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|Tuesday, May 14, 2013|
Editor's note: This column is a response to an April 24th op-ed authored by Sen. Alan Olson (R-Canby).
BY SEN. ALAN BATES | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
Oregon has a long history of caring for our rivers. In 1970, Oregon voters approved a citizens’ initiative that created the Oregon State Scenic Waterways program. The program was last updated in 1988, and has since grown to include protections for 19 of Oregon’s rivers.
Essentially, the Scenic Waterways program allows for the protection of Oregon’s most treasured rivers by preserving water quality at levels necessary for recreation, fish, and wildlife. The program not only preserves our rivers – it also respects private property rights and protects property values.
The practice of suction dredge mining has been limited or stopped in Washington, California, Idaho and all federal lands. Yet, suction dredge mining is one of two placer gold mining activities still commonly found in Oregon, often in our state’s most remote and beautiful rivers, and the same watersheds that have historically supported strong salmon and trout fisheries. The practice includes vacuuming up a river bed in search of gold and other minerals, sucking up rocks and gravel and returning the remaining sediment to the stream bottom.
As you can imagine, this practice has impacts on fish, wildlife, property owners and on our state’s most beautiful rivers. Concerns raised about suction dredge mining in a 2011 California Department of Fish and Game environmental impact report included “significant and unavoidable impacts” on water quality, including mercury and trace discharge from equipment, as well as changes in behavior among small birds during breeding season, noise impacts, and possible demolition or alteration of historical and archaeological resources.
Oregonians consider our peaceful, pristine rivers a legacy to pass on to the next generation. Vacuuming up a river bed with a loud motorized raft is bad for property owners, bad for recreational river users, and bad for fish and wildlife. It’s just common sense that we would protect our rivers from harm.
Current legislation under consideration in the Oregon Legislature would protect our rivers by studying more miles of river and potentially including them in the State Scenic Waterways Act, limiting suction-dredge mining in Oregon, and revisiting regulations and fees for miners.
Oregon is blessed with a diversity of river systems that contribute greatly to our quality of life. Wise stewardship of our state’s natural resources becomes increasingly important as the population and development grows along our rivers. Oregon should protect the natural resources that promote healthy communities and enrich the lives of Oregonians.
Sen. Alan Bates (D-Medford) is vice-chairman of the Oregon State Senate Committee for Environment and Natural Resources.
Editor's Note: Oregon Business accepts opinion pieces on topics relevant to the state's business community. See Op-Ed submission guidelines here.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
BY NISHANT BHAJARIA | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
By now, anyone who knows about it has a position on President Obama’s executive order on immigration. The executive order is the outcome of failed attempts at getting a bill through the normal legislative process. Both Obama and his predecessor came close, but not close enough since the process broke down multiple times.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
We ask business and nonprofit leaders how they survive the season.
Friday, December 12, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER
Studying ground-running birds, a group that ranks among nature's speediest and most agile bipedal runners, to build a faster robot.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
Portland's cab companies urged city hall for consideration as officials weigh new rules for Uber and other ridesharing companies.
Friday, January 23, 2015
BY DAN COOK | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN
A real-estate developer and a Lithia Motors executive aim to revamp the city's forlorn downtown.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
BY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR
The implosion of the energy complex: The best thing for low oil prices is low oil prices.
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER
A conversation with attorney Erich Merrill about the latest way to raise money from large groups of people.
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