Today, Trout Unlimited and National Wildlife Federation announced their support for an Owyhee Canyonlands National Monument as another means of protecting Oregon’s Owyhee Canyonlands in the event that the Malheur Community Empowerment for the Owyhee Act does not pass in Congress.
Trout Unlimited and National Wildlife Federation fully support Senator Wyden’s Malheur Community Empowerment for the Owyhee Act and continue to advocate for this bill to become law. This legislation is the product of a locally driven, collaborative approach between Tribes, ranchers, local community members, hook and bullet groups, and environmental organizations.
However, both conservation organizations recognize that Senator Wyden’s legislation faces obstacles to passage in Congress. In recent months, a movement to achieve a similar level of protection through a national monument designation has surfaced.
Our organizations stand with the local communities of Malheur County along with ranchers, Tribes, hunters, and anglers. Similar to the Owyhee legislative approach, a national monument designation must include a transparent public process that seeks input from each stakeholder group along with local, state, and Tribal governments. A monument designation must be pursued in a way that addresses the values and needs of each of these stakeholders.
“Senator Wyden should be applauded for creating a stakeholder driven, community-based approach that allowed local individuals to craft solutions that meet the needs of local communities. Their work set the tone for protecting people, livelihoods and critical areas of the Owyhee landscape,” said Lindsay Slater, Vice President of Government Affairs at Trout Unlimited. “The Owyhee Basin Stewardship Coalition is the standard for a locally driven, consensus-based approach and Congress should act immediately on their recommendations. If action is not taken soon, a National Monument will be necessary to serve as the backstop for the critical protections that are needed in the Owyhee Canyonlands area.”
“Unmarred habitat for fish and wildlife that also supports rural economies and sporting traditions are invaluable and uniquely American. At a time when we’re rapidly losing wildlife habitat, we have an obligation to conserve the last remaining pristine landscapes for the people, and the fish and wildlife that reside there,” said Aaron Kindle, director of sporting advocacy at the National Wildlife Federation. “The people who live on and use these landscapes know well the outstanding values of the Owyhee, and have been working for more than a decade to see it protected. The bottom line is, the Owyhee is worthy of permanent protection and the time is now”.
Trout Unlimited represents over 300,000 members and supporters and is the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization. Our mission is to bring together diverse interests to care for and recover rivers and streams so our children can experience the joy of wild and native trout and salmon.
The National Wildlife Federation, one of America’s oldest and most respected conservation organizations, represents over seven million members and supporters and works to safeguard wildlife habitat and sporting traditions.