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Rep. Peter DeFazio Reintroduces Public Lands Bills to Protect Critical Fish Habitat, Unique Wilderness Areas

Feb 8, 2019
Press Release

Rep. Peter DeFazio this week reintroduced four bills that would protect several critical salmon and steelhead habitats in southwestern Oregon and designate more than 30,000 acres of public land as Wilderness.

“The lands protected in these bills are some of the most beautiful, pristine, and ecologically-diverse areas in Oregon,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR). “To leave these areas unprotected would be to subject them to pollution and mining, endanger drinking water for thousands of families, and devastate local recreation economies. These bills will preserve some of Oregon’s most spectacular natural beauty while protecting critical salmon and steelhead habitats as well as important watersheds.”

Two bills, the Southwestern Oregon Watershed and Salmon Protection Act, H.R. 992, and H.R. 994, the Chetco River Protection Act, would prohibit new mining leases in several ecologically unique areas in Oregon, including Rough and Ready Creek at the headwaters of the Illinois River, Baldface Creek at the headwaters of the Smith River, the Chetco River, and Red Flat at the headwaters of Hunter Creek and the Pistol River. The waters protected by this legislation supply clean drinking water to thousands of residents of Southwest Oregon and Northwest California and are critical salmon habitats.

Another bill, H.R. 999, would permanently protect Devil’s Staircase, a remote, unspoiled area in the Coast Range. The legislation would designate approximately 30,500 acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) lands as Wilderness. Wilderness lands have a special protected status against road construction and disturbances like logging. In addition, this legislation designates approximately 14.4 miles of the Wasson and Franklin Creeks, which support native Coho and Chinook salmon, trout, and steelhead runs, as Wild and Scenic Rivers.

The Frank and Jeanne Moore Wild Steelhead Special Management Area Designation Act, H.R. 1056, would designate almost 100,000 of public land in the Steamboat Creek Watershed in the Umpqua National Forest for salmon preservation. The legislation would honor Frank and Jeanne Moore’s lifelong efforts to protect the North Umpqua River and its tributaries.