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Oregon’s Rogue on List of “Most Endangered” Rivers

April 18, 2008

Medford, OR – The Rogue River ranks Number Two on the list of "America's Most Endangered Rivers," in a new report that says not enough is being done to protect it from the effects of logging and mining. Located in southwest Oregon, the Rogue is one of the original "Wild and Scenic Rivers," under federal protection since 1968. But David Moryc, director of the "Wild and Scenic" program for the conservation group American Rivers, says nowadays, that designation is not enough.

"It only offers a narrow ribbon of protection, a quarter-mile on each side of the river. So, what we're looking to do is protect the 'capillaries' of the Rogue, the tributaries that provide clean water and fish and wildlife habitat."

Moryc says a major reason the Rogue made the list is public concern that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's proposed management plan (called the "Western Oregon Plan Revision") could open too much of the area to road-building and logging.

"There's a balance we can strike with timber harvest and the growing recreational economy, in southern Oregon and all across Oregon. But I think there are just some places –- and this is an example of a really important one –- that we should be leaving alone."

American Rivers will ask the Oregon congressional delegation to expand the "Wild and Scenic" protections to almost 100 miles of Rogue tributaries. This year, the Rogue is the only Northwest river on the list, which is compiled with input from outdoor enthusiasts and local governments.

Moryc explains the goal is not to list rivers already in bad shape, but to call attention to those facing the most serious threats. Read the full report at www.americanrivers.org.

Chris Thomas/Don Mathisen, Public News Service - OR