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.
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.
Early last month, on Nov 3, the Salmon-Challis National Forest announced it would extend its feedback period in order to facilitate further public input. The forest will take public feedback through Jan. 4.
For much of the past decade, Idaho Rivers United has worked to defend the Wild and Scenic rivers of the Clearwater-Nez Perce National Forests, where some of the finest wild rivers in the nation flow clean, clear and cold. This fall we’re changing tack and in addition to continuing to defend existing Wild and Scenic rivers, we’re filing comments to encourage the Forest Service to protect more of the region’s unparalleled rivers.
The Nez Perce Tribe, Idaho Rivers United and legal group Advocates for the West recently finalized a settlement agreement with the U.S. Forest Service to protect historic uses of U.S. Highway 12 in north-central Idaho while restricting megaload shipments to preserve the area’s spectacular scenery and cultural significance.
The state of Idaho has adopted new rules to regulate huge loads of equipment (called magaloads) on U.S. Highway 12 in North Idaho despite a court injunction blocking such loads.
The Wild and Scenic rivers of the Bruneau and Owyhee river basins are guaranteed to have water flowing in perpetuity after a district judge approved federal reserve water rights for 16 river and creeks.
The Idaho Transportation Department announced it is drafting a rule that would codify criteria created by the U.S. Forest Service in 2013, the same year IRU and the Nez Perce Tribe won an injunction to block megaloads in the Wild and Scenic corridor. The question is: Why?
After months of legal wrangling with Wild and Scenic River advocates, the U.S. Forest Service has withdrawn its proposal to log more than 2,000 acres in the Wild and Scenic Selway River canyon.
A federal court order issued May 12 protects the Selway and Middle Fork Clearwater Wild and Scenic rivers from clear cuts and roads planned by the U.S. Forest Service following the 2014 Johnson Bar Fire.
IRU Executive Director Mark Blaiser reflects on river victories won and river victories yet to come while floating through the majestic canyons of the Owyhee River.