An Indian tribe, conservation groups and salmon fishermen have filed a lawsuit challenging the return of suction dredges to mine for gold in California rivers.
The lawsuit was filed late Monday in Alameda County Superior Court against the California Department of Fish and Game, over recently issued regulations for suction dredges.
The devices are powerful underwater vacuums that suck up streambed material to filter out the gold. Environmentalists say it destroys salmon habitat.
The lawsuit is the latest development in a long-running battle between the Karuk Tribe on the Klamath River and hobby gold miners.
The California Legislature issued a seven-year moratorium in 2009. The new regulations allowing them again will take effect in 2016.
Since the dredges were banned in California, hobby miners have been heading north to Oregon to hunt for gold.
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