Chetco Wild and Scenic River
United States | Oregon | Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest
Mining Threatens World Class Salmon and Steelhead Stream
The Wild and Scenic Chetco River is renowned for its world-class salmon and steelhead runs, and crystal clear water. Flowing from the Kalmiopsis Wilderness in southwest Oregon, it’s truly a national treasure.
Although Congress protected the Chetco in 1988 by adding it to the National Wild and Scenic River System, the General Mining Law of 1872 gives mining preference over all other values and uses.
Now proposals to mine almost half the length of this extraordinary river threatens all the values the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act seeks to protect.
The miners would extract from the river itself -- and the rocks and gravel that provide stable habitat critical to the survival of spawning salmon and steelhead.
Seeking protection from mining: temporarily & permanently
The good news is that the U.S. Forest Service is requesting interim protection for about 17 miles of the river (5,610 acres) by temporarily withdrawing it from the 1872 Mining Law for five years.
That gives Congress time to consider legislation (the Chetco River Protection Act) for permanent protection.
The temporary withdrawal would prevent the location of new mining claims. Mining could still happen on existing claims but only if the mining company demonstrates they have a right to mine under the law.
"The Chetco is one of the wildest most extraordinary natural rivers on the West Coast, with salmon and steelhead populations crucial to the recovery of these imperiled species. Any small benefit there might be from gold mining would be insignificant when compared to the risk of degrading this one-of-a-kind Wild and Scenic River."
--- Tim Palmer, local resident and author of The Wild and Scenic Rivers of America
Absent Congress’ reform of the 1872 Mining Law it’s the best we can do for this beautiful Wild and Scenic River.
TAKE ACTION: help protect the Chetco Wild and Scenic River!
Please send the Department of Interior a letter supporting the temporary withdrawal of the Chetco River from new mining.
Because some places simply shouldn't be mined. And this is one of them.
For more information:
- Earthworks Chetco Wild and Scenic River Mineral Withdrawal Comments
- Earthworks Letter to Congressional Delegation re: Chetco River Protection Act
- Earthworks 1872 Mining Law
- Earthworks TAKE ACTION - tell the Interior Department to protect the Wild & Scenic Chetco River from mining
- Save Our Checto River
- Oregonian Out of a clear blue river. Editorial, June 2, 2010
- Eugene Register The endangered Chetco: the administration should protect river from mining . Editorial, June 6, 2010
- Wikipedia Chetco River. A frankly astonishing amount of information about the river, and its watershed, geology, flora/fauna, and history.