Molalla Wild and Scenic Legislation Ranks in National Environmental Scorecard

It is really great to see the recent rankings of the 2009 National Environmental Scorecard, compiled by the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), which listed Oregon’s Molalla River Wild and Scenic legislation as number 11 out of 14 in a national short list of commendable environmental legislation in the 111th Congress.

We have been working closely with the Molalla River Alliance and Congressman Schrader (D-OR-5th) to introduce and pass legislation in the House of Representatives to protect 22 miles of this Oregon gem as a Wild and Scenic River, including close to 7,000 acres of riverside land. We are still working to get the same bill through the Senate this year, and we can’t agree more that this legislation should be greatly applauded.

The uniqueness of the Molalla Wild and Scenic effort is that it isn’t your standard environmental bill. This legislation generated from the ground up, through the local Molalla River Alliance, a broad-based coalition that was formed specifically to protect the river and its native fish. The Alliance is made up of over 50 civic and conservation organizations, including American Rivers, Oregon Wild, the City of Molalla, Clackamas County, the Molalla Police, and groups like Back Country Horsemen and Molalla River Anglers. Such a diverse coalition I really think is the future of conservation campaigns – if every group can get some benefit out of a conservation initiative, this really strengthens the case for protection.

The other really compelling part of this story is that the Molalla River provides drinking water to the Cities of Canby and Molalla (around 20,000 people), so there is a real and direct impact on communities if this river is protected as our climate warms and cold, clean water becomes even more valuable for the future. We are thrilled that this legislation and effort has been recognized nationally, and we hope that similar efforts have reason to be listed in 2010’s National Environmental Scorecard.