Increased logging in Oregon’s O&C Lands puts waterways, wildlife, public input, and the economy at risk
Whether it is towering groves of old-growth or crystal clear rivers winding through tree-covered canyons, Oregon’s forests are really what make Oregon, Oregon. Under pressure from the timber industry, members of Congress want to cut a shortsighted, special deal to aggressively log over a million acres of our publicly owned forestland, called the O&C Lands. This would roll back critical environmental protections, such as the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act, in order to ramp up clear-cuts and destruction.
The scariest part of this new logging proposal is that very few Oregonians know the truth. The timber industry and their allies in Congress are calling this logging “balanced,” but the facts show that this is anything but true.
THREATS TO OUR WATER
INCREASED DIRT AND SEDIMENT IN WATERWAYS
· Bare slopes erode at an astounding rate, running into creeks and rivers, and increasing the risk of flooding, smothering fish eggs and reducing hatch rates.
· At risk are the watersheds for the Rogue, McKenzie, Illinois, and Umpqua Rivers, which support wildlife like salmon, elk, black bear, and more.
GREATER HERBICIDE USAGE, FINDING ITS WAY INTO RIVERS AND STREAMS
· Ingestion of herbicides can damage fetal development and negatively affect adult brain function.
DRINKING WATER FOR 1.8 MILLION OREGONIANS AT RISK
· Erosion will lead to more herbicides and sediments in our drinking water, necessitating expensive changes to our water treatment facilities.
· In 1996, the City of Salem spent $100 million to improve water treatment facilities after higher levels of sediment were present in storm runoff.
THREATS TO OUR WILDLIFE
ENDANGERED SPECIES COMPROMISED
· Sections of the Endangered Species Act would no longer be enforced, meaning that these animals’ habitats will be in critical danger from logging and clear-cuts.
BAD NEWS FOR FISH
· The no-cut buffer zone for rivers and streams would be significantly reduced.
· Studies have shown that clear-cuts adjacent to river and stream drainages are linked to declines in the diversity of young salmon.
· At risk are watersheds that are home to some of the healthiest wild salmon and steelhead runs in the country.
THREATS TO PUBLIC INPUT
BARRIERS TO INVOLVEMENT ON PUBLIC LANDS
· Fees could be assessed to community members wishing to discover clear-cut and logging plans for their own backyard forests.
· Individual environmental assessments for timber sales would be eliminated.
THREATS TO OUR ECONOMY
OUTDOOR RECREATION INDUSTRY AT RISK
· Outdoor recreation in Oregon generates $12.8 billion in consumer spending and sustains 141,000 jobs through fishing, kayaking, white water rafting, hiking and other recreational activities.
· By polluting waterways and clear-cutting forests, these logging proposals would severely limit the reach of Oregon’s outdoor industry.