Wyden & Merkley Push For More River Protections In Oregon

May 5, 2019

After passing legislation earlier this year that applied the highest form of environmental protection to 30,000 acres in the coast range and 250 miles of rivers in Oregon, Sen. Ron Wyden has introduced a new conservation bill.

The Molalla River in Clackamas County
Credit wikimedia commons

Wyden says the new legislation enhances the earlier legislation in important ways. “We’re looking at the Molalla up in the Valley, and then we’re trying to do more to protect the Rogue and some of the incredible places in Southwestern Oregon.” The Oregon Recreation Enhancement Act, co-sponsored by Sen. Jeff Merkley, would also outlaw mining on 100,000 acres in southwest Oregon.The two senators said establishing the protected areas would increase the state's outdoor recreation economy, but stressed that legislation wouldn't stop projects meant to reduce the threat of wildfire.Opponents of the bill said the legislation could make wildfires worse, especially in a southwest Oregon region hit hard by wildfire the past five years, while limiting timber supply.