Wilderness Act Passes!

wildernessact The Wilderness Society is ecstatic, as we all should be. The Omnibus Public Land Management Act, a consolidation of over 160 proposals gathered over many years, was passed by the House 285 to 140, after being passed by the Senate.

Among the wild lands winning protection are 470,000 acres in the Eastern Sierra and San Gabriel Mountains in California, 517,000 acres in the Canyonlands in Idaho and 11,700 acres of Lake Superior shoreline in northern Michigan. The legislation also shields 1.2 million acres of the Wyoming Range, a hunting ground that is home to half of Wyoming’s moose population, from oil and gas drilling.

It also protects more than 1,000 miles of scenic rivers and streams from commercial development and creates new conservation areas and national parks, including two in New Jersey: the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park and the Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange.

Wilderness Bill Passes: NY Times

sanjoaquinriverAs part of the bill the San Joaquin river which once came roaring out of the Sierras, past Fresno then turning north west to join the Merced before rambling to the San Francisco Bay, is going to be restored, perhaps not to its former salmon spawning glory but to something recognizable as a river, with, it is dreamed, salmon running once again.

“After recent dry years and a collapsing salmon fishery, passage of this bill is good news for fisherman, farmers, and the more than 22 million Californians who rely on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta for their water supply,” said Monty Schmitt, senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of the plaintiffs in the 1980s suit.

The San Joaquin River, California’s second-longest behind the Sacramento River, once maintained plentiful runs of spring and fall salmon and fed pristine freshwater into the delta.

Old-timers remember when the river surged with so many salmon they were scooped up and used as hog feed.

San Joaquin: Once Again — SF Chronicle

Update: Russ Daggatt posts: the best news he’s heard in a great while.