U.S. House Passes Bill to Protect Molalla River as a Wild and Scenic RiverNovember 19th, 2009
<P>Kavita Heyn, American Rivers, 503-827-8648, cell: 971 409 8779<BR>Caitlin Jennings, American Rivers, 202-243-7023<BR>Mike Moody, Molalla River Alliance, 503-699-8704, cell: 503-539-9229</P>
Washington – Today, in a 291-133 bipartisan vote, the House of Representatives approved legislation to designate the Molalla River as a federal Wild and Scenic River. American Rivers and the Molalla River Alliance applauded Representative Kurt Schrader, (D- OR- 5th), for sponsoring the legislation that will protect 22 miles and 7,000 acres of riverside land along the Molalla River in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. American Rivers also thanks the Oregon delegation for unanimously supporting the bill.
Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley also have sponsored companion legislation in the Senate which has since had a hearing in the Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee and awaits mark-up in the Senate.
“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.
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 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.”
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.