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 Post Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 6:11 pm 
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Tennessee Rules and Regulations

Please note that permit fees are EXTREMELY high!
A general permit starts at $500.00 and goes up from there.


The new regulations and permit fees has virtually stopped recreational prospecting in the state of Tennessee!

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation General Permit for Recreational
Prospecting

Effective Date: Aug 27, 2014
Expiration Date: June 30, 2015

Activities Covered by this Permit
This general permit authorizes various methods of recreational prospecting for gold or other precious
and semi-precious ores, metals, and minerals in the waters of Tennessee. For the purposes of this
general permit, prospecting is divided into two categories or classes. The classification is based on
whether the prospecting is done manually or mechanically. The two classes have different limits and
conditions under which the work may be carried out.
Class 1 includes non-mechanized forms of prospecting including, but not limited to: pans, hand-powered sucker tubes, portable hand sluices and rocker boxes.
Class 2 includes mechanized forms of prospecting including, but not limited to: dredges, highbankers, powered sluices and trommels.
Obtaining Permit Coverage
Class 1 prospecting does not require the submission of a written request nor does it require written authorization from the Division of Water Resources prior to commencement of work. Although written authorization is not required, the activities under this class shall be performed in accordance with all limitations, terms, conditions and requirements of this general permit.
Class 2 activities must obtain coverage by submitting a signed and completed Notice of lntent (NOI), along with any other required information, to the division. Each NOI shall apply to only one operator and only to qualifying prospecting equipment owned by that operator. Work shall not commence until a written Notice of Coverage (NOC) from the division is received. A NOI may request coverage for up to five stream segments totaling one mile or less of stream. As noted above, not all activities may be eligible for
coverage under this general permit and coverage may be denied when appropriate.
An application fee as established in Rule 0400-40-11-.02 will be assessed to applicants intending to conduct Class 2 activities under this general permit.
Limitations of this Permit
This general permit does not cover application fee as established in Rule 0400-40-11-.02 will be assessed to applicants intending to conduct Class 2 activities under this general permit.
Limitations of this Permit
This general permit does not cover land-based prospecting or mining operations or commercial operations. In-stream activities not described in this general permit may require an individual permit under The Tennessee Water Quality Control Act of 1977 or at the discretion of the Director of the Division of Water Resources. No property rights or rights of access or ingress or egress are conveyed by coverage under this general permit nor does it supersede any local, state or federal restrictions associated with zoning,
parks, natural areas, wilderness areas, wildlife management areas or other designated use areas.

Aquatic Resource Alteration Permit
General Permit for Recreational Prospecting
Page 2 of 5, August 27, 2014
Each Notice of Coverage under this general permit is valid until the expiration date specified on the
NOC. If the expiration date on an NOC extends beyond the date the General Permit is modified,
reissued, or revoked, and you have commenced or are under contract to commence this activity before
the expiration date, you may have up to twelve (12) months from the date of the modification,
reissuance, or revocation of the General Permit to complete the activity under the present terms and
conditions of this general permit.
Class 1 Special Conditions
This class covers non-mechanized forms of prospecting including, but not limited to: pans,
hand-powered sucker tubes, portable hand sluices and rocker boxes. In addition to the General
Requirements, the following requirements apply to this class of prospecting activities:
(1) Class 1 prospecting is not permitted in any stream segment with a wetted width of less than
thirty (30) feet, that is designated by the state or federal government as containing threatened or
endangered aquatic species, or aquatic species deemed in need of management. Class 1
prospecting is not permitted in any stream segment designated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service as being critical habitat.
(2) Class 1 prospecting shall not occur in any stream reach with a wetted width of less than five (5)
feet at the spot of the activity.
(3) Disturbance or destabilization of stream banks is prohibited. All digging activities shall be
conducted at least one (1) foot from the water's edge on the day of the activity. In areas where
the stream bank is solid bedrock, deposited material closer than 1 foot to the water's edge may
be removed by the use of sucker tubes or other crevicing tools provided that special condition (11) is not violated.
(4) Hand operated tools no larger than a #2 shovel may be used to excavate material.
(5) All reject material shall remain in the stream, replaced to mimic original conditions.
Concentrates may be removed for later, off-site, processing.
(6) Panning activities shall maintain a distance of two hundred (200) feet between dig sites as
measured along the stream channel. More than one pan may be in use at a given dig site.
(7) Sluices shall maintain a distance of two hundred (200) feet between installations as measured
along the stream channel.
8. Sluice dams shall be constructed so that upstream/downstream boat, or other recreational
access, is not obstructed.
(9) All sluice dams shall be broken down daily and the disturbed stream substrate returned as close
to its original location as possible.
( 10) No objectionable color contrast, or plume, shall be visible in the stream greater than three
hundred (300) feet downstream of the prospecting activities. No visible solids shall be
deposited on the streambed downstream of the prospecting activities.
(11) The use of pry bars, chisels, wedges, shovels, etc. to break layers of bedrock is not permitted.
Loose rock may be moved and returned to its original position but competent bedrock shall not
be disturbed.

