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.
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.
- Watch the short film Run, Rogue, Run and read the Kavita Heyn’s blog about the film
- Press Release: Rep. DeFazio and Sen. Wyden Introduce New Legislation to Protect the Rogue
- Regional Economic Impacts of Recreation on the Wild and Scenic Rogue River (ECONorthwest — January 2009)
- The Economic Value of Rogue River Salmon (ECONorthwest — January 2009)
- Preparing For Climate Change in the Rogue River Basin of Southwest Oregon(The National Center for Conservation Science & Policy and the University of Oregon’s Climate Leadership Initiative, in partnership with the US Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station MAPSS Team — December 2008)
- Biological Contributions of Tributary Streams to the Wild Rogue River, Oregon (Kavita Heyn, American Rivers — updated November 2008)
- To learn more about how you can help, visit www.savethewildrogue.org.
- The Case for Wild and Scenic Intermittent and Non-Perennial Streams