TAKE ACTION for Kalmiopsis Rivers (OR/CA)

posted November 7, 2016
by Megan Hooker

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Over the last several years, American Whitewater has been working with our partners to protect cherished whitewater rivers in SW Oregon and NW California from mining threats. Mining companies want to develop industrial scale nickel strip mines on public lands in southwest Oregon’s Kalmiopsis region, threatening Rough and Ready Creek, the Wild and Scenic Illinois River, Baldface Creek, and the Wild and Scenic North Fork and mainstem Smith Rivers. Nearby Hunter Creek and Pistol River on Oregon’s Wild Rivers Coast are also threatened.

Many of you have helped our efforts by contacting your Congressional representatives and speaking up during a variety of different agency comment periods. Your participation is important at each and every step in the process, and we need your voices again

Despite overwhelming public opposition to these mines, the archaic 1872 Mining Law prioritizes mining over all other land uses. What can be done? The Department of Interior has been considering a proposal to protect ~101,000 acres of public land from new mining activities through a “mineral withdrawal.” This temporary protection would be in place while Congress considers legislation for permanent protection (the Southwest Oregon Watershed and Salmon Protection Act).

Initially, the agencies were considering implementing a withdrawal for just 5 years. In light of overwhelming support, they are now considering 20 years. This is great news because 20 years will give Congress time to pass legislation to make the withdrawal permanent, while avoiding leaving a gap in protection, when the ground we’ve gained could be lost forever.
 
TAKE ACTION!!! Show your support for a 20-year mineral withdrawal!

The Forest Service and BLM are requesting public comment on whether to consider a 20 year mineral withdrawal. The deadline is December 29th, 2016. Please join us in supporting the agencies in protecting these wild rivers through a 20 year mineral withdrawal by taking action today!

In addition to whitewater values, these wild rivers provide a vital stronghold for wild salmon, steelhead, and cutthroat; the region provides some of the richest botanical diversity in the country; and Baldface Creek and the North Fork Smith in particular supply pure, clean drinking water for downstream communities. These communities also rely on this clean water for so much more...it provides the foundation for the outstanding natural resource values that fuel local economies based on sport and commercial fishing, recreation, scenery and tourism.

 According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, metal mining is America’s most polluting industry. Strip mining would put these rivers at risk for pollution and cause irrevocable damage to the region. These public lands and wild rivers are just too special to mine! Thanks for taking action!
 
Thanks to Northwest Rafting Company for the photos!