Lawmakers Urge Action to Protect the Chetco River for Second Time This Year

Trout Unlimited applauds Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, and Representatives Peter DeFazio and Jared Huffman for their leadership and commitment to protecting Oregon’s fisheries and public lands from activities that could harm salmon, trout, and steelhead populations and world famous angling opportunities.

Last week, these lawmakers sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, urging them to renew a mineral withdrawal on the Chetco River in Southwestern Oregon. The letter comes on the heels of the two federal agencies allowing the previous five-year ban on mining along 19 miles of the Chetco to expire earlier this year. The same group of lawmakers sent a similar letter to Zinke and Perdue in April 2018. Traditionally the resource agencies keep such mineral withdrawals in place while Congress considers legislative proposals (in this case, the Southwest Oregon Watershed and Salmon Protection Act) concerning the public lands and waters in question.

Known for its legendary runs of winter steelhead and fall Chinook, the Chetco River is heralded as an international fishing destination that generates significant economic activity for Southwest Oregon, as well as clean drinking water for the towns of Brookings and Harbor, OR. Mineral exploration would have negative impacts on salmon and steelhead runs and the clean drinking water the river provides to area residents.

Please take the time to write a note to thank these leaders for their work on behalf of Oregon’s public lands and fisheries.

By Brennan Sang. I’m a father, a husband, a jack-of-all-web-trades, and an avid outdoorsman.