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DeFazio Shocked Rogue River is Listed as Second Most Endangered in The Nation

Apr 17, 2008
Press Release

April 16, 2008

WASHINGTON, DC—Today Congressman DeFazio (D-Springfield) reacted strongly to the announcement by American Rivers, a conservation organization, that the Rogue River is the second most endangered river in the country. American Rivers faulted proposals by the Bush Administration to build miles of roads and log thousands of acres of old growth forest around the Rogue River and its tributaries as the reason for the endangered listing.

"I thought that as one of the original rivers protected under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act in 1968, the Rogue would have been off limits to threats like road building and old growth logging," DeFazio said. "Obviously I was wrong, because the Bush Administration thinks it is more important to log the area and build roads than it is to protect this amazing river."

"The Rogue is one of our country’s original Wild and Scenic Rivers and is a national treasure," said Rebecca Wodder, president of American Rivers. "We have a responsibility to protect the Rogue for all of the communities and businesses that rely on it, and for all Americans who love to fish and boat here. We applaud Representative DeFazio for his leadership on making sure future generations can experience a truly wild, beautiful and healthy Rogue River."

In 1968, Congress protected 84 miles of the lower Rogue River under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act due to the River’s "outstandingly remarkable values" of high water quality, excellent fishery, and recreational opportunities. The river is Oregon’s second largest producer of salmon, in large part because of the clear, cold water its tributaries provide to the main stem of the Rogue. Unfortunately, the designation did not protect most of the river’s significant tributaries. The tributaries provide spawning and rearing habitat for winter and summer steelhead and coho salmon and are critical to the water quality and temperature of the main stem. Furthermore, all five runs of Pacific salmon are found in the Rogue River, which flows 200 miles to the Pacific Ocean.

"The Rogue is an amazing river. Millions of people come to Oregon every year just to hike, fish, raft, and write about the Rogue," DeFazio said. "These nature-based activities also infuse millions of dollars into local economies, which depend on the unspoiled character of this area. If we don’t take care of it and protect it for future generations, Zane Grey’s novels will be the only place our kids will be able to glimpse this magnificent river."

"Earlier this month, Congressman Blumenauer and I announced our ‘Oregon Treasures’ proposal to expand protection for three of Oregon’s greatest natural assets," DeFazio noted. "I had no idea that our proposal would be so urgently needed. Now that the Rogue River and its tributaries have the dubious distinction of being the second most endangered river in the country, it is clear that Congress needs to step in and protect this river once and for all!"

American River’s report, America’s Most Endangered Rivers of 2008, is available at: https://www.americanrivers.org/MERPressroom