The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

David Moryc, American Rivers, 503-307-1137

Wild and Scenic Rivers Legislation to be Considered on Sunday

The Senate will vote on protecting over 270,000 acres along over 1,000 miles of rivers


This Sunday Congress has the chance to renew its commitment to
protect the nation's clean water and river heritage by passing S.
22, the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, which includes
eight provisions that have important protections for 82 rivers. Only
once before in history has Congress protected more rivers at one time
under the federal Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The bill would
safeguard over 270,000 acres along over 1,000 miles of rivers in
Oregon, California, Idaho, Arizona, Wyoming, and Massachusetts.

"These protections are significant not only because of the quantity,
but because of the amazing quality of the rivers and lands it will
protect," said David Moryc, Senior Director of River Protection at
American Rivers. "Senators Reid and Bingaman are working hard to ensure
we invest in the future by conserving precious resources such as clean
water, fish and wildlife habitat, and recreation."

Last October marked the 40th anniversary of the National Wild and
Scenic Rivers Act and protection of these rivers is a fitting
celebration of this event. Designation of the 400 miles of Snake River
headwaters in Wyoming not only protects one of the last remaining
cutthroat trout populations in the Lower 48 states but is a fitting
tribute to the late Sen. Craig Thomas (R-WY) who championed their

The Mount Hood Wilderness in Oregon will include nine rivers in
Oregon that provide clean drinking water, substantial salmon and
steelhead habitat, and fantastic river recreation opportunities
including hunting, fishing, rugged hiking, and whitewater boating.

In Idaho, seventeen of the best rivers in the Owyhee-Bruneau
Canyonlands that provide habitat for many rare plant and animal species
as well as superb water quality for the region's citizens will be
designated as Wild and Scenic Rivers.

"We welcome Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senator Jeff Bingaman's
commitment to making passage of this legislation a top priority," said
Moryc. These Congressional leaders were joined by diverse groups of
stakeholders including county officials, ranchers, tribes, hunters,
outfitters, and conservationists who support Wild and Scenic Rivers.

A Wild and Scenic designation creates a protected riparian buffer
along both sides of a river, blocks dams and other harmful water
projects, and preserves a river's free-flowing nature. It also helps
protect and improve water quality, as well as the river's unique
historic, cultural, scenic, ecological, and recreational values. Wild
and Scenic designations can also bring significant economic benefits to
local communities. In addition to giving a boost to recreation and
tourism, Wild and Scenic designations can raise property values and
improve quality of life.

The Missouri River explored by Lewis and Clark, the Delaware River
that cradled the American Revolution, and the Tuolumne River loved by
John Muir are all protected by this visionary law. The National Wild
and Scenic Rivers System is one of our country's most important natural
resource programs and protecting Wild and Scenic rivers enjoys strong
bipartisan support.

"Our rivers face unprecedented threats from global warming and
harmful development," said Moryc. "We also know that healthy,
free-flowing rivers generate major economic benefits, provide clean
water, and are the lifeblood of thriving communities. Wild and Scenic
designations protect rivers from the worst threats and ensure we'll
reap the benefits of healthy rivers for years to come."

For more information visit

American Rivers is the only national organization standing up for healthy rivers so our communities can thrive. Through national advocacy, innovative solutions and our growing network of strategic partners, we protect and promote our rivers as valuable assets that are vital to our health, safety and quality of life. Founded in 1973, American Rivers has more than 65,000 members and supporters nationwide, with offices in Washington, DC and the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, Midwest, Southeast, California and Northwest regions.