Disappointed with The Bulletin's river stance

July 28, 2021
Disappointed with The Bulletin's river stance

As someone who chose to live in central Oregon because of its natural beauty and what I perceived as strong local support for conservation, I was surprised and disappointed to see the Bulletin editorial, “Wild and Scenic designation needs clarity” (July 20) which alleges that “intermittent streams are not really rivers and should not be considered as such,” and suggests they aren’t worthy of protection.

Without creeks and streams, there would be no magnificent rivers like the Deschutes or Willamette. Protecting only roaring rivers and leaving out small waterways would be like trying to score a touchdown with only the receiver and no quarterback. Some of the creeks and streams included in the River Democracy Act may only run seasonally, but they are every bit as deserving of protection as Oregon’s iconic rivers.

The piece dismisses these as “dried up creeks” without considering the importance of intermittent streams. When small streams and wetlands are intact and healthy, they provide natural flood control and pollutant filtration, and critical habitat for fish and wildlife. Streams that run seasonally as well as year-round provide all these services, and act as the source of the nation’s fresh waters. Anything that pollutes or degrades these small freshwater streams has a negative ripple effect on downstream rivers and lakes.

I appreciate the thoughtful approach of this bill to protect a variety of waterways ranging from small seasonal streams to major rivers, and hope that Oregon gets to be the nation’s Wild and Scenic River leader.

By - Shelley Davis, Bend

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An aerial view of a body of water.