Friday, December 2, 2011

For the beautiful Chetco River - Thank You

Update: The BLM informed us that over 11,600 comments were received in support of the proposed temporary mineral withdrawal for 17 miles of the Chetco River.  Six commenters opposed the withdrawal.

Thanks to all who took the time to submit comments in support of the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service's proposed "withdrawal in aid of legislation" for the Wild and Scenic Chetco River. It's estimated BLM received 9,000 or more comments in support of greater protection for this beautiful world class salmon and steelhead river.

Drift boats on recreational section of the Chetco River from Floating the Chetco.

Next steps - The public notice and comment period was the first step in BLM's process proceeding a decision on the proposed mineral withdrawal. Next the Forest Service will prepare environmental documents. We'll keep you updated. 

Correcting misinformation about the effects of the withdrawal - Several individuals have put out misinformation about the extent of the withdrawal proposal so it's important to keep these facts in mind:
  • All valid existing rights are protected under the withdrawal;
  • The Withdrawal applies only to national forest land within 1/4 of a mile on either side of the river (5,610 acres). This land was was  congressionally protected in 1988 through its addition to the National Wild and Scenic River System;
  • The proposed withdrawal is consistent with direction in the Chetco River's Wild and Scenic River Management Plan. However, the plan anticipated that the level of mining would be minimal.  All that changed beginning in 2008 when proposals to mine almost half the length of the river for gold. Read about the mining plans submitted by Chetco River Mining and Exploration.