North Coast Chapter CNPS
NICORE and mining

SUMMARY provided by Debbie Lucas 3/2001

Flowing from the southeastern corner of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, Rough and Ready Creek merges with the Wild and Scenic Illinois River just south of Cave Junction, Oregon. This 23,000 acre ecosystem is the product of over forty million years of evolution, with new species still emerging today. The unique serpentine soil and peridotite rock harbor numerous rare endemics which depend on the undisturbed condition of this wild, remote "redrock rainforest", which receives 60 to 110 inches of precipitation annually. Port Orford cedar and the insectivorous California pitcher plant grow along the shores of this picturesque creek.

On January 15, 1998, the Siskiyou National Forest released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the NICORE Mining Plan of Operation. The project proposes to mine nickel ore in the South Kalmiopsis Roadless Area, driving right through Rough and Ready Creek to stockpile the ore on a BLM designated "Area of Critical Environmental Concern". Miles of new roads would criss-cross this roadless area, increasing the risk of spreading the Port Orford cedar root disease.

On August 4, 1999, the Forest Supervisor issued a decision on the Nicore EIS requiring that a bulk sample be analyzed to prove the viability of Nicore's claim prior to approving any plan for full scale mining in the Rough & Ready Creek Watershed. The 5,000 ton sample is to be removed by helicopter to protect water quality as well as the botanical and ecological values of the area. The miner's administrative appeal of this decision was denied on October 6th 2000. He is now appealing to the Federal Government.

California Native Plant Society - North Coast Chapter
P.O. Box 1067 Arcata, CA 95518-1067
updated April 2001