NF Smith Protection

Protecting a salmon and steelhead stronghold

UPDATE:  In January 2015, members of Congress introduced legislation to permanently protect the North Fork Smith Watershed and other public lands from mining through the Southwest Oregon Watershed and Salmon Protection Act of 2015. If enacted, the bill would put a “mineral withdrawal” in place, meaning that no new mining activities would take place for a five year period.

The proposed withdrawal has overwhelming public support, support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and support from members of Congress. The Legislators who proposed the withdrawal, Senator Ron Wyden [D-OR], Senator Jeff Merkley [D-OR], Representative Peter DeFazio [D-OR] and Representative Jared Huffman [D–CA], are currently urging the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior to not only ensure the completion of the withdrawal process during the current Obama Administration but to also withdraw the area for 20 years in addition to the 5 years initially proposed.  Meaning no new mines on these lands for 25 years.

Since the Red Flat Nickel Mine has existing claims, this mineral withdrawal would not impact it’s ability to move forward.  However, progress is being made on other fronts to prevent Red Flat Nickel from moving forward. 

Bottom line, protection of the Smith River requires action on several fronts:
  • The proposed mineral withdrawal will protect the vulnerable North Fork Smith watershed from future mining claims
  • Existing mining claims, such as Red Flat Nickel, must be monitored and additional action will be required to prevent the approval of their mining plans
  • Permanent protection of the North Fork will be achieved through legislation and administrative actions

We will continue to monitor the issue and post updates as they develop.

Project Goal

Raise awareness of the current threats to the pristine North Fork of the Smith River.

Recent Accomplishments:

  • Produced Eternally Wild a short film about the iconic Smith River, a salmon and steelhead stronghold, its history and its current plight.  Eternally Wild is an official selection of the 2016 Wild & Scenic Film Festival and is appearing in screenings across the country;
  • Screened Eternally Wild at CalTrout-hosted International Fly Fishing Film Festivals in six locations around the state;
  • Generated support for the Smith’s designation as an Oregon Outstanding Resource Water through Trout Clout e-blast call-to-actions.

What We Will Achieve in 2016-17:

  • Continue to monitor the threat of the Red Flat Nickel mine and advocate for legislative action to protect the North Fork Smith watershed.




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California Trout, Inc.

California Trout, Inc.