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Protection for the Headwaters of the Illinois and North Fork Smith Rivers (OR)

Posted: 07/27/2023
By: Thomas O'Keefe

We are pleased to report that Representative Val Hoyle, the new representative for Oregon's 4th Congressional District has reintroduced the Southwestern Oregon Watershed and Salmon Protection Act (SOWSPA) as her first piece of conservation legislation.

This legislation will permanently protect the headwaters of Southwest Oregon’s outstanding collection of wild rivers—including the National Wild and Scenic Illinois and the National Wild and Scenic North Fork Smith, plus Pistol River and Hunter Creek—from the threat of mining in the headwaters. We have been engaged in this legislation for the past several years with former Representative DeFazio as well as Senator Wyden. The legislation has already passed out of Committee in the Senate this Congress as Section 5 of Senator Wyden's Oregon Recreation Enhancement Act <> but we also need to move the companion legislation in the House.

Representative Val Hoyle sits on the House Committee on Natural Resources, one of the most important committees for river conservation in Congress. We encourage constituents to express their gratitude for Representative Val Hoyle’s leadership and interest in prioritizing river conservation.

You can do this in a few different ways:

1) Go to Representative Hoyle's website <>, verify you are a constituent, and send a quick note of thanks for introducing Southwestern Oregon Watershed and Salmon Protection Act. Keep it short and include a personal note on why these rivers are important to you and protection of their headwaters is critical.

2) Monitor Representative Hoyle's social media channels and interact with any posts she makes about the legislation; you can also make your own post expressing your excitement and include a mention of Representative Hoyle: <>, <>, and <>. Staff monitor these channels to see which issues get engagement.

3) Attend a Town Hall this weekend and stay alert for future opportunities. This weekend’s Town Halls will be held jointly with Senator Wyden <>. Get there early to sign up to speak. Your remarks can be brief. Introduce yourself as a whitewater boater who enjoys the rivers of the Kalmiopsis and thank Representative Hoyle and Senator Wyden for their leadership with legislation to protect the headwaters of these special rivers.
* Curry County, 1:30 p.m. Saturday, July 29, Curry Public Library meeting hall, 94341 3rd Street in Gold Beach.
* Coos County, 1 p.m. Sunday, July 30, Marshfield Jr. High, 755 S. 7th Street in Coos Bay.

Photo: Rough and Ready Creek, Zach Collier


Thomas O'Keefe

3537 NE 87th St.

Seattle, WA 98115

Phone: 425-417-9012
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Kalmiopsis Rivers (OR/CA)

American Whitewater is working to protect the wild rivers of Southwestern Oregon and Northern California from the threats of nickel strip mines.

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