Keep the Waters of the Smith River Where They Belong - In the River!
Exciting news! We have an opportunity to protect the North Fork of the Smith River and its tributaries in Oregon, and you can help. The Oregon Water Resources Department recently proposed a new rule that is a huge step forward in protecting the instream public uses of these waters—namely wild, native fish, wildlife, and recreation.
The rule is a critical step in proactively safeguarding the waters of the Smith River watershed in Oregon from ill-advised water development such as large-scale mining proposals. We need your help to ensure that the waters of the Smith River watershed stay where they belong – in the river!
The agency is requesting public comment on its proposed rulemaking by October 28th.
Flowing from Southwest Oregon’s rugged Kalmiopsis Wilderness, the waters of the Smith River and its tributaries in Oregon are exceptionally pure, providing habitat for a diverse array of wild, native fish species and supplying drinking water for downstream communities.
The North Fork of the Smith River is home to one of the most unique populations of Southern Oregon/ Northern California coho salmon, which are currently protected under both state and federal Endangered Species Acts. Unlike most of their counterparts, the wild coho salmon returning to the North Fork of the Smith endure steep rapids and a long journey to reach their homewaters found high in Baldface Creek. Additionally, the North Fork Smith is home to abundant and diverse populations of winter steelhead, fall Chinook, resident rainbow trout and both resident and sea-run cutthroat trout. All of these wild, native fish depend on the North Fork’s remarkably clean water and intact habitats for their survival.
Recognized as a National Wild and Scenic River, the vast majority (99%) of the Smith River watershed in Oregon lies on Forest Service lands, mostly within the Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area and two Inventoried Roadless Areas. The remaining 1% of non-Forest-Service land is publicly held by the State of Oregon.
These protections, however, are not enough because the river is currently threatened by a foreign-owned company's intent to develop strip mines at its headwaters —a new use that would both consume and pollute water.
WE NEED YOUR HELP!
Please help us urge the Oregon Water Resources Department to proactively protect the waters of the Smith River watershed for its current instream uses: native fish, wildlife and recreational uses.
The agency is accepting public comment through 5:00 PM October 28th.