I wish I had good news for everyone from the meeting but I don't.

This message may be re-printed as is, without changes, additions or subtractions.

Comment are always welcome.
Chuck Pharis
President: Coker Creek Tennessee, GPAA Chapter.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2012, 07:45:33 PM by Chuck Pharis »
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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #60 on: August 01, 2012, 07:49:36 PM »
If you do, remember to say the GPAA is working out the issues and trying to find a solution in which will deal with the issues without negatively affecting law abiding prospectors nor the gov't agency's ability to enforce laws to protect the environment.

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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #61 on: August 01, 2012, 07:55:15 PM »
I like the permit application idea. It may give us a gauge as to the potential of getting permits in the future. Maybe if it does happen it could be accomplished under a group or umbrella permit similar to what is done for storm water discharge. We don't know if we don't try.

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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #62 on: August 01, 2012, 08:02:47 PM »
I went to the top with TWRA Region 4 and almost to the top in Nashville ( high enough that I was satisfied with the answers... I didn't like the answers ) and have quite a different story to part one. Part two is probably right on course. I talked to the man that gave the orders for the warnings to be given. TWRA was never told to give citations.  Commission looking at Coker Creek a long time before the Little River incident. That just fanned the flames. One more time TDEC. Way more to type than what Chuck typed. Chuck I'll get with you later if you want to compare notes.

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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #63 on: August 01, 2012, 08:05:43 PM »
chuck , i am a new member to this forum but not new to prospecting(20 plus yrs ). i have been prospecting in little river for 2 years with a little 2.5 in dredge and in the last 3 months a number of  endangerednew dredges have shown up some from out of state and the aftermath is pretty bad. under cut banks, gaping holes and piles of rocks. its no wonder that people threw a fit. it was just a matter of time. 3 weeks ago a biologist from the Department of Enviornment and conservation came out while i was working and said there were no laws against dredging in the state waters and that it did not apear that what i was doing was causing any harm.I think he is one of the biologists that checks for endangered species habitat. He was very polite and informative and could possibly be helpful. he also said the state was looking into a permit process. if you email me i will send you my contact number and give you his name and number to pass on. the work you have done is to be commended. I am a former and once again current GPAA member transplanted from calif. and sincerely hope the actions of a few inconsiderate people wont ruin it for all of us.

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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #64 on: August 01, 2012, 08:49:05 PM »
I know more information is going to come out. I have pages of information that I have not posted because I can't comfirm the information.
Anyone is welcome to post information, just be sure tou have the facts correct.
If anyone wants to email me any information, send it to chuck@pharis-video.com
Major storms here so I am shutting down.
Chuck
« Last Edit: August 01, 2012, 09:14:40 PM by Chuck Pharis »
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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #65 on: August 01, 2012, 09:03:17 PM »
MTaylor,

If you have any information you can share with me I would love to hear it. I would like to gather a group of people that have information and time to help gather facts and maybe we can develop a plan of action. Several minds will work better than one. If there is something else coming we may need to act preemptively. You can pm me or call.

Little Louie,

Welcome to the forum. I would also appreciate and any you can share with me.

Thanks,

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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #66 on: August 01, 2012, 09:19:09 PM »
The power was out for a while and there are tornado warnings in Bradly County. I am in Polk. I have a lot more information but nothing to share until I confirm that my information is correct.
Right now I have poated all I am going to post for a while. I will be in and out of town from Thursday to Aug 11. I will monitor the forum and my email when I can.
I am prospecting the rest of this week then covering the Little League regionals for ESPN next week.
Chuck
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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #67 on: August 01, 2012, 10:27:57 PM »
All, maybe we should get together the coker creek chapter soon, as in this weekend or next, and go to Little River and repair everything as much as possible. maybe take before and after pictures and show the officials we intend to do things right as possible.

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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #68 on: August 01, 2012, 10:40:30 PM »
they might take it the wrong way and think were there to tear it up without a dredge. sometimes they have a different opinion of whats good or bad.
just my opinion

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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #69 on: August 02, 2012, 06:40:38 AM »
Adopt a River Program

Al I'll be out of pocket today, but I have quite a bit of information I can share.

Justin E

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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #70 on: August 02, 2012, 09:57:12 AM »
I'm with Don on this.  I would let someone know of a planned clean up a few days ahead of time.  Maybe they could have someone there to oversee it so they know not all prospectors are rude, destructive, etc.  Also, could help if some of the upset property owners start calling the police. 

