Target: US Congress
Goal: Designate Washington State rivers for permanent protection
Congressman Norm Dicks and Senator Patty Murray have proposed the Wild Olympic Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. This bill would protect over 126,500 acres of Washington Forest land, as well as 464 miles of river all throughout the state, as protected wild and scenic rivers. If this bill is passed, those areas will be permanently protected, preserving the natural habitats and lives of countless animals.
The original Wild and Scenic Rivers Act created the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, which is similar to the National Parks system. Currently, there are only three designated Wild and Scenic rivers in Washington, compared to its neighbor Oregon, where there are fifty eight. Approximately .03% of Washington’s total river miles have wild and scenic status. With nineteen rivers suggested for conservation in the bill, the passage of this act would more than triple the amount of river to be protected, and represent Washington more proportionately within the regulations of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
When a river receives Wild and Scenic River status, it becomes forbidden from construction such as dams, that will fully inhibit the river from being free-flowing. The Act itself puts it this way: “the established national policy of dam and other construction at appropriate sections of the rivers of the United States needs to be complemented by a policy that would preserve other selected rivers or sections thereof in their free-flowing condition to protect the water quality of such rivers and to fulfill other vital national conservation purposes.” The act aims to ensure that rivers remain free-flowing in their natural way, and it also will include protection for its surrounding forests.
Dear US Congress,
There is a serious problem regarding the proportion of unprotected rivers in Washington state. With over seventy thousand miles of rivers and creeks flowing through the state, it seems foolish that only three rivers have been designated under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Congressman Norm Dicks and Senator Patty Murray have taken some responsibility for this misstep, and have submitted the Wild Olympic Wilderness and Wild and Scenic River Act. I request that you strongly consider passing this bill and preserve a great deal more of the natural wilderness of Washington.
The free-flowing status of rivers is essential to the people and creatures that rely on rivers to survive. So many animals live and thrive in Washington rivers, and they need human protection from water pollution, dams, and other interference that could eliminate their homes. The wild and scenic river status given to those waters would be just the thing. Please, I urge you to accept the Wild Olympic Wilderness and Wild and Scenic River Act, and conserve the rivers of America.
[Your Name Here]