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Tribal Fairness, Wild Steelhead acts move toward Senate

March 31, 2017 GMT

The Frank and Jeanne Moore Wild Steelhead Special Management Area and the Western Oregon Tribal Fairness Act are moving toward the U.S. Senate, after they passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Thursday.

The Western Oregon Tribal Fairness Act would put 17,519 acres of federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management in a trust for the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, and 14,742 acres in a trust for the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians.

It would also require the Interior Department to manage the Coquille Indian Tribe’s forest lands as it does other tribal forest lands.

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The wild steelhead bill, honoring Frank and Jeanne Moore of Idleyld Park, would set aside 99,653 acres of Forest Service land near Steamboat Creek to protect the North Umpqua River and its tributaries for steelhead habitat, public recreation opportunities and ecological features.

“Our business depends on protected public lands and waters,” said Pat Lee and Jim and Sharon VanLoan, co-owners of the Steamboat Inn, in a statement. “People come from near and far to fish in our rivers, and the communities that surround this part of the Umpqua depend on its clean, healthy water for their livelihoods.”

The committee also passed the Mt. Hood Cooper Spur Land Exchange Clarification Act, which would allow for development of 107 acres in the area and the protection of more than 770 acres as well.

“The Frank and Jeanne Moore bill honors two great Americans and their dedication to protecting a truly special place in Oregon,” Sen. Ron Wyden said in a statement. “For the tribes, this important recognition of their sovereignty will provide a boost to their economies. And the Mt. Hood Land Exchange will finally help protect Mt. Hood for visitors and for the environment.”

“Today’s action is another step forward for common-sense stewardship of Oregon lands and enhanced economic opportunity across our state,” Sen. Jeff Merkley said. “With today’s committee passage of these bills, we’re making progress on protecting Oregon’s incredible natural legacies while promoting economic opportunities at the same time.”