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Old Rogue Riverkeeper

The mission of Rogue Riverkeeper is to protect and restore water quality and fish populations in the Rogue Basin and adjacent coastal watersheds through enforcement, field work and community action.

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Our Ashland Creek E. coli Bacteria Study has been released!  You can download a copy from our Ashland Creek Bacteria Study page.

 

kids-on-rogue.gifFor ten years, KS Wild has been a leader in public lands and wildlife advocacy. Part of our success is based upon our readiness to strategically evaluate and adapt our approach to address the most pressing ecological issues. In 2008, we identified a big gap in aquatic advocacy; there is virtually no public oversight for Clean Water Act implementation and enforcement on the Rogue River. Several excellent entities do monitoring, environmental education and fish passage advocacy, but in the absence of vigilant public oversight, the government has done little to enforce vital water laws. We saw the need, and we took action.

Public trust waters are among our most valuable natural resources, and the Clean Water Act’s provisions for public involvement are critical to the implementation of this cornerstone environmental law. The Clean Water Act itself does not ensure clean water. The law depends on an informed, engaged public to speak up for clean water.

In June 2008, the Waterkeeper Alliance, an international network of water advocates, approved KS Wild as the Rogue Riverkeeper. Lesley Adams, who has served as KS Wild’s Outreach Director for the past five years, transitioned into the new position of Rogue Riverkeeper and began the program in January 2009.

While there are numerous water quality and quantity issues that we anticipate addressing in the future, the following four initiatives are the program’s priorities during 2010.


charcoal water1) Clean Water Act Oversight: Hundreds of Clean Water Act permits are active in the Rogue Basin, with new and renewal applications regularly coming out for public review. Rogue Riverkeeper has identified severely expired permits and various permit violations, including exceedances of pollutant limits and negligent reporting, and is assessing legal options to force these permits into compliance. In addition to ongoing oversight of existing and new permits, Rogue Riverkeeper is petitioning to have toxic algae listed as a pollutant for Lost Creek reservoir, as well as petitioning DEQ to strengthen stormwater permitting in the Rogue Basin.

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2) Active and Abandoned Mines: Since 1851, mining has dramatically changed the aquatic landscape of the Rogue Basin, and today there are hundreds of abandoned mines in the watershed. Abandoned mines leach an undocumented amount of toxic pollutants into salmon-bearing streams each year, including arsenic, mercury and lead. The Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act provide tools to force documentation and clean up. Rogue Riverkeeper is collecting data, visiting sites and developing a strategy to address this silent threat. In addition, we are keeping an eye on existing mines to insure that they are complying with the law. Ultimately, the 1872 Mining Law must be reformed.

LNG tanker3) Halting Liquefied Natural Gas: The Jordan Cove Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project would build an import facility in Coos Bay and a 230-mile pipeline to California. The pipeline is proposed to cross several water-quality impaired salmon streams in the Rogue Basin, as well as perform a dubious drill under the Rogue itself. Rogue Riverkeeper is working in a large coalition to stop this ill-conceived proposal. Click here for more information.

aerial rogue 24) Permanent Protection: Rogue Riverkeeper is pursuing legislation to increase protections for the Rogue. Thanks to a diverse coalition, the Oregon Treasures Act was introduced into Congress in 2008. Unfortunately it did not pass before Congress adjourned. In June 2009, Senator Ron Wyden and Representative Peter DeFazio reintroduced legislation that will add 143 miles of Rogue tributaries to the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Rogue Riverkeeper and KS Wild continue to work to get this bill through committee and to the floor for a vote in 2009. Visit www.savethewildrogue.org for more information.

Photo of kids on Rogue River by Roger Dorband.  

 

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