After over 2 years of research, many town halls and public meetings, and 15,000 nominations from Oregonians across the state, Senator Ron Wyden’s River Democracy Act of 2021 has come to life.
Senator Wyden put out the call for Oregonians to nominate their favorite rivers and streams for consideration in a new river protection bill. You spoke up, and he listened! The River Democracy Act of 2021 was introduced with Senator Jeff Merkley as cosponsor,
this legislation is great news for anyone who values clean drinking water, fish and wildlife, and public lands recreation!
The River Democracy Act of 2021 includes important protections for nearly 4,700 miles of rivers and streams, increasing the percentage of protected waterways from 2% to 6%. The Act includes sections of the upper North Umpqua River tributaries like Big Bend Creek which is very important for cold water to help Summer Steelhead in the Frank and Jeanne Wild Steelhead Sanctuary. Please ask Senator Wyden to include the upper South Umpqua River and its tributaries, this is the headwaters and deserves protection. Nearly all of the towns in South Douglas county rely on municipal and clean drinking water from the South Umpqua river. Wild and Scenic designation does more than just protect rivers against dams – it also has significant benefits for protecting wildlife habitat & migration corridors, and forests alongside rivers which store vast amounts of carbon.
Please send Senators Wyden and Merkley a thank you message, or make a quick call?
You can also leave a quick thank you message with their staff at:
Senator Ron Wyden’s office: (202) 224-5244
Senator Jeff Merkley’s office: (202) 224-3753
Write a letter to the editor thanking Senator Wyden and Senator Merkley (like Frank Moore did, see next).
When I came back from World War II, I found healing and tranquility in fishing the North Umpqua River. This past year has once again shown the importance of the essentials in life, like having a roof over your head, family and friends, and a healthy river to fish. I hope that 2021 is a better year for all Americans. And for rivers and fish too.
Thanks to the leadership of Senator Ron Wyden, there is much to be hopeful for in 2021. He and Senator Merkley recently introduced the River Democracy Act, historic legislation that will protect 4,700 miles of rivers throughout Oregon under the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, including some fantastic tributaries in the North Umpqua. Their bill addresses some of the most important issues facing Oregonians today – clean water, wildfire, revitalizing rural economies, and climate change. As the name of the legislation suggests, Oregonians from all walks of life helped Senator craft this bill. I highly commended him for his vision, leadership, and commitment to the values that make Oregon and America great.
The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act has been a valuable tool in protecting the health of the North Umpqua, its fish, and the tourism economy generated by this special place. And it can be for other rivers too, like the South Umpqua and its tributaries. The addition of several important North Umpqua tributaries in Wyden’s bill will help ensure the North Umpqua’s future as a source of clean water, healthy fish and wildlife, and a place for people to find the joy and peace of nature, like my lovely wife Jeanne and I have done throughout our life All streams matter.
Democracy is fragile. We must all participate to ensure our elected leaders represent the values we cherish and depend on to build a thriving, inclusive, and sustainable America. I was heartened to hear that the Senator received 15,000 stream nominations from 2,500 Oregonians while doing his homework preparing the legislation. The River Democracy Act represents the best of Oregon and Oregonians. I encourage Oregon’s members of Congress to look to a brighter future, and help pass this legislation in 2021.