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FOR Logo Friends of the River
 The voice of California's rivers

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[object Object][object Object]Friends of the River is an active member of the Campaign for the California Desert.  Made up of a number of conservation organizations, this campaign focuses on protecting wild rivers and wilderness on public lands in the California Desert.  The Campaign is working closely with Senator Dianne Feinstein who has reintroduced a bill to protect rivers and areas in the desert, as well as establish new National Monuments to protect the most sensitive desert habitats from renewable energy development.  The focus of Friends of the River in the campaign is the protection of several potential Wild & Scenic Rivers, which provide rare water sources for both people and wildlife in the arid desert.

Senator Feinstein's California Desert Protection Bill (S. 138) proposes protection of more than 72 miles of Wild & Scenic Rivers in the California desert, including segments of Deep Creek and the Whitewater River in the San Bernardino Mountains, an addition to the Amargosa River (protected in 2009) in the Mojave Desert, and Surprise Canyon in the Panamint Mountains west of Death Valley.  Friends of the River was instrumental in including these rivers in the bill and we will continue to work with our allies to develop public support and lobby for its passage in Congress. To read the campaigns' press release <click here>.

Please take action now to thank Senator Feinstein for introducing S. 138 <TAKE ACTION>.


The proposed Wild & Scenic Rivers in Senator Feinstein's desert bill (S. 138) include:

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California Desert Protection Act of 2011
(S. 138)

  • Protects as Wild & Scenic Rivers more than 72 miles of the Whitewater River, Amargosa River, Deep Creek, and Surprise Canyon.
  • Establishes the Mojave Trails National Monument, protecting 941,000 acres of federal land.
  • Establishes the Sand to Snow National Monument, encompassing 134,000 acres of federal land.
  • Protects adjacent lands by adding them to Joshua Tree National Park, Death Valley National Park, and the Mojave National Preserve.
  • Protects five new wilderness areas and approximately 250,000 acres of BLM wilderness areas near Fort Irwin.
  • Enhances recreational opportunities while ensuring training needs of the military have been met.
  • Designates four existing off-highway vehicle areas in the California desert as permanent.
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Amargosa River – Friends of the River successfully protected 24 miles of this river south of Death Valley National Park as a Wild & Scenic River in 2009. The Amargosa is a rare free flowing river flowing above ground in the Mojave Desert.  The bill proposes to add another 3.5 miles of the river to the Wild & Scenic System (open a pdf map of the proposed addition). Learn more >

Whitewater River – The bill proposes to add protection of more than 27 miles of the Whitewater as a Wild & Scenic River. The Whitewater River rises from the high slopes of Mt. San Gorgonio in the San Bernardino Mountains and then flows into the Coachella Valley.  The Whitewater watershed is one of the most remote, unroaded places in southern California (open a pdf map of the proposed addition). Learn more >

Deep Creek – The bill proposes protection of 20 miles of Deep Creek and 14.5 miles of its tributary Holcomb Creek.  These creeks drain the north slope of the San Bernardino Mountains and flow into the Mojave Desert.  Deep Creek is a wild trout stream and provides important habitat for the endangered arroyo toad. Deep and Holcomb Creeks are the route of the Pacific Crest Trail (Deep Creek : open a pdf map of the proposed addition. Holcomb Creek: open a pdf map of the proposed addition). Learn more >

Surprise Canyon – The bill proposes protection of more than 7 miles of Surprise Canyon in the Panamint Mountains west of Death Valley National Park. A rare oasis in the dry desert, Surprise Canyon tumbles over rocky cascades and nourishes riparian habitat home to more than 70 species of songbirds(open a pdf map of the proposed addition). Learn more >

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