Rivers at risk as Trump orders sweeping review of National Monuments

April 27, 2017

April 26, 2017

Contact: Amy Kober, 503-708-1145, akober@americanrivers.org

Washington, DC – President Trump signed an executive order today that could undermine protection of millions of acres of public lands and waters central to our nation’s natural and cultural heritage.

The order directs the Department of the Interior to review all national monument designations of 100,000 acres or more created since 1996 and suggest modifications. Many of the 26 monuments impacted by the order could suffer the removal of protections for rivers and streams and their priceless natural, cultural and historical values.

Located within these national monuments are rivers and streams that provide clean drinking water supplies for downstream communities, spiritual sites for Native American tribes, fish and wildlife habitat, and opportunities for fishing, boating and hiking.

“This executive order threatens to reverse almost twenty years of progress in preserving our country’s natural heritage,” said Bob Irvin, President of American Rivers.

“Curtailed protection of public lands and rivers, the potential result of the executive order’s review process, will make us poorer as a nation. Americans must speak out and insist that national monuments that local citizens, elected officials, and past presidents worked together to create be upheld. We must not let the current president dismantle the legacy we have secured for future generations,” Irvin said.

According to a new study (https://outdoorindustry.org/advocacy) released yesterday by the Outdoor Industry Association, national parks, monuments and other public lands and waters account for $45 billion in economic output and about 396,000 jobs nationwide.

Rivers that could be impacted by the executive order include:

Colorado River

(Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument. Protected in 2000)

  • The monument is located on the northern edge of the Grand Canyon in Arizona.
  • The absence of development allows for views of the night sky that are increasingly difficult to experience.
  • Its pristine wilderness and dramatic landscape make it one of the most-visited public lands in the United States.

Columbia River

(Hanford Reach National Monument, Washington. Protected in 2000)

  • The 51-mile long Hanford Reach is the last free-flowing stretch of the Columbia River and home to the largest salmon in the Columbia Basin.
  • Culturally, the Reach is significant to a number of Indian nations, including the Umatilla, Yakama, Nez Perce and Wanapum tribes.

Upper Missouri River

(Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, Montana. Protected in 2001)

  • Rich in Native American cultural significance and American history, the Lewis and Clark expedition traveled through the area in 1805.
  • The Missouri River is protected as a Wild and Scenic River, offering outstanding recreation opportunities and fish and wildlife habitat.

Rio Grande

(Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument, New Mexico. Protected in 2013)

  • The Rio Grande is protected as a Wild and Scenic River and is popular for rafting and camping.
  • The river is significant to Native American tribes including the Tesuque Pueblo (one family’s connection to the river is highlighted in the new American Rivers film, Avanyu: https://vimeo.com/197904986 )

Jenny Creek

(Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, Oregon. Protected in 2000 and expanded in 2017)

  • The monument safeguards pristine clean water supplies and rare Redband Trout habitat
  • The Pacific Crest Trail runs through the monument.
  • The first U.S. national monument set aside solely for the preservation of biodiversity.

San Gabriel River

(San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, California. Protected in 2014)

  • More than 15 million people live within 90 minutes of the San Gabriel Mountains, which provides 70 percent of the open space for Angeleños and 30 percent of their drinking water.
  • The monument serves as the backyard to the nation’s second-largest urban center. Public health and Latino groups supported the monument designation to counter the shortage of parks and open space in Los Angeles County.


American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects and an annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® campaign. Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 250,000 members, supporters and volunteers.

Rivers connect us to each other, nature, and future generations. Find your connections at AmericanRivers.orgFacebook.com/AmericanRivers and Twitter.com/AmericanRivers.