River groups urge agencies to protect water on federal forests

River groups urge agencies to protect water on federal forests

March 17, 2015 —

As the U.S. Forest Service kicks off a series of listening sessions tonight to learn from Northwest residents what their concerns are as the agencies revise the Northwest Forest Plan, the Pacific Rivers Council, American Rivers, and Wild Salmon Center urge the agencies and everyone who cares about water in the Northwest to remember: clean water is the most important resource provided by our public forests.

One of the key components of the Northwest Forest Plan is the Aquatic Conservation Strategy, which is a science-based policy forwarded by the Pacific Rivers Council in 1993 to include in the Northwest Forest Plan.

“The Aquatic Conservation Strategy has proven to be effective at providing clean water and restoring rivers, and fisheries in the Northwest. It has helped species like Oregon coho, steelhead, and more,” said John Kober of Pacific Rivers Council.

“The Aquatic Conservation Strategy has proved instrumental in healing and improving watershed conditions for drinking water, fish and wildlife in Western Oregon. In the face of climate change and its impacts on water, it’s vital to strengthen the strategy and reduce — not increase– risk to our waters,” said Greg Block of Wild Salmon Center.

·      The Northwest Forest Plan has been the most successful conservation strategy in the Northwest to protect clean water and salmon in watersheds from the Umpqua in Southwest Oregon to the Skagit in Washington.

·      Since the plan was adopted, drinking water quality has improved and imperiled salmon and steelhead runs have either stabilized or improved because of the protections for clean water in the plan known as the Aquatic Conservation Strategy, scientists have found.

·      The key components of the plan to protect clean water include riverside land buffers and protection of areas specifically to conserve clean drinking water and abundant wild salmon runs while at the same time providing recreational benefits to anglers, hunters, hikers, boaters and others.

·      Millions of people – the majority of Northwest residents – receive their drinking water from lands protected by the Northwest Forest Plan, including residents of Portland and Seattle.

Contact: John Kober, 503-915-6677, john@pacificrivers.org
Greg Block, 503-201-3678, gblock@wildsalmoncenter.org

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