We are excited to share the good news: the pristine flows of the Smith River have earned further protection, as determined recently by the Oregon Water Resources Commission (WRC) to reserve the surface waters of the North Fork Smith River for the specific purpose and support of instream fish, wildlife, recreation, and domestic human consumption, and withdraws them from any further appropriations (i.e., diversions, captures, impounding from its natural course or channel). The Commission also limited groundwater development in the basin. In simple terms, this means that the pure waters of the North Fork Smith River, flowing 28 miles from Southern Oregon into California, are safeguarded into the future.
This added layer of protection for the North Fork of the Smith River is a win for the environment and for us. The Smith River is one of the premier “salmon strongholds” along the Pacific Coast; the North Fork serves as a refuge for threatened Coho Salmon and is an incredible producer of winter steelhead and Cutthroat Trout. It also is a major contributor of clean water to the Smith River downstream, which provides drinking water to much of Del Norte County.
Over the last few years, CalTrout has teamed up with other organizations, notably the Smith River Alliance, working hard to earn protections for the Smith River basin. It’s amazing to share these successes with our partners!
Our followers have also helped tremendously fighting for the Smith River several times; most recently signing a petition to designate the NF Smith River as a federally-protected Outstanding Resource Water (which was adopted this past July!). You’ve also helped us stop new nickel mining operations in the headwaters of the Smith River by voicing your opinion and submitting public comments. Once again, because of citizen actions and collaboration between non-profit organizations, important protections have been provided for the Smith watershed. Thank you for your hard work protecting the places we love!
Click here to read the memo sent by the Water Resources Commission on their decision to reclassify the waters of the Smith River.
Read the original petition submitted by CalTrout and partners to WRC.