Mining Puts Chetco On Endangered List: Group

American Rivers came out with their annual ranking of the most endangered rivers in America, and this year’s list includes the Chetco River, home to some whopper Chinook and steelhead — as well as gold.

A company wants to begin suction mining the Southern Oregon stream this summer, but American Rivers, calling the Chetco a “rare priceless treasure” in a sample letter, is asking people to write to the state’s two U.S. Senators as well as a House Rep to request they withdraw the National Wild and Scenic stretch as well as Rough and Ready Creek and Baldface Creek from mining activity.

OPB has a story that details more about the company’s plans, the concern of a local guide and why state biologists think summer would be an OK time to mine.

The Chetco produced a 58-pound Chinook last season for a client of guide Andy Martin.

In previous years, American Rivers has put other regional rivers on its most endangered list, including the Lower Snake last year, Rogue in 2008, White Salmon in 2007, Willamette and Boise in 2006, Skykomish in 2005, Spokane in 2004 and the Hanford Reach in 1997 and 1998.

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