Washington - American Rivers and the Molalla River Alliance today applauded Representative Kurt Schrader for introducing new legislation that will protect 22 miles and approximately 7,000 acres of riverside land along the Molalla River in Oregon's Willamette Valley through Wild and Scenic River designation.
"The Molalla River is known for its awe-inspiring beauty and many recreational purposes," said Representative Schrader. "It also serves as a water source for many citizens in southern Clackamas County. It deserves federal protection to ensure that future generations can experience the river's rich historical, cultural and recreational benefits."
The Molalla River is the main drinking water source for the cities of Canby and Molalla. The river is only 50 miles from Portland, but remains a true remnant of the historical Oregon landscape, winding through cedar, hemlock, old-growth Douglas fir forests and basalt rock canyons. The river provides cold, clean waters and habitat for wildlife and native fish. However, more and more visitors each year use the river, putting the river and its values at risk if they are not safeguarded. Also, climate change threatens the Molalla River's wild winter steelhead and spring chinook through increases in stream temperature and changes to stream flows.
"The Molalla is truly one of our state's crown jewels. Wild and Scenic designation will help protect this river, the drinking water it provides, and its fish and wildlife from the threats of overuse and climate change," said Kavita Heyn, Associate Director of Oregon Conservation Programs for American Rivers. "We thank Representative Schrader for being a champion for the Molalla River."
American Rivers worked with the Molalla River Alliance, a diverse coalition of over 45 local groups that includes Clackamas County, the City of Molalla, private landowners, and the local police department, who spearheaded this Wild and Scenic campaign.
"Protecting the Molalla means that our local community will benefit for years to come. The river is an attraction to visitors and locals alike, and provides economic benefits in the form of recreation and tourism. The Molalla River Alliance would like to thank Representative Schrader for introducing this legislation, and in the process recognizing that the important values of this river need to be permanently protected," said Mike Moody, President of the Molalla River Alliance.
A Wild and Scenic designation protects the land along both sides of a river, blocks dams and other harmful water projects, and preserves a river's free-flowing nature. It also helps protect and improve water quality, as well as the river's unique historic, cultural, scenic, ecological, and recreational values. Designation can also bring economic benefits to the surrounding region as well by supporting recreation and tourism and increasing the quality of life.
There are more Wild and Scenic Rivers in Oregon than in any other state in the nation. In March, thanks to the efforts of American Rivers and our partners, President Obama signed the second largest Wild and Scenic Rivers package in history into law, protecting more than 90 new river miles on 11 rivers in Oregon, bringing the nationwide total of Wild and Scenic Rivers to 252.
American Rivers is the leading organization working to protect and restore the nation’s rivers and streams. Rivers connect us to each other, nature, and future generations. Since 1973, American Rivers has fought to preserve these connections, helping protect and restore more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and the annual release of America’s Most Endangered Rivers®.
Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 100,000 supporters, members, and volunteers nationwide. Visit www.americanrivers.org, www.facebook.com/americanrivers and www.twitter.com/americanrivers.