The Elk River is a unique salmon and steelhead stronghold on the Pacific coast, a shimmering gem within a geographical region that has lost many of its original salmon and steelhead runs due to water development projects, antiquated logging practices and the loss of spawning and rearing habitats. The Elk’s status as a trophy salmon and steelhead stream depends upon retaining its healthy, intact habitats by maintaining the forests that grow in this steep canyon country that averages 150 inches of rain per year.
To keep it that way, sportsmen, grassroots volunteers, businesses and local government leaders are asking Congress to designate this watershed as the Elk River Salmon Emphasis Area (ERSEA). The designation would ensure that all of the components that create this outstanding salmon and steelhead fishery remain in the pristine condition they are in today.
Trout Unlimited, along with the grassroots coalition, Sportsmen for the Elk, is working diligently to:
· Gain Wild and Scenic status for 22 miles of the upper Elk River and its tributaries
· Replace the Blackberry Creek culvert with a bridge that will reconnect an additional two miles of important spawning and rearing habitat for both salmon and steelhead
· Include nearly 28,000 acres of the watershed for management as backcountry area
· Congressionally designate nearly 60,000 acres of pristine, intact coastal habitats, which include the already-designated Grassy Knob and Copper Salmon wilderness areas, as the Elk River Salmon Emphasis Area (ERSA), ensuring the continued productivity of this important fishery well into the future.
Local residents in southwestern Oregon recognize that the Elk River Salmon Emphasis Area proposal is a sound idea, both for the fisheries resource and for their economy. Local businesses and governments agree: the Port Orford and North Curry Chamber of Commerce has signed on as a supporter, as has the Port Orford City Council.