Take Action: Smith River Mining Withdrawal

In California, Live Action Alerts, Oregon by steelheaders



Tell the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to protect salmon and steelhead streams in southwest Oregon and northern California from large-scale strip mines

What’s the issue?
Two companies, (one foreign owned) have been working to develop surface strip nickel mines in an area that would threaten Rough and Ready Creek (a tributary to the Illinois River and world famous Rogue river) and Bald Face Creek (a tributary to the North Fork Smith and big native steelhead producing Smith river). Other important rivers threatened by proposed mining operations include Hunter Creek and Pistol River.

These mines would sprawl over thousands of acres, putting both land and water resources at high risk.

Sportsmen and other stakeholders from both California and Oregon have expressed strong opposition to the idea of yet another major mining mess to clean up and in response, members of Congress from each state have introduced bills to permanently protect the areas in question.

However, those bills could take years to become law. In the meantime, the BLM has proposed a temporary withdrawal of the area from new mineral claims. But the agency needs to hear that sportsmen support the mineral withdrawal.

What’s at stake?
In short, thousands of acres of public lands and hundreds of miles of streams and rivers. These are immensely important waters for native steelhead, salmon and trout, providing important spawning and rearing habitat as well as world class fishing opportunity for anglers. They are also recreational hubs, designated wild and scenic rivers and sources of clean drinking water for places like Del Norte, Co., CA and citizens from Gold Beach, OR.

What you can do:
If you are familiar with any of the areas identified in the BLM’s proposed action, we need you to weigh in.

Tell the BLM about your connection to these places and why a surface strip nickel mine would be a very bad idea in an area with such high habitat and sporting values. Additionally, the current withdrawal needs to be extended to 20 years to give congress enough time to pass legislation so asking the agency for a twenty year withdrawal is crucial. A few other suggested points to touch on could include:
Your personal experience on any of these creeks or rivers.
The importance of clean water for salmon and steelhead, and for people.
The role angling and recreation play in the area.
The legacy impacts of mining on streams are too harmful to risk an area which harbors one of our best remaining salmon and steelhead sanctuaries.
Why you think these places should be protected from large surface strip mining.

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