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Take Action: Protect Wild and Scenic Illinois and NF Smith Headwaters (CA/OR)

Posted: 12/18/2014
By: Megan Hooker
Mining companies are actively pursuing proposals to strip-mine in Southwest Oregon watersheds, including Rough & Ready Creek (tributary to the Wild and Scenic Illinois River), and Baldface Creek (tributary to the Wild and Scenic North Fork Smith River). These proposals threaten the pristine waters of these whitewater gems, which provide a stronghold for salmon and drinking water for downstream communities. 
One of the surest ways to protect the wild rivers of Southwest Oregon is through a mineral withdrawal, which would prevent future mining activities in the area unless there is a valid existing right. Senators Wyden and Merkley and Congressman DeFazio of Oregon have long supported withdrawing the fragile watersheds of Rough and Ready and Baldface Creeks from mining, and Congressman Huffman of California has joined them in support of protecting the Wild and Scenic Smith River. 
This week, American Whitewater joined a coalition of groups in thanking Senators Wyden and Merkely and Representatives DeFazio and Huffman for their efforts to date, and asking that they introduce legislation to withdraw the public lands in the Rough & Ready and Baldface Creek watersheds from mining in the new year. We also urged the Oregon delegation to add neighboring Hunter Creek’s headwaters to their roster. 
TAKE ACTION! As mining companies press forward with their plans, quick action is important. We encourage you to make your voice heard about protecting these special places by contacting your Senators and Representatives and asking that they make withdrawing Rough & Ready, Baldface and Hunter Creeks from mining activities a priority in the new year. If you live in Oregon or Northern California, be sure to thank your Congressmen for their support to date. 
Stay tuned to American Whitewater for more information. To learn more, visit

Associated Rivers

Baldface Creek OR
Rough and Ready Creek OR
Smith, N. Fork CA


20140708 AW to OWRD Cleopatra Water Right (9/30/2014)

Letter from American Whitewater to the Oregon Water Resources Department in opposition to LL-1533.

Associated Projects

Kalmiopsis Rivers (OR/CA)

American Whitewater is working to protect the wild rivers of Southwestern Oregon and Northern California from the threats of nickel strip mines.

Smith River (CA/OR)

The Smith River is known for exceptional water quality and is free flowing from the headwaters to the ocean.

Join AW and support river stewardship nationwide!