You may mineral prospect year-round in all waters of the state, except lakes or salt waters. You must follow the rules listed below, but you do not need to have the rules with you or on the job site.
(1) You may use only hand-held mineral prospecting tools and the following mineral prospecting equipment when mineral prospecting without timing restrictions:
(b) Spiral wheels;
(c) Sluices, concentrators, mini rocker boxes, and mini high-bankers with riffle areas totaling three square feet or less, including ganged equipment.
(2) You may not use vehicle-mounted winches. You may use one hand-operated winch to move boulders, or large woody material that is not embedded. You may use additional cables, chains, or ropes to stabilize boulders, or large woody material that is not embedded.
(3) You may work within the wetted perimeter only from one-half hour before official sunrise to one-half hour after official sunset.
(4) You may not disturb fish life or redds within the bed. If you observe or encounter fish life or redds within the bed, or actively spawning fish when collecting or processing aggregate, you must relocate your operations. You must avoid areas containing live freshwater mussels. If you encounter live mussels during excavation, you must relocate your operations.
(5) Rules for excavating:
(a) You may excavate only by hand or with hand-held mineral prospecting tools.
(b) You may not excavate, collect, or remove aggregate from within the wetted perimeter. See Figures 1 and 2.
(c) Only one excavation site per individual is allowed. However, you may use a second excavation site as a settling pond. Multiple individuals may work within a single excavation site.
(d) You may not stand within, or allow aggregate to enter, the wetted perimeter when collecting or excavating aggregate.
(e) You must fill all excavation sites and level all tailing piles prior to moving to a new excavation site or abandoning an excavation site. If you move boulders, you must return them, as best as you can, to their approximate, original location.
(f) You may not undermine, move, or disturb large woody material embedded in the slopes or located wholly or partially within the wetted perimeter. You may move large woody material and boulders located entirely within the frequent scour zone, but you must keep them within the frequent scour zone. You may not cut large woody material. See Figure 2.
(g) You may not undermine, cut, or disturb live, rooted woody vegetation of any kind.
(h) You may not excavate, collect, or remove aggregate from the toe of the slope. You also may not excavate, collect, or remove aggregate from an unstable slope or any slope that delivers, or has the potential to deliver, sediment to the wetted perimeter or frequent scour zone. See Figures 3 and 4.
(6) Rules for processing aggregate:
(a) You may stand within the wetted perimeter when processing aggregate with pans; spiral wheels; and sluices.
(b) You may not stand on or process directly on redds or disturb incubating fish life. You may not allow tailings, or visible sediment plumes (visibly muddy water), to enter redds or areas where fish life are located within the bed.
(c) You may not level or disturb tailing piles that remain within the wetted perimeter after processing aggregate.
(d) You must classify aggregate at the collection or excavation site prior to processing, if you collected or excavated it outside the frequent scour zone.
(e) You may process only classified aggregate within the wetted perimeter when using a sluice.
(f) The maximum width of a sluice, measured at its widest point, including attachments, shall not exceed twenty-five percent of the width of the wetted perimeter at the point of placement.
(g) You may process with a sluice only in areas within the wetted perimeter that are composed primarily of boulders and bedrock. You must separate sluice locations by at least fifty feet. You may not place structures within the wetted perimeter to check or divert the water flow.
(h) You may operate mini high-bankers or other concentrators only outside the wetted perimeter. You may only supply water to this equipment by hand or by a battery-operated pump with a screened intake. You may not allow visible sediment or muddy water to enter the wetted perimeter. A second excavation site may be used as a settling pond.
(i) Under RCW 77.57.010
and 77.57.070, any device you use for pumping water from fish-bearing waters must be equipped with a fish guard to prevent passage of fish into the pump intake. You must screen the pump intake with material that has openings no larger than five sixty-fourths inch for square openings, measured side to side, or three thirty-seconds inch diameter for round openings, and the screen must have at least one square inch of functional screen area for every gallon per minute (gpm) of water drawn through it. For example, a one hundred gpm rated pump would require at least a one hundred square inch screen.
(j) You may not excavate, collect, remove, or process aggregate within four hundred feet of any fishway, dam, or hatchery water intake.
(k) You may not disturb existing habitat improvement structures or stream channel improvements.
(l) If at any time, as a result of project activities, you observe a fish kill or fish life in distress, you must immediately cease operations and notify the Washington department of fish and wildlife, and the Washington military department emergency management division, of the problem. You may not resume work until the Washington department of fish and wildlife gives approval. The Washington department of fish and wildlife may require additional measures to mitigate the prospecting impacts.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 77.55.091
(2), 77.12.047, and 77.04.020. WSR 09-02-017 (Order 08-318), § 220-110-201, filed 12/29/08, effective 4/3/09. Statutory Authority: RCW 75.08.080
, 75.20.100 and 75.20.330. WSR 99-01-088 (Order 98-252), § 220-110-201, filed 12/16/98, effective 1/16/99.]