Impacts of placer mining on the Indian River.
The Yukon Government is appealing a decision of the Yukon Water Board regarding the protection of wetlands from placer mining in the Ruby Creek/Indian River watershed. The aerial video Wetlands and Placer Mining at Ruby Creek/Indian River, August 2016 was undertaken by Gerry Whitley and Lighthawk.org. It shows parts of the affected area, highlighting how destructive placer mining can be to intact (and natural) wetlands.
See how the placer miners are transforming the valley bottom from its original fen/bog wetlands to shallow open water. This photo essay (photo's from Sebastian Jones with support from Lighthawk.org) illustrate the original state of the valley, compares it to how it looks during mining and and how the restored wetlands appear. About half the wetlands in the Indian River valley have been mined. The top image shows some natural wetlands in the foreground, a remediated wetland on the left and an active mine on the right.
The next is a natural wetland, staked and ready to be mined.
The third image is a “remediated and restored” placer mine surrounded by natural wetlands.
The final image illustrates what the valley would look like if the proposed Best Management Practices for placer mining in wetlands were adopted as per the recommendations from the Klondike Placer Mining Association.