Opposing S. 3670, The M.H. Dutch Salmon Greater Gila Wild and Scenic River Act Amendment

Opposing S. 3670, The M.H. Dutch Salmon Greater Gila Wild and Scenic River Act Amendment
Below is a compilation of talking points with instructions for use to develop a letter.
We request that letters be addressed to the Committee expressing opposition to S. 3670, The M.H.

Dutch Salmon Greater Gila Wild and Scenic River Act . Address letters to:

Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski

Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

DSOB 304
Washington, DC 20510

When your letter is completed please e-mail it to hforwardjr@gmail.com so that

it can be delivered.

Talking Points against Wild and Scenic Rivers Act within the Gila
Do not insult the senators or New Mexico Wild

  1. State you are writing in opposition to The M.H. Dutch Salmon Bill S. 3670
  2. Briefly state your personal situation, business, position or who you are writing in behalf.
  3. Optional comment; The Gila watershed provides vital lands and waters that have allowed New
    Mexicans to carry on the deep heritage and traditions of ranching, farming, and living in this
    landscape.
    Topics: Try not to copy and paste. Do not go in sequence.
  4. The Gila Watershed was fully evaluated in 2002 for river designation and 9 rivers deemed eligible
    The United States Forest Service in 2002 settled a lawsuit with environmental groups which resulted
    in a settlement identifying 9 river segments as being eligible for some level of protection under the
    Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
    4.1. According to the USFS Plan Amendment: A team of professionals from various disciplines
    (wildlife, recreation, hydrology, fisheries, etc.) conducted the analysis for the Gila National
    Forest. These interdisciplinary teams systematically identified and evaluated the free-flowing
    nature and existence of potential outstandingly remarkable values for rivers or river segments on
    the Gila National Forest. Ninety-nine rivers/river segments were evaluated and nine were
    determined eligible. The determination that a river area contains outstandingly remarkable
    values was a professional judgment on the part of each member of the interdisciplinary team.
    Technical information from organizations, individuals, and agencies familiar with specific river
    resources was sought and documented as a part of the process.
  5. The new legislation is trying to rewrite history and designate over 400 miles of river eligible.
    Now 18 years later, The M.H. Dutch Salmon Greater Gila Wild and Scenic Rivers Act ignores the
    professional and public process of the United States Forest Service by designating rivers and river
    segments that have never qualified for protection under the Act currently or in the past.
    5.1. The USFS planning process should proceed with participation by the public and Congress should
    review the Final Plan prior to Congress making any designation decisions.
    5.2. These new designations are attempting to bypass the NEPA Process by designating over
    400 miles of river without legal procedure
    5.3. This is a public NEPA governed process that has allowed all who wish to participate to make
    their voices heard.
    5.4. The NEPA planning process also contains appeal rights where citizens can insure the USFS has
    conducted their planning process according to law and regulations.

S. 3670 fails to consider the comments and concerns of those New Mexico citizens who live, work
and care for these lands and rivers daily.
5.5. While the Senators accepted comments from the public through their own web site, there is no
evidence these comments were considered, and it does not appear any substantive changes were
made to the proposal as a result of comments submitted.

Lack of protective language
It is claimed by the Sponsors: “This Act will protect continued uses such as grazing and irrigating.”
Grazers and farmers have been utilizing these rivers and their waters for over a century and the
proposed legislation fails to protect water right owners’ ability to utilize their property rights.
5.6. Many of these rivers contain irrigation and grazing improvements which are necessary for the
grazing and farming that is dependent upon the waters from these rivers to sustain our
economy and the heritage of the area.
5.7. The legislation fails to provide specific provisions to allow these existing facilities to be repaired,
replaced, or improved as is often necessary to allow users to utilize their water rights deemed
under New Mexico State law.
5.8. The legislation will put the United States Forest Service in charge of New Mexico water rights by
controlling when, where, and if existing improvements can be changed, modified, or repaired,
or replaced.

  1. The new legislation does not protect our legacy rights as producers of the land and water
    S. 3670 claims to protect existing grazing and livestock improvements but fails to provide any
    certainty for grazing lease renewals, permit renewals for water improvements, fencing, or access to
    these rivers and their waters.
    6.1. The legislation must be amended to ensure that responsible grazers are allowed to renew their
    permits for grazing, water facilities, and diversions. Fencing repairs and replacements, livestock

facilities, and access must be protected, and assurances provided for continued operations in
the future.

  1. Allow New Mexicans to retain their drinking water.
    S. 3670 endangers New Mexico’s ability to responsibly utilize our waters before they flow over the
    state line to Arizona where they will certainly be captured and utilized.
    7.1. New Mexico’s citizens deserve to benefit from the waters that originate in our mountains, to
    use these waters wisely and with conservation as a high priority.
    7.2. S. 3670 will put the United States Forest Service in charge of New Mexico’s waters and will
    prohibit future use and development for New Mexico citizens.