Take Action to Protect Kalmiopsis Rivers (OR/CA)!
By: Megan Hooker
Mining companies want to develop nickel strip mines on public lands in southwest Oregon’s Kalmiopsis region, threatening several cherished whitewater rivers in SW Oregon and NW California. Rough and Ready Creek, the Wild and Scenic Illinois River, Baldface Creek, and the Wild and Scenic North Fork and mainstem Smith Rivers are all at risk. Nearby Hunter Creek and Pistol River on Oregon’s Wild Rivers Coast are also threatened. â€¨
American Whitewater has been working with our partners to protect these wild lands and rivers from many angles. Many of you have already shown your support for protecting these amazing rivers from these threats (thank you!). Your participation is important at each and every step in the process, and we need your voices again.
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.
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 is considering a proposal to protect ~101,000 acres of public land for up to 20 years 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).
The Forest Service and BLM recently completed an Environmental Assessment on this “withdrawal” and are currently accepting comments through May 27th, 2016. Please join us in supporting the agencies in protecting these wild rivers through a 20 year mineral withdrawal by taking action today!
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!