O&C Lands are Holding Together our Salmon Sustaining Ecosystems
As a filmmaker who has spent a number of years documenting salmonid populations of the West Coast, it is very clear that Oregon’s O&C lands are holding together what is left of salmon sustaining ecosystems. A majority of these lands are in the headwaters of Oregon’s legendary rivers; rivers that have some of the most stable wild populations of steelhead and salmon on the West Coast.
Protection of these lands is essential for the future of our fishing and hunting legacy, and our way of life in the Pacific Northwest. These O&C lands act as sanctuary for our fragile wild populations of salmonids and offer up much needed refugia, and also provide clean drinking water to many of Oregon's municipalities. We cannot afford to lose the habitat along these rivers, or the benefits they provide to countless Oregonians. Wild salmon and steelhead provide a huge economic boost to the rural regions of Oregon and it would be a travesty to put them at risk from further pressures caused by habitat degradation.
The North Umpqua river has one of the most stable wild steelhead and salmon populations on the West Coast and we cannot afford to put that river at risk for short term profits. I applaud the proposed Frank Moore Wild Steelhead Sanctuary created on Steamboat Creek in Senator Wyden's O&C Lands Act. I urge Senator Wyden to add Canton Creek to the sanctuary, one of Steamboat’s most productive tributaries. I was at Canton Creek in August to produce a short film for Pacific Rivers Council about a seasoned stream ecologist who dons a wetsuit and gets in the water with high school students to survey Canton’s salmonids every summer. This scientist and the students speak eloquently about the connections between forest health, stream health, and abundant fish. Failing to include Canton Creek in the Frank Moore Sanctuary would be a great misfortune.
I also applaud the proposed designation of 252 miles of new Wild and Scenic River designations, and more than 87,000 acres of wilderness areas contained in Wyden's bill. I hope the Senator will stand strong against any challenges to these protections, and work to add the McKenzie, Mt. Hebo, and Kalmiopsis as areas permanently protected for future Oregonians. People travel from across the globe to experience Oregon’s world class rivers and fish, and that is a value that will continue to thrive if we take care of our public lands.
These lands are the anchor that will provide a healthy viable future for generations to come and deserve to be Wild and Scenic.
North Fork Studios