Runoff From Mount Hood, Oregon Image credit:Tim Palmer
The second largest Wild and Scenic Rivers package in history passed the US Senate yesterday, safeguarding over 1,000 miles of rivers in Oregon, Idaho, Arizona, Wyoming, Utah, Vermont, and Massachusetts. New Wild and Scenic rivers will include rivers on Oregon's Mount Hood (as pictured), the Snake River headwaters in Wyoming, and the Taunton River in Massachusetts.This is an important and meaningful milestone. The National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act was enacted in 1968. Three years ago American Rivers set the goal of designating 40 new Wild and Scenic Rivers by the act's 40th anniversary. Passage of this bill marks the achievement of our goal.
The rivers in this package are the best of the best. Wild and Scenic designations will help communities by safeguarding clean drinking water and boosting recreation and local economies.
The Senate should be applauded for demonstrating its commitment to protecting the nation's rivers and clean water, and our priceless natural heritage for future generations. We especially appreciate the leadership of Sen. Harry Reid and Sen. Jeff Bingaman in passing this legislation.
S. 22, the bi-partisan Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, includes important protections for 270,000 acres of land along 82 new Wild and Scenic Rivers. The legislation also contains new Wilderness designations for over two million acres of public land.
Once this bill passes through the House and is signed into law, we will turn our attention to securing additional protections for Oregon's Rogue River. Watch our new film about the Rogue, "Run, Rogue, Run!"
A Wild and Scenic designation creates a protected buffer along both sides of a river, blocks dams and other harmful water projects, and preserves a river's free-flowing nature. It also helps protect and improve water quality, as well as the river's unique historic, cultural, scenic, ecological, and recreational values.
It looks like 2009 is shaping up to be a great year for rivers!
Previous coverage of the wild ones.
Senate Will Vote on Bill Protecting 2 Million Acres of American ...
Quote of the Day: Robert Hass on America's Rivers
What Do Sewers and Our Rivers Have in Common? Too much