Senate Bill Would Expand Protections for Oregon’s Rivers

Senate Bill Would Expand Protections for Oregon’s Rivers
By Rachael McDonald

February 20, 2013

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 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.