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NFC: Fw: Babbitt Supports Permanent Protection of Hanford Reach

For Immediate Release				
Contact: Kristen McDonald, 202-347-7550 x3020
Tuesday May 16, 2000			
American Rivers praises Babbitt’s fact-finding trip to the 
heart of salmon country
Supports permanent protection, as polls show local 
residents want
WASHINGTON, D.C.— American Rivers, the nation’s leading 
river conservation organization, today praised Interior 
Secretary Bruce Babbitt for his continued efforts to 
permanently protect critical salmon habitat.
Secretary Babbitt travels today to the Hanford Reach of the 
Columbia River in eastern Washington on a fact-finding 
mission to assess the best option for permanent federal 
protection for the river and adjacent lands.
“We applaud Interior Secretary Babbitt and Secretary of 
Energy Bill Richardson, as well as the rest of the 
administration for realizing the importance of long-term 
protection for the Hanford Reach,” said Rebecca Wodder, 
President of American Rivers. “This is the heart of salmon 
country. Only permanent protection will make sure it stays 
that way for future generations.”
Local support for federal stewardship of the Hanford Reach 
has been increasing of the past five years to an 
overwhelming majority. Protection of the Reach would 
preserve the river in its free-flowing state, and stop 
efforts to break up the lands along its banks for other 
The 51-mile Hanford Reach is the last non-tidal, free 
flowing portion of the nation’s third longest river. 
Flowing through the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, the 
Hanford Reach has been isolated and able to support a rare 
shrub-steppe ecosystem along its banks. 
In addition, the Hanford Reach has national significance as 
the only section of the Columbia River that sustains 
reliably harvestable runs of fall chinook salmon.
An estimated 60 percent of the Columbia River fall chinook 
salmon that make it past the McNary Dam spawn in the 
Hanford Reach. The Reach is also a spawning area for 
sturgeon and other fish, and it is a popular boating 
destination.  Numerous archaeological and historically 
significant sites line its banks.
“Salmon runs in the Pacific Northwest are currently facing 
severe threats to their survival, and protecting the 
Hanford Reach is an important step in the overall strategy 
for saving these vital species.” Wodder added.
As recently as 1998, American Rivers named the Hanford 
Reach the nation’s most endangered river.

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