Aquatic Resource Alteration Permit
General Permit for Recreational Prospecting
Page 3 of 5, August 27, 2014
Class 2 Special Conditions
This class covers mechanized forms of prospecting including, but not limited to: dredges, highbankers,
powered sluices and trommels. In addition to the General Requirements, the following requirements
apply to this class of prospecting activities:
(1) Class 2 prospecting is not permitted in any stream segment designated by the state or federal
government as containing threatened or endangered aquatic species, aquatic species deemed in
need of management, or designated as being critical habitat.
(2) Class 2 prospecting is not permitted in any stream on the Division of Water Resources' 303d
impaired waters list for channel, physical substrate, or habitat alteration.
(3) All operations must take place in-stream. Operating on stream banks or in the floodplain is not
allowed.
(4) Operations shall not be conducted within five (5) feet of the water's edge on the day of the
activity. In areas where the stream bank is solid bedrock, deposited material closer than 5 feet
to the water's edge may be removed by mechanized methods provided that special condition (15) is not violated.
(5) Minimum streams sizes relative to dredge sizes are as follows:
Dredge Size* Stream Size
2 inches or less
Up to 3 inches
Up to 4 inches
Minimum wetted width of 15 feet at the spot of the activity
Minimum wetted width of 50 feet at the spot of the activity
Minimum wetted width of 100 feet at the spot of the activity
The maximum dredge size may not exceed four ( 4) inches in diameter.
* Dredge sizing refers to the suction hose size, not the intake opening diameter.
(6) The permit number shall be prominently displayed on any in-stream equipment, using two (2)
inch or larger characters and numbers.
(7) Pump engines shall not exceed eight "8" horsepower.
8. All engines shall be equipped with a muffler and spark arrestor.
(9) All operations shall maintain a distance of two hundred (200) feet between sites as measured
along the stream channel. Only one mechanized form of prospecting may be in use at a given site.
(10) All fueling or servicing operations shall be performed at least twenty-five (25) feet away from
the stream or wetlands. Propane powered equipment is excluded from this requirement.
(11) Blaster nozzles may only be used underwater.
(12) Operations shall not be conducted within fifty (50) feet of any bridge supports, other road
crossings, weirs, docks, ramps or other public and private structures.

Aquatic Resource Alteration Permit
General Permit for Recreational Prospecting
Page 4 of 5, August 27, 2014
(13) No objectionable color contrast, or plume, shall be visible in the stream greater than three
hundred (300) feet downstream of the equipment discharge. No visible solids shall be deposited on the streambed downstream of the dredging operation.
(14) Operations shall be conducted so that upstream/downstream boat, or other recreational access,
is not obstructed.
(15) The use of pry bars, chisels, wedges, shovels, etc. to break layers of bedrock is not permitted.
Loose rock may be moved and returned to its original position but competent bedrock shall not
be disturbed.
General Conditions
The following requirements apply to all classes of prospecting described in this permit:
(1) Prospecting is not permitted in streams designated as Outstanding Natural Resource Waters.
(2) Prospecting is not permitted in streams listed on the Division of Water Resources' 303d list for
contaminated sediments.
(3) Prospecting is not permitted in any stream, or segment thereof, managed for brook trout.
(4) All disturbances (i.e., excavation) shall be conducted at, or below, the water surface.
(5) Disturbance of terrestrial vegetation shall be minimized; removal is not permitted.
(6) All reject material shall be replaced as close to its original location as possible. Holes shall be
filled and no piles of material shall remain. No material from the streambed shall be placed on
the stream bank.
(7) No chemical processing of materials shall be conducted in, or within two hundred (200) feet of,
a stream, wetlands or in any area where chemicals or waste are likely to enter waters of the state.
8. All operations shall take place between the hours of sunrise and sunset.
(9) When moving between different waters, equipment shall be cleaned in accordance with guidelines furnished by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency to minimize the spread of undesirable flora or fauna.
(10) All activities shall be accomplished in conformance with the approved plans, specifications,
data and other information submitted in support of the NOI for class 2 operations and the limitations, requirements and conditions set forth herein for both classes of prospecting.
(11) All activities shall be carried out in such a manner as will prevent violations of water quality
criteria as stated in Rule 0400-40-03-.03 of the Rules of the Tennessee Department of
Environment and Conservation. This includes, but is not limited to, the prevention of any
discharge that causes a condition in which visible solids, bottom deposits or turbidity impairs
the usefulness of waters of the state for any of the uses designated by Rule 0400-40-04. These
uses include: fish and aquatic life (including trout streams and naturally reproducing trout
streams), livestock watering and wildlife, recreation, irrigation, industrial water supply, domestic water supply and navigation.

Aquatic Resource Alteration Permit
General Permit for Recreational Prospecting
Page 5 of 5, August 27,2014
(12) The applicant is responsible for obtaining the necessary authorization pursuant to applicable
provisions of 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899; 404 of The Clean Water Act and
26a of The Tennessee Valley Authority Act, as well as any other federal, state or local laws.
(13) This permit does not authorize access to private property. Arrangements concerning the use of
private property shall be made with the landowner.
(14) This permit does not authorize the discharge of any waste, or other substances that may be
harmful to humans, terrestrial or aquatic life, into waters of the state.
(15) Adverse impact to formally listed state or federal threatened or endangered species or their
critical habitat is prohibited.
(16) This permit does not authorize impacts to cultural, historic or archaeological features or sites.
(17) This general permit expires June 30,2015.
Supplemental Requirements
The following additional requirements apply to all Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency properties
including, but not limited to, Wildlife Management Areas, TWRA public hunting lands, property
leased by TWRA for any purpose, and/or TWRA river access and boat launch areas:
(1) Class 1 (non-mechanized) activities are not permitted in any stream with a wetted width of less
than twenty (20) feet.
(2) Class 2 (mechanized) prospecting is permitted is the South Cherokee National Forest and
Wildlife Management Area. However, Class 2 activities are prohibited on all other TWRA
lands.
Signed:
Tisha Calabrese Benton
Director, Division of Water Resources
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Gold Hog Gold Prospecting Forum does not provide interpretation nor imply interpretation of these regulations.


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