Senate Bill Would Expand Protections for Oregon’s Rivers

February 20, 2013

Rachael McDonald–KLCC
A bill introduced in the legislature by Senator Alan Bates of southern Oregon would expand protections for the state's rivers. It has the support of environmentalists and recreationalists.
Senate Bill 401 expands the number of rivers and bodies of water that are protected as State Scenic Waterways. It would protect segments of the Rogue, Illinois, South Umpqua, Grand Ronde, Sandy, Molalla and other rivers.
Frank Armendariz is owner operator of River Trail Outfitters in Eugene. He says the legislation would protect water quality for salmon. It's also good for business.
Armendariz: "The recreational river industry is about a 3 billion dollar industry here in Oregon."
The bill would prohibit Suction Dredge Mining on State Scenic Waterways. That practice involves gas powered vacuums that suck up riverbed sand and gravel in search of gold. California placed a moratorium on the practice in 2010– pushing it north to rivers in southern Oregon.
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3 thoughts on “Senate Bill Would Expand Protections for Oregon’s Rivers

  1. xcb says:

    North Fork Burnt River is on of the so-called scenic rivers. It has no late summer flows, nor any salmon or steelhead. You will see historic dredge tailings, but it certainly is no a scenic river.  It does have gold which the scenic waterway designation prohibits placer mining within a 1/4 mile from the non-existent stream.  This bill is not about scenic, its about shutting down all kinds of placer mining, even off-channel mining.

  2. Jeremy C. Bemetz says:

    If you folk's would like to spread the word that suction dredging destroys salmon habitat and destroys their spawning beds why don't you have any scientific proof of that? I myself fish and can attest to the destruction that a person who is walking around in the water with waders on is doing more damage to the salmon than a suction dredge because of the simple fact that: WE RESPECT THE FISH IN THESE WATERS AND HAVE IN WATER WORKING REGULATIONS SET FOURTH BY THE ODFW!!!!!!! When the salmon are present we ARE NOT DREDGING THEN!!!! You don't think that hundreds of driftboats coming down a small river in a day dosen't have any affect either?? The amount of lead, fishing lead that is, that I pulled out of a local river over the last two years was enough to cast a 5 pound weight for my dive belt. Perhaps a few trips with several different miners would help yours views. I find it amazing how at one time in the past  groups like yours used to clear debries out of creeks and rivers and then years later you realized that was bad and started putting things like logs and boulders back in them…..all the while using heavy equiptment on many sites! Was the hydraulic fluid in those machines safe for the environment? How about the deisel? I understand that out ecology system if fragile….I live in it!! Man has built things with items either mined, grown or otherwise taken from this earth! That smart car will not run very well without and copper…..

  3. bob says:

    The myth of the lack of evidence and science to support our position is ironic given that your camp’s evidence of that myth is provided by two retired yet discredited scientists who are connected with a mining organization and are neither fisheries biologists or PhDs. There are 20,000 new PhDs in science each year in the US. You would think that if your case had merit that you would have 500 or 1000 of those flocking to your cause, but you have two low-level, former EPA bureaucrats, with non-applicable educations. Please think about the implications of that.

    Bob Ferris

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