LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency may open the Clearwater River's South Fork to limited mining next year, and officials say they won't take action to stop dredge mining currently under way.

The Lewiston Tribune reports Forest Service Supervisor Cheryl Probert said the agency is working through an environmental analysis process to authorize suction dredge mining that's already taking place. An appeals court decision and an Idaho permit established by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2013 created a process for dredge miners looking to operate in areas where protected fish live.

Threatened bull trout and steelhead live in South Fork. Notices of noncompliance were sent to area dredge miners, but they say their operations are authorized by the Mining Act of 1872 and permits from the Idaho Water Resources Board.