The U. S. Forest Service is seeking public input on a proposal that could limit mining activities along a 20-mile stretch of Piru Creek.
Officials with the Mt. Pinos Ranger District are preparing an environmental analysis to determine whether people who mine for gold as a hobby in the creek's stream bed are hurting wildlife species in the area.
Of particular concern is the welfare of the Arroyo toad, said Lisa Morris, a biologist for Los Padres National Forest. The toad is being considered for federal status as an endangered species, she said.
Amateur gold miners often use large suction dredges that scoop up piles of sand and rock from the bottom of Piru Creek, she said. Although the dredge is effective for siphoning out gold flakes and other heavy metals, it also grinds the Arroyo toad's eggs into bits, she said.