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Gold dredging on rise in Va. waters

Thursday - 8/2/2012, 2:53pm  ET

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. - Some people are calling for the regulation of dredging for gold in Virginia rivers due to a surge in the practice, which can be harmful to fish and their eggs.

Since the state doesn't require a permit to dredge for gold, it's unclear exactly how many people are doing it, the Free Lance-Star of Fredericksburg ( reported.

But people from out of state are coming to the Rappahannock River to dredge for gold, Fredericksburg Watershed Property Manager Lee Sillitoe said during a workshop Tuesday hosted by the Virginia Conservation Network.

The practice involves gas-powered suction dredges that can destroy fish nests and deposilt that suffocates fish and their eggs, he said.

"You take out the fish, and you're going to take out the life of that river," Sillitoe said.

While restrictions are needed, he said he does not want to ban dredging for gold.

Nathan Lott, director of the Virginia Conservation Network, said he is hopeful a reasonable state regulation can be developed.


Information from: The Free Lance-Star,

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