Trip to Washington, DC with Methow Headwaters

Trip to Washington, DC with Methow Headwaters

Conservation Northwest / Jul 10, 2018 / Legislation, Methow Headwaters, Mining, Protecting Wildlands

By Jay Kehne, Sagelands Program Lead based in Omak

I was honored to join the Methow Headwaters Campaign and several other local citizens on a recent trip to Washington, D.C. to show the broad local support for the Methow Headwaters Protection Act and an administrative mineral withdrawal by federal agencies, both of which would withdraw mining rights from 340,000 acres of the Methow Headwaters and protect this special watershed from a proposal by a Canadian mining company.

Jay talks with Okanogan County-area U.S. Congressman Dan Newhouse. Photo: Office of Rep. Dan Newhouse

We represented support for the mineral withdrawal from a local political, conservation, hunting, fishing, and business perspective. We met with U.S. Department of Agriculture Acting Deputy Undersecretary, U.S. Forest Service Acting Chief, Minerals Director, Bureau of Land Management Acting Director, Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, the Department of Interior’s Assistant Secretary of Lands and Minerals, and Congressman Dan Newhouse.

Our message was simple: everyone supports this mineral withdrawal including all levels of politicians from Mayors, to County Commissioners, to both Washington Senators and local U.S. Representative Newhouse.

We pressed the message that this watershed already has an “industry” and is a “factory” producing cold, clean water for salmon, steelhead and bull trout, and critical habitat for mule deer migrating to and from winter and summer ranges, not to mention local agriculture and farming. 

Jay and the Methow Headwaters Delegation with U.S. Senator Patty Murray. Photo: Office of Senator Patty Murray.

We explained the millions of dollars already invested in salmon recovery in the watershed as well as many miles downstream that depend on the water coming from the Methow headwaters. And the millions of dollars from tourism and local business already tied to hunting, fishing, wildlife watching, ski touring, and outdoor recreation that doesn’t need mining to flourish.

While we were encouraged by what we heard and the local support this initiative maintains, the work will continue to achieve a 20-year Administrative Withdrawal through the Forest Service and BLM, and a permanent legislative withdrawal through Congress. Onward!

Read more about Jay’s trip and the latest on the Methow Headwaters Campaign in this article from the Methow Valley News, and on our work to protect this special watershed on this webpage

Photos courtesy of the offices of Rep. Dan Newhouse and Senator Patty Murray. We deeply appreciate their support and leadership on this issue as well as that of Senator Maria Cantwell

Jay and the Methow Headwaters delegation with Congressman Dan Newhouse. Photo: Office of Representative Dan Newhouse.