Sunday, August 18, 2013

Mining Threatens Smith and Illinois Rivers

The Illinois and Smith rivers, in Southern Oregon and Northern California are two of steelhead country's gems. Both rivers are protected under Wild and Scenic designations and both support relatively healthy runs of wild steelhead, chinook and coho. Despite their ecological and cultural significance, these watersheds are threatened by proposed nickel mines, which if approved would create certain ecological catastrophe. These mines unleash toxic tailings that poison surface and ground water, and would building roads into these remote watersheds, degrading all ecosystem values other than short term extraction of nickel ore. 

With the watersheds theoretically protected under the Wild and Scenic rivers legislation, the only reason proposed mines have gained any traction is because of an antiquated mining law dating from 1872 which allows mining claims on federally managed lands. American Rivers has set up an online letter allowing citizens to send a letter to the Obama administration in about 2 minutes. Please take the time and send your comments by following this link: 

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