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Effects of Hydraulic Mining 4

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If you visit Marysville….drive out fifteen miles to Smartsville or Timbuctoo. You pass within sight of a classic locality – Yuba Dam; and you see and are made to understand what, until I saw it I could not entirely comprehend – the whole practice of hydraulic-mining….At Smartsville, Timbuctoo, and Rose’s Bar I suppose they wash into the sluices half a dozen acres a day, from fifty to two hundred feet deep; and in the muddy torrent, which rushes down at railroad speed through the channels prepared for it, you may see large rocks helplessly rolling along….Of course the acres washed away must go somewhere, and they are filling up the Yuba River. This was once, I am told by old residents, a swift and clear mountain torrent; it is now a turbid, and not rapid stream, whose bed has been raised by the washings of the miners not less than fifty feet above its level in 1849. It once contained trout, but now I imagine a catfish would die in it. (Charles Nordhoff, 1872)

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