The next Pebble Mine? Strip Mining Threatens Wild Rivers in Oregon and California

Baldface Creek, OR | © Zachary Collier

Baldface Creek, OR | Zachary Collier

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Recently the Obama Administration showed some real leadership starting a process that will hopefully put the final nail in the coffin of the Pebble Mine project in Alaska’s salmon-rich Bristol Bay.

Huge props go to Trout Unlimited and many other groups who did all of the heavy lifting on this great effort. American Rivers played a pivotal role early on developing the idea to pursue this protection under the Clean Water Act and sharing all of our expertise and experience with the Save Bristol Bay campaign. We used this same strategy to kill an ill-fated project to destroy 200,000 acres of wetlands in the Mississippi Delta and thought it would be perfect fit for Bristol Bay.

While the Administration is on the right track in Alaska, they continue to drag their feet in Oregon where a new Pebble Mine-style mining threat is emerging in equally pristine rivers. Industrial strip mining threatens clean water and salmon and steelhead in the wild Rogue and Smith River watersheds. These mines are proposed in some of the most pristine, wild river landscapes in the lower 48. Since everything, including mine waste flows downstream, the mine threat has awakened Californians who are rightly concerned about what strip mining upstream could do to their beloved Smith River.

While Smith River is protected in California as a part of the Smith River National Recreation Area, the portion threatened by the mine in Oregon is not. While exploratory drilling for the mines is expected soon, there is still time for the Obama Administration to act by working with Senator Ron Wyden and Rep. Peter DeFazio to withdraw the area from mining. Immediately. These endangered rivers can’t wait.

Sign the petition to keep the Rogue and Smith River watersheds wild and scenic!

9 Responses to “The next Pebble Mine? Strip Mining Threatens Wild Rivers in Oregon and California”

Ron Zigelhofer

Strip mining of Baldface Creek (Headwaters to the Smith and Rogue rivers) would devastate the Coho Salmon, Chinook Salmon and Steelhead runs. Please don’t let this happen.

Nathaniel Wilson

Short sighted development should not take precedent over the historic and hopefully future enjoyment of these priceless public lands.


a pristine river these days is a rarity. The Smith should be treated as the national treasure it is, protected for future generations to enjoy and for the biological and ecological diversity to continue flourishing.

Patricia Cooper

All new mining shoud be stopped. Not only will the waste compomise the watershed around the mines , it will destroy a greaat amount of the ecology in the mining area!

Daell Warnock

This mining proposal is totally reprehensible. Shame on the public employees of Siskiyou National Forest for letting this absurd mining exploration by a foreign corporation on our land. They have betrayed their public trust and should be fired immediately. There are plenty of other laws besides the 1872 mining act that could be used to prevent this disaster from happening.

John Page

No mining on either of these two rivers headwaters!

David J. Ryan

Please protect our water, our rivers, our fish, our health and our souls. These threatened wild rivers are important for so any reasons and at so many levels. We can continue to destroy the very system that supports our health and our very lives.

nate greig

Absolutely not!!!
The Smith River is California’s most beautiful/healthy river. Sapphire blue water flows through serpentine canyons into the worlds tallest trees.
The remote north fork offers an extra rarity as it hosts a dwarf forest of miniature trees.
Such a treasure cannot be infringed upon for the fickle pursuits of business.
And I say this as a former small business owner and current corporate employee.
Thank you for your work and I pray you will help ensure that these magestic watersheds will not be touched.