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Oregon Environmental Agency Protects Famed River From Mining Proposal


The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission designated the North Fork Smith River an Outstand Resource Waters, protecting the scenic river from a mining proposal. 

The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission designated the North Fork Smith River an Outstand Resource Waters, protecting the scenic river from a mining proposal. 

Zachary Collier/Flickr

Oregon environmental officials have used, for the first time, a special designation to protect an iconic river — a move that most likely dooms a long-running effort to build a nickel mine nearby.

Oregon’s Environmental Quality Commission voted 5-0 Thursday to designate the North Fork Smith River — which begins in southwest Oregon and flows into California — as an Outstanding Resource Waters.  

It’s the first time the state has used the designation, and the latest victory for environmental groups that have used multiple federal and state rules to halt a mining proposal they say could foul one of the West’s most pristine river systems.  

The North Fork and mainstem Smith River are well-known for fishing and whitewater rafting, flowing through Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.

Read more at the Statesman Journal.

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