March 14, 2016
BOZEMAN – A coalition of river advocates says a bill hearing scheduled before a U.S. Senate subcommittee next Thursday marks a major milestone in Montana’s quest to get its first new Wild and Scenic River designation in four decades.
The East Rosebud Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (S. 1577), sponsored by Montana Sen. Jon Tester and co-sponsored by Sen. Steve Daines, will have a hearing before the National Parks Subcommittee of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday, March 17 at 1:00 p.m. Mountain Time. The hearing will be live-streamed at: http://www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/live-webcast.
Montanans for Healthy Rivers, local conservation partner Friends of East Rosebud Creek, and a diverse group of local landowners and businesses have been pushing Congress to designate East Rosebud Creek as a Wild and Scenic River ever since a Bozeman-based energy company proposed building a hydropower dam on it in 2009. Under S.1577, 20 miles of the creek flowing across the Custer Gallatin National Forest would be permanently protected from new dams and a host of other threats.
“East Rosebud Creek is one of the streams that is most deserving of permanent protection in the state,” said Mike Fiebig, Northern Rockies Associate Director at American Rivers. “Virtually everyone who lives in and around the East Rosebud Valley wants to see it remain as it is.”
“Not only does East Rosebud Creek have amazing scenery and a great wild trout fishery, but it also features some incredible whitewater paddling,” said Kevin Colburn of American Whitewater. “We’re thrilled that Montana’s congressional delegation has joined together to get it protected under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.”
“The wild rivers flowing off the northern Beartooth Front are some of the most spectacular left in the lower 48 states,” said Charles Drimal of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. “East Rosebud Creek is a national treasure that deserves the highest level of protection allowed by law.“
Montana currently has just four Wild and Scenic Rivers, a 150-mile reach of the Upper Missouri and the three forks of the upper Flathead. All four rivers were added to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System in 1976.
A February 2014 poll commissioned by Montanans for Healthy Rivers found that 75 percent of Montanans favor using the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act as a means to protect Montana’s last best free-flowing rivers.
Mike Fiebig, (406) 600-4061
Kevin Colburn, (828) 712-4825
Charles Drimal, (406) 224-2588