The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Kavita Heyn, American Rivers, 503-827-8648
Caitlin Jennings, American Rivers,    202-347-7550  ext. 3100

Rep. DeFazio and Sen. Wyden Introduce New Legislation to Protect the Rogue

Federal legislation introduced that would result in permanent protection for important tributaries


American Rivers today applauded Representative Peter DeFazio and
Senator Wyden for introducing legislation that would designate 40 Rogue
River tributaries as Wild and Scenic Rivers. The legislation, known as
H.R. 2890/S. 1271, would protect 143 river miles and over 78,000 acres
of riverside land.

The Wild Rogue is among the nation's most iconic wild rivers. It was
one of the original rivers designated under the 1968 Wild and Scenic
Rivers Act and the Rogue remains a world-class whitewater rafting
destination. The river and its tributaries are also home to the second
largest runs of salmon and steelhead in Oregon (outside of the Columbia
River system). These runs are the cornerstone of multi-million dollar
fishing industries in the region. A recent economic study by
ECONorthwest determined that Rogue River recreation annually generates
$30 million to the state of Oregon, including 445 jobs. Another study
by ECONorthwest found that the salmon runs of the Rogue provide more
than $1.5 billion in economic benefits to West Coast residents each
year, including the sport and commercial fishing industries and the
overall quality of life in the area.

However, many of the Rogue's significant fish-bearing tributaries
are threatened by clear-cut logging, road building and illegal mining,
and these impacts are also felt by communities and businesses which
rely on the health of the river. Due to these threats, the Rogue was
listed in America's Most Endangered Rivers: 2008 Edition, and American
Rivers has been working with a large coalition of over 70 business
supporters and local partners as part of the Save the Wild Rogue
campaign to permanently protect these tributaries through both Wild and
Scenic and wilderness protections.

"Representative DeFazio and Senator Wyden have done a great service
to the people of Oregon by introducing this Wild and Scenic
legislation," said Kavita Heyn, Associate Director of Oregon
Conservation Programs at American Rivers. "Not only is the Rogue River
an important resource that can help us adapt to climate change, it also
fuels the state's economy by offering unparalleled recreational
experiences and economically important resources. We thank Rep.
DeFazio and Sen. Wyden for being champions for this natural Oregon
treasure. The Save the Wild Rogue campaign also hopes that they will
also introduce 60,000 acres of wilderness protection which
are necessaryto ensure that threats to the Rogue's fish-bearing streams
are minimized."

A Wild and Scenic designation protects the land 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. Designation can also bring
economic benefits to the surrounding region as well by supporting
recreation and tourism and increasing the quality of life.

There are more Wild and Scenic Rivers in Oregon (59) than in any
other state in the nation. In March, thanks to the efforts of American
Rivers and our partners, President Obama signed the second largest Wild
and Scenic Rivers package in history into law, protecting more than 90
new river miles in Oregon, bringing the nationwide total of Wild and
Scenic Rivers to 252.

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.