Wild rivers are the lifeblood of Idaho's pristine heart
From the white sand beaches of the Salmon to the cathedral forests of the Lochsa, Idaho's rivers are some of the most beautiful places in the country. To guarantee these awe-inspiring rivers and the valleys and canyons through which they course remain as special as they've always been, many are protected by the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act or as State Protected Rivers. Idaho Rivers United supports and defends these important pieces of legislation.
Created by Congress in 1968, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act preserves and protects rivers with outstanding natural, cultural and recreational values in a free-flowing condition. The act prevents new dams or water projects, protects riverside lands and wildlife migration corridors, safeguards clean water, requires development of a comprehensive plan to manage the river, and prohibits activities that would diminish a river's unique values.
The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act protects more than 11,000 miles of 166 rivers in 38 states. Idaho is home to more than 1,000 miles of America's finest Wild and Scenic rivers, including four of the original eight protected in 1968 with passage of the act. There are many more that are still deserving of protection.
From the famed canyons of the Middle Fork of the Salmon to the St. Joe in North Idaho, these rivers and their canyons provide habitat for wildlife and treasured recreational places for rafters, anglers, campers, cyclists and hikers.
On September 12, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rolled back protections for waterways, headwaters, and wetlands.
The South Fork of the Salmon, a whitewater river with important spawning habitat for migrating fish, has again been named a Most Endangered River on American River’s annual list. The reason and threat are still the same: Midas Gold’s Stibnite Project, a proposed gold mine at the headwaters of the river, that threatens downstream tribal nations, communities, and species that rely on a healthy South Fork.
On an advertising panel in Boise’s Camel’s Back Park, Midas Gold lays out the attractions of their proposed Stibnite Project located in the headwaters of the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon River. The advertisement claims the project will boost Idaho’s economy, provide employment opportunities, and restore fish migration to the nearby rivers and streams. Nowhere on the sign does Midas acknowledge that the Stibnite Project is a massive open-pit gold mining operation that will put a unique and cherished place at risk of losing its wild heart.
This week a judge has ruled in favor of the Forest Service in their case against 35 placer mining claims located along the South Fork of the Payette River. The decision signifies a victory for the numerous local outfitters, rafters, kayakers, businesses, and conservation groups that opposed the development of mining activities along this stretch of river.
IRU joins national river organizations to protest Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest planning process that seeks to dismiss candidate Wild and Scenic rivers.
The work of protecting and defending Idaho’s rivers is bigger than any one organization or person can accomplish. At this year’s annual Auction for the Rivers, IRU recognized eight individuals and/or organizations who have gone above and beyond in their defense of Idaho’s rivers and fish.
The Wild and Scenic Rivers act protects 12,734 miles of the nation’s rivers, but it’s a cornerstone federal environmental law with distinctly Idaho roots.
IRU joined a panel discussion at the University of Idaho School of Law focusing on the fiftieth anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
The South Fork of the Salmon River in Central Idaho was named today as one of America's Most Endangered Rivers.
The Salmon-Challis National Forest is continuing to collect public input on rivers and streams it deems eligible for inclusion in the national Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The forest is accepting public comments through May 4.