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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #71 on: August 02, 2012, 11:45:19 AM »
I do not know the whole story on this but I just wanted to give everyone a heads up.  I don't know if this will help or hurt the Little river issue but there is a production company that has been poking around the walland and townsend are for a few weeks now.  The do work for Discovery and other channels.  They have posted that they already have the cast selection done for an upcoming show.  I think that I saw that they posted that they are down there now doing some work too.  Might be something to look into.  Dont know how all these associations with the state will take to camera crews in the river filming prospectors mining for gold.  The company is Atlas media.  They have a website, twitter and facebook.  Might be something for us to look into before it gets anyone else into trouble.

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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #72 on: August 02, 2012, 11:52:03 AM »
I hope we don't find out all this has to do with someone wanting to make a show and the state is moving everyone out to make a buck.
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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #73 on: August 02, 2012, 03:59:19 PM »
Here is a summary of two studies on suction gold mining. The first was conducted by the US Army Corp off Engineers in 1994, and the second by the EPA in 1999. Both were conducted in Alaska. Interestingly enough the conclusion for both was that the effects of suction gold dredging with less than a 4" dredge was "da minimus" (inconsequential) to the water quality or fish habitat. I know the conditions there are different than here but it could be a starting point for some healthy discussion.

http://www.akmining.com/mine/1999epa.htm
http://www.akmining.com/mine/corp9410.htm

I have posted theses links before, but somehow they feel more relevant right now.

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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #74 on: August 02, 2012, 04:37:17 PM »
those 2 offices are the ones that most agency's use to implement there rules. as for there being a difference in area I would say theres more dredgers per mile of river and creak there, then there is   anywhere in Tenn. it would be fun to contact a couple prospecting supply stores up there and get an estimate as to the # of dredgers in those area's . I know were talking about 2 different locations but the EPA is the same everywhere or they should be.

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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #75 on: August 02, 2012, 05:38:19 PM »
The differences that came to mind when I wrote that statement were 1) water temperature; which may affect mobility / suspension of tubidity caused by the movements of fines through the dredge, and 2) The relative presence or absence of clay minerals in the sand portion of the dredged material. Not sure on either one, but it could give slightly different results in a study.

A study done locally could be of great benefits if we could talk the regulatory agencies to be involved in them. Thoughts?

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DALEBEC

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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #76 on: August 02, 2012, 06:31:20 PM »
I am not a dredger, but would love to hear the results of any studies done as i am very much so a proponent of conservation, but at the same token i am also an advocate of prospecting so any info to or fro about the dredging process would be great

G1sammons

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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #77 on: August 02, 2012, 06:40:27 PM »
There a lot of different ways to view what damage we do
But a8inch dredge does very little dam age compared to a single storm whith even mild flood water
Most of what we dredge up falls out of suspension in less than 50 ft

Funny thing about these studies you can twist them to make what ya want of them
Cali doesn't want gold dredges operating in the state but they as a state want to dredge to remove mercury.
What's wrong with that picture
It's all politics from here out and the only thing ya can do is fight it in court
Bad thing is you will find that you can't fight what they are doing until someone has been issued a ticked and fights that ticked
I don't know if the warning tickets wok do for that or not but they can say what ever they want
Until there's some type of damages you can waste a lot of time I. Court
Just to have a judge tho it out siting there were no damages to any one
And I'm not saying someone should go get a ticket for dredging
Think the first thing is to elect some one to Hadley this as we will be much more effective organized then we really need to talk with a attorney who know something about this type of law
The new 49ers does a legal fund to rase money to fight there legal battles 
It would probably benefit us to talk with them they have been down this road and can save us a lot of time and money pointing us in the right direction

G1sammons

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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #78 on: August 02, 2012, 06:43:42 PM »
Sorry for the miss spelling but my auto correct does it's own thing often

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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #79 on: August 02, 2012, 07:16:29 PM »
It's possible to convince a reasonable person that they have erred in some way if your facts and reasoning are sound.  It's impossible to convince an idealogue that he/she is wrong no matter what proof you show them to the contrary, and I fear that the people issuing these bans may be of that persuasion.  Some people just do not want the environment used by other people, and will deny that 2+2=4 if they want it to equal 5.  The bureaucracy is full of these types, who think they know what is best for everyone in local, state and federal government, and are willing to use the power of their office to deny you your rights because they believe that those rights should not exist.  This is going to have to be handled in the courts....they know this, and want it to be so.....because they have unlimited resources to fight with, while our resources (money) is sparse, limited and unorganized. 

