Washington – The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing at 10:00 am tomorrow, October 1, in room 1334 Longworth House Office Building on legislation introduced by Rep. Kurt Schrader (OR-5th District) to designate the Molalla River as a federal Wild and Scenic River. American Rivers has submitted testimony in support of this legislation as well as legislation introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-4th District) that would designate 14.4 miles of Wasson and Franklin Creeks in the proposed Devil’s Staircase Wilderness Area as federal Wild and Scenic Rivers.
American Rivers and the Molalla River Alliance applauded Representative Kurt Schrader for recently introducing legislation that will protect 22 miles and 7,000 acres of riverside land along the Molalla River in Oregon’s Willamette Valley through Wild and Scenic River designation. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley sponsored companion legislation in the Senate that we hope will also receive a hearing this fall.
The Molalla River Alliance is a unique all-volunteer coalition of more than 45 civic and conservation groups, federal, state and local agencies, numerous user groups, individual conservationists and property owners.
Mike Moody, president of the Molalla River Alliance, will be testifying at the hearing. He says “The Molalla River Alliance’s mission is to preserve water quality and to sustain the wildlife, fish and plants that inhabit its watershed, while promoting a safe and healthy environment that encourages diverse enjoyment of the recreation corridor, including tourism and family-friendly activities. We see Wild and Scenic legislation as a significant step forward in achieving these goals. We are committed to ensuring it is successful.”
“The Molalla River is one of our state’s natural treasures, providing numerous recreational opportunities, miles of native fish habitat, and scenic beauty for visitors and locals alike,” Kavita Heyn of American Rivers in Portland says. “Representative Schrader has shown great leadership in protecting and enhancing the Molalla River which will pay real dividends for the city of Molalla and Clackamas County.”
The Molalla River corridor 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 from its headwaters in the Table Rock wilderness. The river provides cold, clean waters and habitat for wildlife and fish, including winter steelhead. The river also provides numerous recreational opportunities, including hiking, fishing, rafting, and wildlife viewing, and is visited by thousands of visitors each year. However, it is precisely these special attributes that also put the river at risk from increasing overuse and damage.
A Wild and Scenic designation creates a protected buffer 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 protecting the quality of life.
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.