75 Oregon Organizations Voice Support for River Democracy Act to Declare More Wild and Scenic Waterways

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — 75 Oregon organizations have released a letter supporting the River Democracy Act (Senate Bill 192), introduced in February 2021 by Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley.

The letter, released Friday, outlines the diversity of organizations that support clean water, wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities that will be protected by the River Democracy Act. River guardian groups, guide associations, watershed councils, boating clubs and even a community radio station are on the list of supporters, according to the press release, which continues in full below. .

The letter states, “While our groups represent a wide variety of interests, goals and people across the state, we all have at least one thing in common: a love of Oregon’s rivers. From boating clubs to birding groups, from youth-led climate organizations to watershed councils, we all recognize that rivers bring Oregonians together. They provide us with drinking water, our favorite swimming spots, and places to take our families fishing and boating.

Tom VanderPlaat, Co-Chair of the Association of Northwest Steelheaders Board of Directors, said, “Declaring Oregon’s rivers and streams as Wild and Scenic not only preserves riparian habitat and pristine spawning grounds, but helps to preserve our Northwest fishing heritage and the vast economy that angling sustains. . This is the leadership Oregon needs if we are to reclaim salmon and rainbow trout throughout our state. »

The legislation would add 4,700 miles of rivers and streams in Oregon to the Wild & Scenic Rivers system after Senator Wyden collected nearly 15,000 nominations from Oregonians. This would provide better protection for fish, wildlife, drinking water, and recreation in watersheds like Deschutes, Metolius, Rogue, McKenzie, Willamette, North Umpqua, Sandy, and more!

Russ Pascoe of the Oregon Kayak and Canoe Club said, “Our members love our access to paddling Oregon’s incredible rivers. It’s one of the reasons so many of us live here. To protect more ‘between them is always one of our goals. We are delighted to see Wild & Scenic protections offered for some of our favorite rivers.’

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