SW Oregon river gets special protections with designation
Posted July 15
SALEM, Ore. — State officials have given a southwest Oregon river a special designation that could end an effort to build a nickel mine nearby.
The Statesman Journal reports (http://stjr.nl/2t26zW5) that Oregon's Environmental Quality Commission voted 5-0 Thursday to designate the North Fork Smith River as an Outstanding Resource Waters.
The designation is part of the Clean Water Act that allows states to protect pristine waterbodies.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality took public comments and supported the designation.
Smith River Alliance Executive Director Grant Werschkull says the designation provides protection for downstream communities as well as salmon and steelhead populations.
Red Flat Nickel Corp. has proposed exploratory drilling for a possible open pit mine on a 2,350-acre site on a tributary of the North Fork near Gold Beach.