The GPAA is going to have to fight this on the level that the NRA fights the gun control crowd.  That's our best hope, and if anyone has contacts in the NRA, they might give them a holler, and ask for some help.....because when one groups rights are infringed upon and ignored, everyone's rights are affected.  Different groups banding together can have a meaningful difference in the outcome in cases like this, while disorganized splinter groups have little or no hope in affecting the change needed to make this right!   It would also help to flood your Congressman's office with emails and phone calls.....one thing those people understand is they can be voted out every two years, and if they received a couple hundred emails....they'll take notice, because for every email they receive on a position, they know there's another hundred people of like mind!  Bureaucrats DO NOT like their funding cut!
« Last Edit: August 02, 2012, 07:27:38 PM by baldar77 »

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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #80 on: August 02, 2012, 07:25:39 PM »
I agree that help from some National organizations would be helpful, but we need to put together a local group to deal with this too. It's way more than one person can handle but if we organize and each take on certain task and report back to the group I believe we have some hope. We had good success with the Tellico Rangers over the past few years just by having and open, friendly channel of communication. Might not work at this level but it's worth a try as a first effort.

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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #81 on: August 02, 2012, 07:32:01 PM »
Local organizations....especially the business community....can have a tremendous impact.  Think of the chamber of commerce for Tellico Plains, and the possibility of very few people coming to Coker Creek anymore.  their business would suffer greatly.  The tourism bureau is another one.  Tourist dollars are free dollars into the community....they don't want to lose that.

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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #82 on: August 02, 2012, 07:51:13 PM »
If there's going to be change, the law has to be changed. A little research will show studies dating back to 1999, (I think) councils and commitees and commissions working from TDEC have been making recommendations on land use and watersheds state wide. The only reason it's not affecting the GPAA property in Coker Creek is because the entire Coker Creek watershed (listed under the Hiwassee watershed) in under review as we type and post. That's why the Little River incident caught everyones attention. One complaint ended up with one of these people. There is no waiver or special offer or anything else for the club only. TWRA declined to investigate until the recommendations are finished. Unless there's another incident like the Little River. When the commission comes out with the final recommendation it will encompass the entire watershed.

BIgAlAthensTN

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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #83 on: August 03, 2012, 01:24:06 AM »
So we can dredge in tellico n coker creek district?

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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #84 on: August 03, 2012, 08:06:18 AM »
Yes just like before.


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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #85 on: August 03, 2012, 08:48:14 AM »
Good morning everyone. Just a few quick comments to the last 10 or so postings.
We always need to clean up our waterways when we are out and about in the rivers and creeks. We should NOT do any land repair without checking first with local officials. Simply moving rocks around or trying to fix bank erosion might upset local Rangers and locals. We are not mining engineers, biologists, scientists, etc. We do not have the right to go out on our own and try to repair damage made by others. Of course, we pick up trash and fill in others holes and break up sluice dams. All I am saying here is ask first before you decide on your own or as a private group what YOU think should be done to repair existing damage.
Next, if you see a video crew and you are being shot for anything you do not know about, ask them what they are doing. There are laws about shooting anyone for any TV show. Many times a release has to be signed and they might even pay you to be in the show. Most of the time, releases to not have to be signed for random news programs or random shots of people in public areas. If you ever have any questions about any video crews shooting anywhere, call me as I have 48 years of extensive experience on this subject. I know the most of the laws about what they can and can?t do. Most of the time, they need a permit to shoot a TV show. Permits are not normally required to shoot a news story. It varies from Stste to State and even city to city.
Now, information is still coming in from many about the dredge ban. I believe the TWRA acted too fast but I do believe this was planned for a while. The Little River just pushed it along faster. I have pages of information that I can?t post or talk about to anyone until I get more facts. After being a Union Officer for one of the largest Television Broadcast Unions in the world, I know a lot about what it takes to get things done and how damaging it can be to act on rumors or the wrong information.
The worst thing that can happen is when one individual takes it upon himself (or herself) to make calls or send emails to State and Government agencies when they do personally have the facts. This has happened the past week about the dredging ban.
That starts confusion and it gets worse from there. We do NOT need armchair Lawyers here. This issue needs to be done through channels and with as much correct information as possible. If you think YOU and I mean ?YOU alone? can fix this alone, you are 99% wrong. I was VERY lucky to get hand operated gold prospecting back last Monday on my own. I was VERY surprised when I was called back and they reversed their decision on part of the ban. Pant, pant,,,,, This does not normally happen!
I am asking everyone and anyone who has information and wants to get involved in this issue, to come to our August meeting. During the meeting I will talk a bit about it, but after the meeting we can hold a 2nd meeting and dig deep into it. Anyone may talk, but please be sure you have the facts 100% correct before you speak. We can have a round table discussion and see what we can do as a group to move forward on this issue.
I will moderate the meeting and will ask anyone who screams, yells or brings false information or rumors to leave.
By the way, I will be talking to the GPAA again today about this issue.
Comments welcome,
Chuck Pharis   
 
