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Small Scale Mining Permits

Many people enjoy the challenge of searching for gold in Idaho’s streams and rivers by means of small scale mining. The alteration of stream channels by using small scale mining equipment in a stream is regulated in Idaho by the Stream Channel Protection Act. Small scale mining equipment can be any implement that is used to dig, scrape, dredge, or otherwise move stream bed materials from below the mean high watermark in search of minerals. If powered, your mining equipment may not exceed specific size and capability requirements. For example, if you use a suction dredge, it must have a nozzle diameter of 5 inches or less and be rated at no more than 15 horsepower and be capable of processing no greater than two (2) cubic yards of material per hour. Other powered and non powered mining equipment also have capacity restrictions. The Stream Channel Protection Act also requires that a miner must obtain a permit from the Idaho Department of Water Resources before the miner alters any portion of the stream bed. State regulations also specify the streams where small scale mining is allowed.

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