Methow Headwaters Campaign


Reintroduction of Methow Headwaters Legislation

We are pleased to announce that on March 7, 2017 Senators Cantwell and Murray introduced S.566, the Methow Headwaters Protection Act of 2017 – an important milestone for the Methow Headwaters Campaign. The bill calls for permanent protection of about 340,000 acres of public land in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest from new industrial-scale mine development. The senators originally introduced the legislation in 2016, and the bill was heard in September before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, of which Senator Cantwell is the ranking member. The re-introduction in the new congress continues the senators’ commitment to ensuring that the waters, working landscapes and recreational economy of the Methow Valley are protected from the impacts of industrial-scale mining.

“Water is the lifeblood of the economy in the Methow Valley. With so many salmon, farmers and outdoor recreationists dependent on clean water, we can’t risk opening the area to copper mining.” – Senator Cantwell

“No matter what the political climate in Congress is, it’s critical that we keep fighting to preserve and protect the Methow Valley watershed for future generations.” – Senator Murray

In December, the campaign achieved another important milestone when the Bureau of Land Management published a notice in the Federal Register of an administrative mineral withdrawal for the Methow Headwaters. The notice begins a two-year planning process in which the land management agencies will evaluate the potential for a 20-year mineral withdrawal for the headwaters region. The Bureau of Land Management is currently accepting public comments on the mineral withdrawal.


Methow Headwaters Campaign Press Release

Senators Cantwell and Murray Press Release

S. 566, Methow Headwaters Protection Act of 2017

Methow Headwaters Needs Your Help


The Methow Headwaters Campaign needs your help! Add your name to our comment letter that we will submit to the Bureau of Land Management by March 30, 2017.  It is critical we show robust public support for the mineral withdrawal. Please add your name to our letter – every voice counts! Click here to add your name.


Great news from the Methow Headwaters campaign, our coalition effort to safeguard the Valley from an industrial scale mine. The Bureau of Land Management just announced it will make 340,000 acres at the Methow Headwaters temporarily off-limits to mining. Read the full press release here: Methow Headwaters Press Release.


The United States Forest Service has announced that they will take immediate action to protect the Flagg Mountain area. Please see below post for more details or go to the Methow Headwaters website

USFS plans immediate action to protect Methow Headwaters

Great article in the Seattle Times about the USFS decision!


Learn more about the Methow Headwaters Campaign on their website.

In the spring of 2014, the U.S. Forest Service announced that it was reviewing the drilling permit application and invited public comment.  At that time, the agency indicated its intent to consider the drilling proposal “categorically exempt” from review under the National Environmental Policy Act.  Over 700 commenters overwhelmingly opposed any action which furthers the prospect of a copper mine on Flagg Mountain.  Many commenters joined the Methow Valley Citizens’ Council in pointing out that an environmental assessment (EA) should be conducted.
In response, a new campaign, called Methow Headwaters, is bringing together business and community leaders to protect the Valley from large scale mining and to talk about potential solutions to this threat. (See January 29thWenatchee World coverage).

News and Archives:

Methow Headwaters Protection Act of 2016 (S. 2991)


The following is an excerpt from our testimony on S. 2991 “The withdrawal of 340,079 acres from mineral entry and exploration, as proposed in this bill, is a critically important step to protect the headwaters of the Methow River from the potential degradation which would result from large scale mining activity.”

Read more here

Murray, Cantwell sponsor bill to nix mining in Methow Headwaters

5-25-16: We have exciting news to share – today, Senator Patty Murray introduced the Methow Headwaters Protection Act of 2016. The bill, co-sponsored by Senator Maria Cantwell, proposes to make Forest Service lands in the Upper Methow watershed “off limits” to large-scale mining. The Senators’ leadership on this legislation shows their appreciation of the broad community opposition to an industrial-scale copper mine being located in the headwaters. You can read more about this bill and the important boost it has given our campaign here: Methow Headwaters Press Release, Sen. Patty Murray Press Release.
Please take a moment to write or call Senators Murray and Cantwell to thank them for leading on this important issue.Senator Patty Murray
Phone: (202) 224-2621
Email formSenator Maria Cantwell
Phone: (202) 224-3441
Email formCut and paste the following message (please personalize, if you’d like):
Dear Senator,
Thank you for your leadership and action to protect the lands and waters of the Methow Valley from industrial-scale mining. Our precious headwaters are simply too special to sacrifice. I look forward to supporting you as this legislation works its way through Congress.
If you want to say more, here are some additional talking points. Feel free to make these your own and elaborate personally as appropriate.
  •     I’m calling/writing to thank the Senator for her leadership in working to protect the Methow headwaters.
  •     The Methow is the wrong place for industrial-scale mining, and I appreciate the Senator’s support of our community, our economy and maintain the rural nature of the valley.
  •     We appreciate the Senator’s understanding that opposition to the mine is broad-based. The Methow Valley is a unique area and clean water, clean air and an intact landscape support world-class outdoor recreation, agriculture and ranching, fish and wildlife and tourism.
  •     A large-scale mine would threaten to undo years of hard work by civic and business leaders, farmers and ranchers, and Methow residents to keep the valley special.
  •     We appreciate the Senator‘s efforts to lead on this very important issue for both our valley and the state.

Help prevent copper mining efforts in the Methow headwaters

Launch Party
Methow Headwaters Campaign Update

Update: Great Op-Ed by the Wenatchee World.

We had a fabulous Valentine’s Day launch event for the Methow Headwaters Campaign. Nearly 300 folks packed the Winthrop Barn on Sunday, Feb 14 to learn about how we can prevent the threat of an industrial scale copper mine in the Methow Valley.
The new website ( should be up in the next few days. The Methow Valley Citizens Council ( is proud to be a part of this effort, along with other organizations and 90 businesses that have signed on!

As you know, the potential exploration and development of a copper deposit on Flagg Mountain above Mazama threatens the Methow’s clean water, economic well-being and rural character.  Blue River Resources, a Canadian company, has asked the U.S. Forest Service to allow new exploratory drilling. Here’s a great Editorial from the Wenatchee World.

Anticipated U.S. Forest Service decision on the permit for exploratory drilling on Flagg Mountain in Winter 2015-16

Once this occurs, we will be asking you to join forces to let the Forest Service know we oppose any action which furthers the possibility of an industrial scale mine in the Upper Methow.

Flagg Mtn Update and Survey

October 2014. U.S. Forest Service consideration of a permit for exploratory drilling for an open pit copper mine on Flagg Mountain in Mazama has been delayed because of the demands of the fire response on agency staff. We are closely monitoring the status of this review and will keep you apprised.

MVCC sponsored a survey by Sandra Becka on citizen perceptions of this project.


Methow Headwaters FAQ

Methow Headwaters Map

Methow Headwaters Campaign Release

Methow Headwaters Business Letter

Wenatchee World Article

Earthworks Mining Impacts Study

Read our comments to the Forest Service

Additional Information

News Archives

Wenatchee World Articles

Big Methow mine a terrible idea (February 3, 2016)

Group seeks mineral withdrawal to stop mine (February 16, 2016)

They stand up for their valley (February 21,

Methow Valley News

Local coalition forms to oppose long-term industrial mining in the Methow Valley (February 4, 2016)

The usual drill (February 10, 2016)

Coalition launches campaign to limit mining in the Methow (February 17, 2016)


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