Saturday, April 27, 2013

Chetco River in April 25th Oregon Treasures Act hearing

The Public Lands Subcommittee of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held hearings on an assortment of public lands bills on April 25 including the Oregon Treasures Act (S. 353), which includes language that would give the Wild and Scenic Chetco River additional protection from mining threats. As of 2013, the Chetco River Protection Act has been incorporated into S. 353.

A cool late summer fun run of the Chetco's wild Scenic River Area (© Northwest Rafting Company)

Senator Wyden gave a brief testimony on the bill, emphasizing that the economics of public lands has changed and that now, outdoor recreation plays a significant role in the economy. He said that Americans now spend $644 billion on outdoor recreation each year and that outdoor recreation provides 141,000 direct jobs in Oregon. (We know, too, that indirect expenditures from outdoor recreation are also very important to the local economy.)

Associate Deputy Chief of the Forest Service, Jim Pena, also gave testimony on the bill. He said:
The Chetco River is a jewel of the south coast of Oregon and should be protected from impacts that could change its river values and current conditions, including tremendous anadromous fish runs.

An archived version of the hearing is available online. If you want to watch go to Public Lands Subcommittee Hearing: Misc. Public Lands Bills and click on the "Live Webcast link."

Please take a moment to send a note of support and thanks to Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Representative Peter DeFazio. Click here for a sample note and links to their comment pages.

Read more about the increased protection for the Chetco River in Kalmiopsis Audubon's online Spring Newsletter and on Save Our Chetco here. Provisions of the Chetco River Protection and what it does and does not do are explained here.