Conservationists employed a rarely used provision in the federal Clean Water Act to protect the North Fork Smith River and all its tributaries as an “Outstanding National Resource Water.” The designation, adopted in July by the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission, halted the mine. It also essentially prohibits any activity in the watershed that would create water pollution – pretty much forever.
Despite being made law in 1972 as part of the Clean Water Act, the Outstanding National Resource Water designation is not well known. In fact, it has never been used before in the Northwest.
LINK (via: Water Deeply)