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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #86 on: August 03, 2012, 11:05:29 AM »
Just curious. Can you give an example of what's been posted as a rumor and what's been posted as fact? That may help clear up the creek  :)

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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #87 on: August 03, 2012, 11:42:14 AM »
I am sorry I do NOT post any rumors and no one else should. What I have posted on this site is "As I understand it" from facts.
Chuck
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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #88 on: August 03, 2012, 02:07:12 PM »
I wouldn't ask you to post a rumor. I thought you might want to point out one that has already been posted. By the way for all of those in the "know" I'm sure you are aware of the official annoucment coming soon  8)

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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #89 on: August 03, 2012, 03:04:26 PM »
Apparently I am not "in the know". I kind of feel in the dark right now, kind of like a fertilized mushroom.  :) What's the official announcement?

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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #90 on: August 03, 2012, 03:07:47 PM »
MTaylor, call me asap at 818-802-1603
Thanks,
Chuck
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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #91 on: August 03, 2012, 03:21:02 PM »
So what is the big announcement: That Mitt Romney has decided to NOT run for President?
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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #92 on: August 03, 2012, 04:43:31 PM »
I didn't say big annoucement. I said official. I did attend two candidate victory parties last night and even welcomed one on stage but I didn't here anything about Romney not running.  :) It may be a rumor but TWRA home page may have an official announcement.

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TWRA Web Site posting
« Reply #93 on: August 03, 2012, 04:59:10 PM »
This is posted on the TWRA web site.
Chuck Pharis

NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has received a series of complaints recently from various recreational users concerning dredging activities on the Little River in Blount County.
 
Complaints are centered on practices that include the use of suction dredges to excavate large holes in the river bottom, and the discharge of muddy water downstream from dredging activities. Also, there has been the blanketing of shoals with sediment, petroleum products on the water, and the use of high pressure hoses to blast holes in the river bank.
 
Upon investigation, the activities generating the complaints are related to gold mining.
 
The Little River is extremely popular with visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Townsend area. Trout fishing, smallmouth bass fishing, tubing, canoeing, and wading are among the activities attracting both in-state and out-of-state visitors and local residents to the area.
 
Tennessee has a long tradition of people ?panning for gold? using sieves, homemade sluice boxes, buckets and hand tools such as shovels and trowels. ?Panning for gold? is considered by many to be an enjoyable family activity. Small scale panning using traditional techniques and hand tools does not pose a threat to Tennessee?s extraordinary aquatic resources.
 
As with all stream activities, TWRA recommends the respect for private property, following public lands rules, not littering, and being safe on the water.
 
The use of commercial grade suction dredges, large scale sluice systems, diesel-powered pumps, and mechanical shovels, including backhoes and track hoes, and the use of high pressure hoses to blast away riparian habitat in a method called ?high bank mining,? has become an aquatic habitat destruction issue in several states. The use of commercial scale mining equipment by individuals is apparently being promoted by both equipment manufacturers and cable television programs about gold mining.
 
The destruction of aquatic habitat and related water pollution by suction dredging, use of backhoes or track hoes, or other machinery for gold mining in Tennessee streams and rivers is an illegal activity. The TWRA is responding to the complaints by contacting suction dredgers and high bank miners, obtaining contact and identification information, and taking such actions as are appropriate and provided for by state law.

The TWRA is aware of gold mining in the Coker Creek watershed in Polk County. The Coker Creek watershed is an issue that is currently under consideration by state and federal resource agencies
Chuck Pharis
East Tennessee Coker Creek GPAA Chapter President (June 19, 2010 to June 20, 2015)  Member of the Board Of Directors.
GPAA Lifetime member, Former LDMA[/size]

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Tellico Ranger District dredging.
« Reply #94 on: August 03, 2012, 05:33:17 PM »
I spoke with the Head Ranger at the Tellico Ranger District today. She told me the TWRA CAN ban dredging if the waters fall under their policies. In this case, they do.
She has been reading our web postings and has looked deeper into the Dredging ban. The TWRA has posted the following and this was confirmed by the Ranger in Tellico.

