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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
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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