Conservation Alliance Testifies for Rogue River Protections

Conservation Alliance Executive Director John Sterling testified on September 11 before a Subcommittee of the US House of Representatives in support of legislation that would protect the tributary streams of the Lower Rogue River in Oregon under the federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

The Oregon Treasures Act of 2008, introduced by Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio, would designate 143 miles of rivers in the Rogue watershed as Wild and Scenic. The protections would safeguard the streams from any dams or diversions, and would prohibit logging within one-half mile in either direction of the streams.

"The Conservation Alliance supports the effort to secure new protections for the Rogue River because it is good for business," said Sterling in his testimony. "The Rogue is an iconic recreation destination, and the Oregon Treasures Act will protect the entire watershed of the Lower Rogue."

The Rogue is among Oregon's most beloved rivers, and is one of the premier fishing and boating streams in the county. Congress recognized this fact in 1968 when it included 84.5 miles the Rogue River as one of the first eight units of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Whitewater boating on the Wild Rogue supports 225 jobs, and generates $14 million in total economic output.

The Conservation Alliance made a grant to Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center in 2007 to help the organization build local support for new protections for the Rogue. That grassroots organizing motivated Rep. DeFazio to introduce the Oregon Treasures legislation.

"These watersheds are threatened by proposed logging," said Sterling. "We know that the Rogue watershed has greater and more long-term economic value for recreation than for timber."