Quote "The TWRA is aware of gold mining in the Coker Creek watershed in Polk County. The Coker Creek watershed is an issue that is currently under consideration by state and federal resource agencies" Unquote.

Notice it only says "Polk County" I do not know if that is a misprint or if it covers Monroe County (our area) too. I am sure it does as the Ranger told me they are looking at OUR area. 

So we are in the eyes of the State and dredging could go away in our area at anytime. This would probably cover our GPAA property too. Dredging season in the Doc Rogers area begins on Sept 1st. I can 100% promise the Rangers will be out (PLUS) the State looking for violations. If anyone causes problems in our area, we could lose dredging here too. I will also promise, if I catch or hear of any GPAA member breaking any Tellico Ranger District law or GPAA law, they will have to deal with me and the GPAA. Plus I am sure the fines will be stiff. If you are out on the waters and see ANY violation, calmly talk to the prospector and tell them of the current issues in Tennessee. We need to Police ourselves and stop any problems before the Police, Rangers or the State gets involved.

I have also been in contact with the GPAA this week and will post more information soon.

We are on probation in East Tennessee and could be minutes away from a total State wide dredging ban. We do not hurt the waters if we obey the current rules. If the State leaves our small area alone and we obey the simple Tellico Ranger District rules we should be fine. Break the rules AGAIN, and we are dead in the water without a paddle. Other Eastern States could follow and we can use our dredges for planters in your yards. We only have ourselves to blame for what happened.

Finally, only post information and comments here or on any other website if you have the facts. The State and local agencies read our web postings. Education with the correct information is very important here. The State needs to realize that 99% of the dredgers and recreational prospectors in Tennessee respect the waters and do not break the laws and rules. A 3" dredge operated correctly does NOT hurt the waters. A few idiots ruined it for everyone at Little River.
Am I upset, YOU BET!

Everyone needs to come to our August meeting to talk about this current issue. More on this soon.
I have been working hard on all of this, but we need more time and information. We can't expect anything to get done overnight.
Chuck Pharis
Chuck Pharis
East Tennessee Coker Creek GPAA Chapter President (June 19, 2010 to June 20, 2015)  Member of the Board Of Directors.
GPAA Lifetime member, Former LDMA[/size]

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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #95 on: August 03, 2012, 07:06:59 PM »
What kills me chuck is the blanket of silt or whatnot.  EVERYTIME the creeks get flash flooding or any heavy rain they are 1000x more blanketed than any amount of dredges could do.  I have passed an idea to Al that I am working on that is straight up BS, but if necessary maybe we can bust it out.  Still, no one should be cutting the banks or blasting them.  Thanks for your work Chuck, have fun at the LL World Series, what a cool job.

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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #96 on: August 03, 2012, 08:05:20 PM »
There is one thing we probably will not be able to agrue in court, is what Mother Nature does to the land, and creeks. We hear this all the time, but it does not stand up in court.
I will shake the hand of anyone who can make that point stick.
Insurance companies call it "An act of God" and some will sell insurance to protect us from that .
Tell that to a Judge and you better have a "Plan B".
I know it sucks but the lawyers are ready for that argument.
We can still bring it up as anything we have to add to the pile is good, but it is a tough sell in any court. The courts and the Lawyers on "their side" know this.
Chuck
Chuck Pharis
East Tennessee Coker Creek GPAA Chapter President (June 19, 2010 to June 20, 2015)  Member of the Board Of Directors.
GPAA Lifetime member, Former LDMA[/size]

Chuck Pharis

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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #97 on: August 03, 2012, 08:06:56 PM »
As of 8 PM on August 3, 1071 have read this topic. That tells us how important this is.
Chuck
Chuck Pharis
East Tennessee Coker Creek GPAA Chapter President (June 19, 2010 to June 20, 2015)  Member of the Board Of Directors.
GPAA Lifetime member, Former LDMA[/size]

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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #98 on: August 03, 2012, 08:33:09 PM »
In the twra statement they talk about commercial grade suction dredges and large scale sluice systems and diesel powered pumps. NOT THE CASE!  They make it sound much worse than reality.  I am not aware of any commercial mining equipment in use by any of our members?



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Re: Updated Dredging ban in the State of Tennessee 8/1/2012
« Reply #99 on: August 03, 2012, 09:15:06 PM »
Pictures of the little river at the affected areas taken and dated to indicate current conditions may give an idea of  the extent  of damage  within a short time after  the siltation conditions were encountered.  May already have improved. How are substrate oxygen levels or damage due to siltation determined?