The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Kavita Heyn, American Rivers, 503-827-8648
Caitlin Jennings, American Rivers, 202-243-7023
Mike Moody, Molalla River Alliance, 503-699-8704

US House Hearing Tomorrow to Protect Molalla River as a Wild and Scenic River

The legislation will protect 22 miles and 7,000 acres along the Oregon river


The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing at 10:00
am tomorrow, October 1, in room 1334 Longworth House Office Building on
legislation introduced by Rep. Kurt Schrader (OR-5th District) to
designate the Molalla River as a federal Wild and Scenic River.
American Rivers has submitted testimony
in support of this legislation as well as legislation introduced by
Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-4th District) that would designate 14.4 miles of
Wasson and Franklin Creeks in the proposed Devil's Staircase Wilderness
Area as federal Wild and Scenic Rivers.

American Rivers and the Molalla River Alliance applauded
Representative Kurt Schrader for recently introducing legislation that
will protect 22 miles and 7,000 acres of riverside land along the
Molalla River in Oregon's Willamette Valley through Wild and Scenic
River designation. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley sponsored
companion legislation in the Senate that we hope will also receive a
hearing this fall.

The Molalla River Alliance is a unique all-volunteer coalition of
more than 45 civic and conservation groups, federal, state and local
agencies, numerous user groups, individual conservationists and
property owners.

Mike Moody, president of the Molalla River Alliance, will be
testifying at the hearing. He says "The Molalla River Alliance's
mission is to preserve water quality and to sustain the wildlife, fish
and plants that inhabit its watershed, while promoting a safe and
healthy environment that encourages diverse enjoyment of the recreation
corridor, including tourism and family-friendly activities. We see
Wild and Scenic legislation as a significant step forward in achieving
these goals. We are committed to ensuring it is successful."

"The Molalla River is one of our state's natural treasures,
providing numerous recreational opportunities, miles of native fish
habitat, and scenic beauty for visitors and locals alike," Kavita Heyn
of American Rivers in Portland says. "Representative Schrader has shown
great leadership in protecting and enhancing the Molalla River which
will pay real dividends for the city of Molalla and Clackamas County."

The Molalla River corridor is only 50 miles from Portland, but
remains a true remnant of the historical Oregon landscape, winding
through cedar, hemlock, old-growth Douglas fir forests and basalt rock
canyons from its headwaters in the Table Rock wilderness. The river
provides cold, clean waters and habitat for wildlife and fish,
including winter steelhead. The river also provides numerous
recreational opportunities, including hiking, fishing, rafting, and
wildlife viewing, and is visited by thousands of visitors each year.
However, it is precisely these special attributes that also put the
river at risk from increasing overuse and damage.

A Wild and Scenic designation creates a protected 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. Designation can
also bring economic benefits to the surrounding region as well by
supporting recreation and tourism and protecting the quality of life.

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.