Oregon is home to some of our country’s most awe-inspiring rivers. From the Metolius to the McKenzie, the Siletz to the Snake, we have an impressive diversity of majestic waterways. Unfortunately, we haven’t always risen to the challenge of protecting all the rivers that deserve it.
Senator Ron Wyden is aiming to correct that, and is inviting all Oregonians to nominate new Wild and Scenic Rivers! After the nomination timeline closes on January 20th, he has committed to introducing legislation. New designations would result in better protections for drinking water, recreation, and the fish and wildlife that rely on our state's incredible waters.
What does a Wild and Scenic River designation mean?
Only Congress can designate “Wild and Scenic Rivers”. Once legislation has passed, a buffer around the river is protected wherein the river “values” can’t be degraded and new dams can’t be constructed. Those “values” typically include fish runs, recreation, scenery, and more.
You'd be surprised how many of Oregon's most beloved rivers aren't safeguarded. Parts of the North and South Umpqua, tributaries to the Deschutes River and North Fork Crooked River, and many more around the state are deserving of consideration. Or perhaps Coast Range rivers, tributaries to the John Day, Grande Ronde, and Clackamas Rivers. The list of potential nominations is long!
Send a letter to Senator Wyden nominating your favorite streams. It’s especially helpful if you explain why you value the river/s. Is it where you get your clean drinking water, or perhaps your favorite fishing hole, camping spot, hiking/running trail, or scenic vista? It doesn’t have to be technical. The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act is best equipped to protect streams that are surrounded by public lands, something to keep in mind when nominating streams.
This is an incredible opportunity to contribute to protecting Oregon’s natural heritage. Speak up for Oregon's rivers today!