Wild Rogue River, Oregon

The Rogue River is one of the most iconic rivers in the United States, providing freshwater habitat to enormous ocean-going salmon runs and possessing flora and fauna diversity unmatched anywhere in the Pacific Northwest. The Rogue’s outstanding values are nationally recognized, and the river was one of the original eight rivers designated under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act in 1968.

American Rivers is working with a large coalition of over 100 business supporters and local partners to designate 35 tributaries (totaling 93 miles) as Wild and Scenic Rivers and 60,000 acress as Wilderness, to ensure these fish-bearing streams are permanently protected.

Fish-bearing Tributaries

The Rogue River is the largest producer of Pacific salmon and steelhead in Oregon outside of the Columbia River basin, with over 85,000 anadromous fish returning from the ocean each year. The Rogue’s cold-water tributaries are critical to the health and survival of these massive fish runs, yet most are currently unprotected. Current logging plans in the basin threaten these streams through increased sedimentation, higher stream temperatures, and destruction of riparian habitats. 

Climate change further exacerbates risks to these streams, with a recent climate change study in the basin warning of warming temperatures over the next several decades. The study emphasizes that the protection of streams and riparian areas in the Rogue basin is critical to the long-term survival and health of native fish runs and local water quality.

Community and Economic Benefits

The Rogue River and its fish-bearing streams are of critical economic importance to local communities and to the state of Oregon. One recent economic study determined that rafting, fishing and other recreation along the Rogue annually generate $30 million in economic output statewide, including 445 jobs. This includes local economic impacts of approximately $16 million in Josephine County alone. Furthermore, a second study concluded that West Coast residents enjoy more than $1.5 billion in economic benefits each year from the entirety of the Rogue River salmon and steelhead runs. These benefits include quality of life, and the importance placed on salmon by Oregonians and other West Coast residents. Consequently, it is clear that the Rogue River’s fish populations are valued beyond just local communities, and even beyond the state of Oregon.

More Information: