Bureau of Land Management National Park Service U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service U.S. Forest Service

Wild & Scenic River Questions & Answers

Q: What if one is not sure whether a particular river area should be evaluated pursuant to Section 5(d)(1) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act for possible eligibility determination?

A: It is important to develop and apply standardized criteria through a documented evaluation process that may include a screening for potential wild and scenic rivers. If there doubt, evaluate the ... More...

Keywords: 5(d)(1), eligible, eligibility, study

Q: What protections are afforded a river identified for study under Section 5(d)(1) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and for how long?

A: A river identified for study under Section 5(d)(1) is protected by each agency's policy; i.e., the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act provides no statutory protections. To the extent of each agency's aut ... More...

Keywords: 5(d)(1), protection, duration, study

Q: Can individuals pan or suction dredge for gold in designated wild and scenic rivers?

A: It depends on whether the collecting activity is commercial or noncommercial in nature and subject to river-administering agency regulation. Mining under the 1872 mining law is a commercial and b ... More...

Keywords: access, gold, panning, dredging, mining, mineral

Q: Will existing riparian protection programs be improved, or new ones created, to protect rivers from increased public use?

A: A primary objective of wild and scenic river designation is to protect and enhance riparian area function and other river-related natural values. Specific actions to meet the objective are typica ... More...

Keywords: access, restoration

Q: Why does the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act contain a land acquisition provision?

A: Land acquisition is one tool for protecting and enhancing river values. It may also be an important means of providing public access to a wild and scenic river. Notwithstanding Section 6 of the W ... More...

Keywords: acquisition, property, condemnation, easement

Q: How much land can be purchased for a wild and scenic river?

A: Section 6(a)(1) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act states: "The Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture are each authorized to acquire lands and interests in land within the aut ... More...

Keywords: acquisition, property, easement

Q: Does the 100 acre per mile limitation apply to the purchase of easements?

A: No. The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act does not limit the amount of land that may be acquired through purchase of easements, i.e., acquisition of partial rights, such as development rights. ... More...

Keywords: acquisition, property, easement

Q: What is a scenic easement and what is its purpose?

A: Section 16(c) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act defines a scenic easement as follows: "'Scenic easement' means the right to control the use of land (including the air space above such land) withi ... More...

Keywords: acquisition, property, easement

Q: Does a scenic easement give the public any right to access, enter on, or use such lands?

A: Generally, no. Any provisions for public use of private lands must be specifically included in the terms of the easement. Depending upon the terms and conditions of each easement, public access r ... More...

Keywords: acquisition, property, easement, access

Q: If the purchase of land becomes necessary within a designated wild and scenic river corridor, why would condemnation be used?

A: Should the purchase of land become necessary, condemnation is typically a last resort and only used when: 1) Land is clearly needed to protect resource values, or provide necessary access for ... More...

Keywords: acquisition, property, easement, condemnation

Q: Can the government acquire or "take" private land within the river corridor?

A: Yes, but with many restrictions. It is important to note that condemnation is a tool that has been used only rarely on wild and scenic rivers. The objective of wild and scenic river designation i ... More...

Keywords: acquisition, property, easement, condemnation

Q: Are there limitations on the federal government's ability to acquire lands through condemnation under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act?

A: Yes. Section 6(b) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act specifically prohibits the use of condemnation for fee title purchase of private lands if 50 percent or more of the acreage within the boundari ... More...

Keywords: acquisition, property, easement, condemnation

Q: Why has condemnation been so rarely used by the federal government on wild and scenic rivers?

A: There are more appropriate and cost-effective ways to ensure resource conservation along wild and scenic rivers than using the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act's condemnation authority. (Refer to "Prot ... More...

Keywords: acquisition, property, easement, condemnation

Q: Can state lands within wild and scenic river corridors be condemned by the federal government?

A: No. Lands owned by a state may be acquired only by donation or exchange per Section 6(a)(1) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. ... More...

Keywords: acquisition, property, easement, condemnation

Q: Can the federal government force landowners to move from their land because of wild and scenic river designation?

A: No. The river study, enabling legislation, and subsequent management planning process will consider how best to protect river values while recognizing private property rights. ... More...

Keywords: acquisition, property, easement, condemnation

Q: What is the federal government's policy and past record on using condemnation authority involving wild and scenic rivers?

A: The federal government has rarely exercised its eminent domain powers with respect to wild and scenic rivers. Of the 203 rivers in the National System as of May 2012, condemnation for fee title h ... More...

Keywords: acquisition, property, easement, condemnation

Q: Will designation affect the existing landowner's ability to control access to the riverbanks?

A: Wild and scenic river designation does not change land ownership or grant new privileges to the public on private lands. If the riverbanks are in private ownership, the landowner continues to con ... More...

Keywords: benefits, impacts, impact, landowner, construction, development, property, access

Q: What restrictions and procedures apply to construction, improvement, or maintenance of private roads within wild and scenic river corridors?

A: Maintenance of roads generally would not be affected. In consultation with landowners involved through coordinated management planning, every effort would be made to eliminate or reduce adverse i ... More...

Keywords: benefits, impacts, impact, landowner, construction, development, property, road

Q: Can the federal government regulate or zone private lands under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act?

A: No. Under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the federal government has no authority to regulate or zone private lands. Land use controls on private lands are solely a matter of state and local zoni ... More...

Keywords: benefits, impacts, impact, landowner, construction, development, property, zoning

Q: Can landowners continue to charge for fishing access?

A: Landowners can charge a fee for crossing private lands to fish, except where a public access easement exists. The designation of a wild and scenic river does not change landowner rights unless al ... More...

Keywords: benefits, impacts, impact, landowner, property, fishing, access

Q: What are some of the social and economic benefits and impacts associated with wild and scenic river designation?

A: Benefits may include, but are not limited to, providing managers tools or mechanisms to protect free-flowing condition, i.e., protection of river values through the assessment of hydroelectric fa ... More...

Keywords: benefits, impacts, social, economic, development, impact, landowner

Q: What consideration is given to the potential impacts of ecotourism on rural economies?

A: The economic impacts of implementing various alternatives should be addressed through the evaluation process to determine whether a river is a suitable addition to the National Wild and Scenic Ri ... More...

Keywords: benefits, impacts, social, economic, tourism, impact, landowner

Q: How are river corridor boundaries determined?

A: Corridors may not exceed an average of 320 acres per river mile over the designated portion of the river (except on certain other rivers as specified by Congress and in Alaska, which is 640 acres ... More...

Keywords: boundaries, corridor, corridors

Q: When will corridor boundaries be established?

A: The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act requires that detailed boundaries portrayed on maps be established and submitted to Congress within one year of designation. Agencies may finalize boundaries throug ... More...

Keywords: boundaries, corridor, corridors

Q: How are river corridors established and what is the maximum corridor allowed?

A: Corridor boundaries are established to protect the free-flowing condition, water quality, and outstandingly remarkable values for which the river was designated. Generally, the corridor width for ... More...

Keywords: boundaries, corridor, corridors

Q: May boundaries be drawn to accommodate specific features?

A: Most rivers have flexible boundaries to accommodate specific features and river values. (Refer to "Establishment of Wild and Scenic River Boundaries" (1998).) ... More...

Keywords: boundaries, corridor, corridors

Q: Is congressional approval required to exceed the 320 or 640 acre average?

A: Yes, per Sections 3(b) and 15(1) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act for rivers designated by Congress under Section 3(a), but not for rivers designated by the Secretary of the Interior under Secti ... More...

Keywords: boundaries, corridor, corridors

Q: Where are some examples of rivers whose boundary corridors have exceeded the 320 acre average?

A: Rivers in Alaska outside of national parks and Elkhorn Creek in Oregon (640 acres per river mile) exceed the 320 acre average. ... More...

Keywords: boundaries, corridor, corridors

Q: May the lateral boundary (the legally established river corridor) of a wild and scenic river be amended?

A: Yes. The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act anticipates the need for occasional adjustment of the lateral (river corridor) boundary, directing that such amendment follow the same process as described for ... More...

Keywords: boundaries, corridor, corridors

Q: What is the process to amend the lateral boundary of a wild and scenic river?

A: Amending the lateral boundary of a designated river requires analysis and decision under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The environmental analysis process need not be complicated a ... More...

Keywords: boundaries, corridor, corridors

Q: What is the process to clarify the terminus of a wild and scenic river?

A: The need to clarify the terminus should be identified as a management concern/public issue during the planning process and considered in establishment of the initial boundary. The proposed clarif ... More...

Keywords: boundaries, corridor, corridors

Q: Is a map available showing river segments and their legal descriptions?

A: Yes. Legal descriptions along with a map are submitted to Congress in accordance with Sections 3(b) and (c) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and are retained by the administering agency. Request ... More...

Keywords: boundaries, corridor, corridors

Q: How are boundaries determined on stream channels that are braided?

A: Boundaries are measured from the ordinary high water mark of the outermost stream channel. That is, boundaries will be measured from the outermost braid unless otherwise specified by Congress. Th ... More...

Keywords: boundaries, corridor, corridors, braided

Q: May the segment division (description between differently classified segments) of a wild and scenic river be clarified when such description is included in Section 3(a) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act?

A: For example, a segment division between a wild and scenic classification described as "from the bridge" may inappropriately include the bridge in the wild river segment. Consistent with a wild cl ... More...

Keywords: boundaries, corridor, corridors, classification

Q: What is the process to clarify a segment division of a wild and scenic river?

A: The need to clarify a segment division should be identified as a management concern/public issue during the planning process and considered in establishment of the initial boundary. The proposed ... More...

Keywords: boundaries, corridor, corridors, classification

Q: May the segment division (description between differently classified segments) of a wild and scenic river be amended when such description is included in Section 3(a) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act?

A: (Note on Question: For some rivers, Congress has directed the river-administering agency in Section 3(b) to determine which classes "best fit the river or its various segments." These administrat ... More...

Keywords: boundaries, corridor, corridors, classification

Q: What is the process to amend a segment division of a wild and scenic river?

A: The need to amend a segment division should be identified as a management concern/public issue during the planning process and considered in establishment of the initial boundary. The proposed a ... More...

Keywords: boundaries, corridor, corridors, classification

Q: May the terminus (beginning or end point) of a wild and scenic river be clarified?

A: Yes. While Congress specifies the termini of a designated river, in some instances congressional language may require interpretation. For example, a terminus described as "from the dam" could be ... More...

Keywords: boundaries, corridor, corridors, classification

Q: What is a river's classification and how are rivers classified?

A: Once determined eligible, river segments are tentatively classified for study as either wild, scenic, or recreational based on the level of development of the shoreline, watercourse and access at ... More...

Keywords: classification, class, classes

Q: What is the difference between a "Wild," "Scenic," or "Recreational" river?

A: Rivers designated under Section 3(a) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, and most designated under Section 2(a)(ii), are classified in one of three categories depending on the extent of developmen ... More...

Keywords: classification, class, classes

Q: What is the significance of a river's tentative classification?

A: River segments may be tentatively classified for protective management purposes prior to a final suitability determination and/or congressional action. This ensures that river values and characte ... More...

Keywords: classification, class, classes

Q: When is a river formally classified?

A: Congress may classify the river upon the date of designation or authorize classification by the managing agency. In the latter case, managing agencies have one year to finalize the boundary, iden ... More...

Keywords: classification, class, classes

Q: Can a wild and scenic river have more than one classification?

A: Yes. There are three classifications (wild, scenic and recreational) that may be applied to a particular river segment. Distinct segments along the designated reach may contain differing and non- ... More...

Keywords: classification, class, classes

Q: What are the differences and limitations in wild and scenic river access opportunities under the three classifications?

A: River access is evaluated in the land use planning process. Specific access needs for public enjoyment, as well as any limitations, are determined in the river management plan. In keeping with th ... More...

Keywords: classification, class, classes

Q: What is the difference between river areas and river segments?

A: In agency parlance used for planning purposes, river "areas" include the entire length of a study or designated river and its adjacent lands, an average of 320 acres per river mile (except on cer ... More...

Keywords: classification, class, classes, segment, planning

Q: How does each classification (wild, scenic, recreational) of a designated river affect future development on federal lands in the river corridor?

A: Wild and scenic river designation seeks to protect and enhance a river's current condition. Generally, the classification of the river reflects the level of development at the time of designation ... More...

Keywords: classification, development, economic, benefits, impacts

Q: Can private lands be acquired by the federal government under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act on Section 2(a)(ii) river corridors?

A: No. The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act specifically prohibits the federal government from expending funds on Section 2(a)(ii) rivers, except to manage federal lands or to provide technical assistance ... More...

Keywords: classification, development, economic, benefits, impacts, impact, landowner, acquisition, sale, property

Q: What restrictions apply to private residences, farm buildings and other buildings? Will landowners lose any use or development rights?

A: No restrictions to private lands may be applied under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Comprehensive River Management Plans may establish goals for new construction consistent with classification. ... More...

Keywords: classification, development, economic, benefits, impacts, impact, landowner, construction, development, property

Q: How will wild and scenic river designation impact landowners who have power or communication transmission lines on private lands within the river corridor?

A: Existing powerline or communication transmission rights-of-way may continue to be used and maintained. New proposals would be evaluated for impacts to river values based on state and local zoning ... More...

Keywords: classification, development, economic, benefits, impacts, impact, landowner, lines, towers, power, communication, property, access

Q: What if a proposed development on private land is clearly incompatible with wild and scenic river designation, classification, or management objectives?

A: The government typically provides technical assistance to find ways to alleviate or mitigate the actual or potential threat(s). Purchasing a partial right (easement) or the property in fee title ... More...

Keywords: classification, development, economic, benefits, impacts, impact, landowner, management, property

Q: What are the effects of wild and scenic river designation on private landowners within the river corridor?

A: Under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, designation neither gives nor implies government control of private lands within the river corridor. Although many rivers include private lands within the bo ... More...

Keywords: classification, development, economic, benefits, impacts, impact, landowner, property, access

Q: Can the private landowner sell land within the wild and scenic river corridor after designation?

A: Yes. The ability of the owner to buy, sell, donate or leave property to heirs is unaffected by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Landowners who sell should inform the new owner of any easement tran ... More...

Keywords: classification, development, economic, benefits, impacts, impact, landowner, sale, designation, property

Q: Is wild and scenic river designation likely to cause changes in property values?

A: Wild and scenic river designations generally cause property values to remain stable or increase. For example, see "Economic Benefits of Conserved Rivers: An Annotated Bibliography" (Porter, B., C ... More...

Keywords: classification, development, economic, benefits, impacts, impact, landowner, sale, designation, property

Q: Will landowners be reimbursed for vandalism to their property associated with trespass?

A: No. Federal agencies do not have the authority to reimburse landowners for damage to their lands as a result of public use. However, wild and scenic river designation is unlikely to increase or i ... More...

Keywords: classification, development, economic, benefits, impacts, impact, landowner, trespass, vandalism, property

Q: What is the responsibility of the federal study agency for a river authorized for study under Section 5(a) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and found ineligible?

A: Once such a river segment has been found to be ineligible, the agency will describe the basis for this finding in the study report and follow its internal procedures to transmit the report to the ... More...

Keywords: Congress, eligibility, report, eligible

Q: What does the potential river-administering agency do when a river has been proposed for designation by Congress and its suitability has not been resolved?

A: When Congress proposes a bill to designate an eligible river for which a suitability study has not been completed, the potential river-administering agency should endeavor to: 1) describe the res ... More...

Keywords: Congress, suitable, suitability

Q: What effect does wild and scenic river designation have on other federally assisted water resources projects?

A: Section 7 of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act prohibits any department or agency of the United States from assisting in the construction of any water resources project that would have a "direct and ... More...

Keywords: dam, bridge, section 7, regulation, restriction, riprap, corps

Q: What is the definition of a water resources project?

A: Any hydroelectric project licensed under Part 1 of the Federal Power Act, or other federally assisted (loan, grant, permit or license) project, which would affect the free-flowing condition of a ... More...

Keywords: dam, bridge, section 7, regulation, restriction, riprap, corps

Q: What types of projects may fall under the purview of Section 7 of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act?

A: Examples include, but are not limited to any dam, water conduit, reservoir, powerhouse, transmission line, or other project works licensed under the Federal Power Act; other federally assisted pr ... More...

Keywords: dam, bridge, section 7, regulation, restriction, riprap, corps

Q: What is required of the administering agencies under Section 7 of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act for proposed water resources projects?

A: Administering agencies must evaluate proposed water resources projects under the appropriate standard of Section 7 of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The result of that evaluation should be provi ... More...

Keywords: dam, bridge, section 7, regulation, restriction, riprap, corps

Q: Are congressionally authorized study rivers (under Section 5(a) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act) protected from proposed hydroelectric facilities or other federally assisted water resource projects?

A: Yes. Section 7(b) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act provides the same protection to study rivers authorized by Congress, except that the qualifying word "unreasonably" does not appear before "dim ... More...

Keywords: dam, bridge, section 7, regulation, restriction, riprap, corps, study

Q: May aquatic and upland fish and wildlife habitat restoration and enhancement projects be constructed in wild and scenic rivers, including the placement of in-channel structures?

A: Yes. Such projects may be constructed to protect and enhance fish and wildlife. In-channel structures (e.g., placement of large wood to replicate natural stream conditions) and in-channel activit ... More...

Keywords: dam, habitat, wildlife, fish

Q: What types of in-channel habitat restoration and enhancement projects may be permitted?

A: A range of projects are allowable to restore natural channel processes and habitat, including placement of limited rock and wood, native plantings to stabilize streambanks, and the removal or add ... More...

Keywords: dam, habitat, wildlife, fish

Q: What types of in-channel habitat restoration and enhancement projects are most harmonious with the river environment?

A: Projects with the following attributes are generally considered most harmonious with river ecosystems: 1) Those made of native materials, e.g., wood, rock, vegetation, and so forth that are si ... More...

Keywords: dam, habitat, wildlife, fish

Q: I would like to get my river designated as a wild and scenic river. What's the process?

A: There really isn't a "process" to designate a river. Agencies by themselves cannot designate rivers. Rivers are designated in one of two ways. The first, and by far the most common, is through an ... More...

Keywords: designation

Q: Who is responsible to administer a river included in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System?

A: Rivers included in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System by act of Congress (under Section 3(a) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act) are administered by one of four federal agencies: Bureau of ... More...

Keywords: designation, impact

Q: What are the responsibilities of the federal wild and scenic river-administering agency (for rivers designated by Congress)?

A: The federal wild and scenic river-administering agency is responsible for implementing the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act's requirements, including the development of a comprehensive management plan ... More...

Keywords: designation, impact

Q: What are the differences, if any, between wild and scenic rivers and wilderness?

A: Differences include, but are not limited to, the following areas: 1) Motorized boats and other motors may be allowed in wild and scenic rivers classified as wild, whereas the administering Sec ... More...

Keywords: designation, wilderness

Q: Can areas already in another federal designation, such as wilderness or national conservation area, be designated as a wild and scenic river?

A: Yes. Congress has frequently added wild and scenic river status to rivers flowing through national parks, national wildlife refuges and designated wilderness. Each designation recognizes distinct ... More...

Keywords: designation, wilderness, park

Q: Why is it necessary to designate a river area as wild and scenic when it is already protected under another congressionally authorized designation?

A: In many cases, there may be no practical effect. However, laws like the Wilderness Act do allow certain activities in designated wilderness which may be incompatible on a wild and scenic river, e ... More...

Keywords: designation, wilderness, park

Q: What are the effects of wild and scenic river designation on future needs to develop or expand rights-of-way on federal lands in the river corridor?

A: Section 13(g) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act allows the granting of easements and rights-of-way within the boundaries of designated components in accordance with applicable laws, provided that ... More...

Keywords: development, economic, benefits, impacts, right-of-way, impact

Q: What is the effect of designation on the sale or other disposal of federal lands?

A: Section 8(a) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act withdraws public (federal) lands within the authorized boundary of a designated component from entry, sale, or other disposition under the public la ... More...

Keywords: development, economic, benefits, impacts, sale, impact

Q: What are the primary effects of wild and scenic river designation?

A: Wild and scenic river designation seeks to protect and enhance a river's current natural condition and provide for public use consistent with retaining those values. Designation affords certain l ... More...

Keywords: effects, designation, mining, rights

Q: Will designation restrict hydroelectric development?

A: The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act expressly prohibits the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) from licensing the construction of a hydroelectric project or project works (e.g., facilities su ... More...

Keywords: electricty, hydropower, ferc, dam

Q: What makes a river eligible for the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System?

A: To be eligible for designation, a river must be free-flowing and contain at least one "outstandingly remarkable value" (ORV), i.e., scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, cu ... More...

Keywords: eligibility, eligible

Q: When is a river or river segment evaluated for eligibility for possible inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System?

A: There are three instances when federal agencies assess eligibility: 1) at the request of Congress through specific authorized studies; 2) through their respective agency inventory and planning pr ... More...

Keywords: eligibility, eligible, study

Q: What are some of the steps federal agencies use in their evaluation of potential wild and scenic rivers in their land management planning process?

A: "There are a number of steps that federal agencies use in their evaluation process: - Assessment of free-flowing condition and resource values. - Finding of eligibility or ineligibility. ... More...

Keywords: eligible, eligibility, management, planning, plan

Q: When is a river formally determined eligible or ineligible?

A: Eligibility findings are made as a part of a congressionally authorized study under Section 5(a) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, or pursuant to agency inventory and planning under Section 5(d) ... More...

Keywords: eligible, eligibility, study

Q: What documentation is needed for eligibility determinations?

A: Agency land use or resource management plan records should include documentation of the eligibility criteria, inventory process, evaluation and outcome. Agency field offices retain the administra ... More...

Keywords: eligible, eligibility, study

Q: Must federal agencies make evaluations through their land use planning processes of rivers listed on the Nationwide Rivers Inventory that flow on or through public lands?

A: Yes. The Nationwide Rivers Inventory (NRI) lists potentially eligible rivers. Federal agencies should make an eligibility determination for rivers on the NRI. ... More...

Keywords: eligible, eligibility, study, inventory

Q: Should federal agencies also consider the eligibility of other potential rivers not included in the Nationwide Rivers Inventory?

A: Yes. The federal agency should consider a wide variety of internal and external sources from which to identify potentially eligible rivers. These sources may include: American Rivers' "Outstandin ... More...

Keywords: eligible, eligibility, study, NRI, inventory

Q: What is the Nationwide Rivers Inventory?

A: The Nationwide Rivers Inventory (NRI) is a listing of some free-flowing rivers (or river segments), which, based on preliminary studies, are considered to meet eligibility criteria for the Nation ... More...

Keywords: eligible, nationwide, inventory, NRI

Q: Once a river segment has been found eligible and given a tentative (inventoried) classification (wild, scenic and/or recreational), how are its values protected?

A: Protective management of federal lands in the river area begins at the time the river segment(s) has been found eligible. The free-flowing condition, identified outstandingly remarkable values an ... More...

Keywords: eligible, suitable, suitability, value, remarkable, classification

Q: How can a river below a dam or impoundment be considered

A: Section 16 of the Act, defines a "river" as "a flowing body of water . . . or portion, section, or tributary thereof. . . ." "Free-flowing" is defined as "existing or flowing in natural condition ... More...

Keywords: flow, dams, eligibility, eligible

Q: Can a river be considered free-flowing when the flow is dependent on releases from a dam?

A: Yes. Congress and the Secretary of the Interior have designated many river segments which are above or below dams that have regulated flows. ... More...

Keywords: flow, dams, eligibility, eligible

Q: What is the definition of "free-flowing?"

A: Section 16(b) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act defines free-flowing as "existing or flowing in a natural condition without impoundment, diversion, straightening, rip-rapping, or other modificati ... More...

Keywords: free-flowing, flow, dam, remarkable, resource

Q: What are the consulting requirements with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for proposed construction, reconstruction, or maintenance of roads and bridges within the corridor?

A: Federal wild and scenic river-administering agencies need to work with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) pursuant to Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act of 1966 in protec ... More...

Keywords: highway, road, construction, bridge, development, economic, benefits, impacts, impact

Q: Why were the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture Interagency Guidelines for Eligibility, Classification and Management of River Areas" for the wild and scenic rivers program developed?

A: On September 7, 1982, the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior outlined in the Federal Register (47 FR 39454) eligibility and classification criteria, the evaluation process and content, a ... More...

Keywords: interior, agriculture, eligibility, guidelines, management

Q: Can intermittent rivers be considered eligible for designation?

A: Yes. For purposes of eligibility evaluation, the volume of flow is sufficient if it is enough to sustain or complement the outstandingly remarkable values identified within the segment. Rivers wi ... More...

Keywords: intermittent, eligible, eligibility, ephemeral, dry

Q: How will the federal government control unauthorized use (trespass) on private land within the river corridor?

A: Administering agencies do not have any authority to control public use of private lands. Granting of access remains the owner's responsibility and trespass is handled by local law enforcement aut ... More...

Keywords: landowner, property, access, trespass

Q: Will designation result in restricted boating access?

A: Generally, no. Restrictions on public boating access and the implementation of entry permit systems (rationing and/or allocation) are not usually related to designation. Limitations on boating us ... More...

Keywords: landowner, property, boating, access

Q: How does easement acquisition affect public access?

A: Easements on private lands acquired for the purposes of protecting wild and scenic rivers do not provide public access unless this right was specifically acquired from the private landowner. A tr ... More...

Keywords: landowner, property, easement, access

Q: Will designation increase recreational use and unauthorized uses on private land?

A: Designation may cause an increase in use along the river as new visitors seek it out. However, the wild and scenic river management requirements should ensure that any such increase will not dama ... More...

Keywords: landowner, property, easement, access, trespass

Q: How does wild and scenic river designation affect timber management activities on non-federal lands inside the corridor?

A: Timber management activities on non-federal lands within wild and scenic river corridors are guided by state and local authorities. Under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the only way the federal ... More...

Keywords: landowner, property, logging, timber, restriction, regulation

Q: How does wild and scenic river designation affect timber management activities on non-federal lands outside the corridor?

A: Timber management activities on non-federal lands outside the corridor are guided by state and local authorities. The river manager may provide technical assistance and/or work with state/local g ... More...

Keywords: landowner, property, logging, timber, restriction, regulation

Q: How does wild and scenic river designation affect agriculture and livestock grazing practices on non-federal lands inside the corridor?

A: Generally, existing agricultural and grazing practices, and related structures are not affected by designation. The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act does not give federal agencies authority to regulat ... More...

Keywords: landowner, property, restriction, regulation, farming, grazing, agriculture

Q: When was the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act passed?

A: The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (Public Law 90-542; 16 U.S.C. 1271-1287) was signed on October 2, 1968. It has been amended many times, primarily to designate additional rivers and authorize addit ... More...

Keywords: legislation, law, date

Q: Must a river segment be of any particular length or have certain flows in order to be eligible?

A: No. The Interagency Guidelines state, "There are no specific requirements concerning the length or the flow of an eligible river segment. A river segment is of sufficient length if, when managed ... More...

Keywords: length, eligibility, eligible

Q: What's the longest river in the world?

A: The Nile River at approximately 4,175 miles (depending on whos estimate you believe). (Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) ... More...

Keywords: length, longest, biggest

Q: What is the longest river in the United States?

A: Length (in descending order): Missouri, Mississippi, Yukon, St. Lawrence (if you count the Great Lakes and its headwaters as one system), Rio Grande, Arkansas, Colorado, Atchafalaya, Ohio, Red ( ... More...

Keywords: length, longest, biggest

Q: What is the biggest river in the United States?

A: Volume (in descending order): Mississippi, St. Lawrence, Ohio, Columbia, Yukon, Missouri, Tennessee, Mobile, Kuskokwim, Copper (Source: U.S. Geological Survey) ... More...

Keywords: length, longest, biggest

Q: How does wild and scenic river designation affect timber management activities on federal lands outside the corridor?

A: Timber management activities on federal lands outside the corridor are managed to protect and enhance the values that caused the river to be designated. Measures needed to protect and enhance the ... More...

Keywords: logging, timber, restriction, regulation

Q: How does wild and scenic river designation affect timber management activities on federal lands inside the corridor?

A: Timber management activities on federal lands within wild and scenic river corridors must be designed to help achieve land-management objectives consistent with the protection and enhancement of ... More...

Keywords: logging, timber, restriction, regulation

Q: What is the longest undammed river in the continental United States?

A: The Salmon River in Idaho at 406 miles. The 700-mile Yellowstone River is the longest with only small dams and lacking major diversions, channelization, or levees. (Source: America By Rivers, ... More...

Keywords: longest, undammed, dam

Q: What is the role of local government in managing wild and scenic rivers?

A: Local government entities are encouraged by federal wild and scenic river-administering agencies to provide for the protection of wild and scenic river values in their land use plans, including t ... More...

Keywords: management, impact, government

Q: What does the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act say about management of water resources?

A: The following summarizes the sections of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act related to water resources (quality and quantity): Section 1(b) of the Act establishes that the national policy of dam a ... More...

Keywords: management, water, quality, quantity, appropriation

Q: Does a river's wild and scenic river status affect its navigability for title purposes?

A: No. Navigability determinations are based on factors other than wild and scenic river designation. Because of this, designation does not affect ownership of the submerged lands (or minerals lying ... More...

Keywords: navigate, navigibility

Q: Do states own the bed and banks of wild and scenic rivers that have been determined navigable?

A: Yes. The "equal footing" principle of the Constitution and the Submerged Lands Act of 1953 afford each state the ownership of lands and natural resources under navigable rivers. These submerged l ... More...

Keywords: navigate, navigibility

Q: Do states have any special responsibilities or constraints on their management of beds and banks of navigable rivers?

A: Yes. Regardless of whether a river is designated as a wild and scenic river, states have special responsibilities and management constraints with respect to state-owned lands underlying navigable ... More...

Keywords: navigate, navigibility

Q: What rivers in the United States flows north?

A: This is a common misconception, that there is only one river that flows north in the United States. Actually, there are a lot of rivers that flow north; it just depends on what scale/order you wa ... More...

Keywords: north, flow, United States

Q: What is the genesis of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act?

A: Due to the dams, diversions and water resource development projects that occurred from the 1930's to the 1960's, the need for a national system of river protection was recognized by conservationi ... More...

Keywords: origin, date, National Wild and Scenic Rivers System

Q: What is the definition of "outstandingly remarkable value?"

A: In the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, river values identified include scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural, or other similar values. The Act does not further define ... More...

Keywords: outstandingly, remarkable, value, eligibility, eligible

Q: What are possible "other similar" outstandingly remarkable values?

A: Some examples of other similar outstandingly remarkable values include botanical, hydrological, paleontological, scientific, or heritage values. ... More...

Keywords: outstandingly, remarkable, value, eligibility, eligible

Q: What is the planning requirement for a river designated by Secretary of the Interior (under Section 2(a)(ii) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act)?

A: The requirement for a Comprehensive River Management Plan, does not apply to state-administered, federally designated rivers. Federal land managers are responsible for protecting river values in ... More...

Keywords: planning, management, plan, comprehensive

Q: What is the planning requirement for a river designated by Congress (under Section 3(a) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act)?

A: Prior to 1986, Section 3(b) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act required the river-administering agency to "prepare a plan for necessary developments in connection with its administration in accord ... More...

Keywords: planning, management, plan, comprehensive

Q: What is the time period for developing a Comprehensive River Management Plan for a river designated by Congress?

A: The Comprehensive River Management Plan for rivers designated on or after January 1, 1986, is to be completed within three full-fiscal years after the date of designation or as otherwise specifie ... More...

Keywords: planning, management, plan, comprehensive

Q: Is a Comprehensive River Management Plan developed in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act for a river designated by Congress?

A: Yes, a Comprehensive River Management Plan (CRMP) is developed in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The purpose and need for the proposed action is to protect and enha ... More...

Keywords: planning, management, plan, comprehensive

Q: Is there a requirement for periodic updates to a Comprehensive River Management Plan for a river designated by Congress?

A: No, there is no statutory requirement that a Comprehensive River Management Plan be revisited in a specified timeframe. However, the federal wild and scenic river-administrator should periodicall ... More...

Keywords: planning, management, plan, comprehensive

Q: How are the values of rivers designated by Congress protected prior to completion of the Comprehensive River Management Plan?

A: Prior to completion of the Comprehensive River Management Plan (CRMP), proposed projects and new decisions (e.g., issuance of a special-use permit) on federal lands are evaluated by the wild and ... More...

Keywords: planning, management, plan, comprehensive

Q: How are landowners, river users, tribal nations, and all levels of government involved in development of a Comprehensive River Management Plan for a river designated by Congress?

A: The communities of interest are key players in the development of a Comprehensive River Management Plan (CRMP). They help with data collection and establishing baseline conditions, identifying is ... More...

Keywords: planning, management, plan, comprehensive

Q: How is a Comprehensive River Management Plan developed for a river designated by Congress with adjoining segments administered by two or more federal managers?

A: Ideally, one coordinated Comprehensive River Management Plan is developed with each wild and scenic river-administering agency documenting its respective decisions. In a few cases, separate plans ... More...

Keywords: planning, management, plan, comprehensive

Q: Is a Comprehensive River Management Plan ever developed during the study?

A: Yes. In some river study authorizations Congress has required the study agency to work with state and local governments and the public to develop a Comprehensive River Management Plan in concert ... More...

Keywords: planning, management, plan, comprehensive, study

Q: What is the relationship of wild and scenic river designation to local land use planning programs?

A: Local government entities are encouraged by federal management agencies to provide for the protection of wild and scenic river values in their land use plans, including the use of zoning and othe ... More...

Keywords: planning, management, zoning

Q: What resource protection tools are being used by the federal agencies in lieu of Secretarial zoning guidelines as directed in Section 6(c)?

A: Section 6(c) of the Act states, ". . . the appropriate Secretary shall issue guidelines, specifying standards for local zoning ordinances, which are consistent with the purposes of this Act. The ... More...

Keywords: planning, management, zoning

Q: How will the federal government monitor and evaluate activities on private land?

A: Wild and scenic river status does not provide federal authority to regulate private lands. The river-administering agency will cooperate with state and local agencies to appropriately monitor and ... More...

Keywords: property, monitor, landowner

Q: What is the role of citizens in protecting wild and scenic river values?

A: Citizen stewards are increasingly important in protecting wild and scenic river values, often through river-specific or regional stewardship organizations. Individually, or through nonprofit enti ... More...

Keywords: protect, enhance

Q: What is meant by the terms "protect" and "enhance" from Section 10(a) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act?

A: Section 10(a) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act directs that: "Each component of the national wild and scenic rivers system shall be administered in such manner as to protect and enhance the valu ... More...

Keywords: protect, enhance

Q: What is meant by the term "non-degradation" in the Interagency Guidelines?

A: The Interagency Guidelines interpret Section 10(a) of Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (the protect and enhance mandate) as "a non-degradation and enhancement policy for all designated river areas, reg ... More...

Keywords: protect, enhance

Q: Are other federal agencies responsible to protect values of rivers included in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System?

A: Yes. The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act directs other federal agencies to protect river values. It explicitly recognizes the regulatory roles of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Environm ... More...

Keywords: protect, enhance

Q: Does the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act affect tribal lands?

A: No. Where tribal lands are involved, sovereign tribes retain authority over the lands; however, the river-administering agencies seek opportunities to collaborate in protecting values of joint co ... More...

Keywords: protect, enhance, tribe, indian, reservation

Q: How many miles of river have been protected under the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System?

A: As of May 2011, some 203 river segments comprising 12,560 miles have been afforded protection in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. These nationally recognized rivers comprise some of th ... More...

Keywords: protection, miles

Q: What is the purpose of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and of designating rivers? How should these rivers be managed?

A: The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act provides a national policy and program to preserve and protect selected rivers, or segments of rivers, in their free-flowing condition in the National System. Secti ... More...

Keywords: purpose, management, designation

Q: Does wild and scenic river designation affect the public's right to float a river?

A: No. The public's right to float a particular river does not change with designation. Neither does designation give river users the right to use, occupy, or cross private property without permissi ... More...

Keywords: recreation, access, boating

Q: Will camping be allowed to continue in wild and scenic river corridors? Might it also be restricted and, if so, how would such restrictions be enforced?

A: Camping is often important to the enjoyment of wild and scenic rivers. As appropriate, and when private interests do not provide sufficient facilities, the federal managing agency attempts to pro ... More...

Keywords: recreation, access, camping

Q: Will facilities, such as campsites, restrooms, or access ramps, be provided by federal or state agencies?

A: These facilities will be provided if they are consistent with the management plan for each river and if funds are available. ... More...

Keywords: recreation, access, camping, facilities

Q: Will the public still have access to federal lands within wild and scenic river areas for hunting and fishing?

A: Yes. Fishing and hunting are regulated under state laws. Where hunting and fishing were allowed prior to designation, they may continue. The river-administering Secretary may, however, designate ... More...

Keywords: recreation, access, hunting, fishing

Q: Does wild and scenic river designation lead to increased river use and the need for a permit system?

A: There are no known studies comparing river use levels before and after wild and scenic river designation with changes in use levels of similar non-wild and scenic rivers. Factors other than wild ... More...

Keywords: recreation, access, permit, boating

Q: Will wild and scenic river designation lead to restrictions on recreational use of rivers?

A: No, not unless necessary to protect public safety, the river's water quality, or other resource values. Recreational use of our nation's rivers is increasing in both magnitude and extent, i.e., t ... More...

Keywords: regulation, recreation, restrictions

Q: How is it determined which uses or activities are "grandfathered" on federal lands and which are not?

A: Most current uses and activities on rivers and adjoining federal lands may continue. Of primary consideration in any river or land-use limitation is the protection and enhancement of the free-fl ... More...

Keywords: regulation, restrictions, impact, impacts

Q: Are there any restrictions on overflights above wild and scenic rivers?

A: No. There are no special provisions limiting overflights of components of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Certain designated wild and scenic rivers are located by coincidence within r ... More...

Keywords: restriction, motor, access, airplane

Q: Are motorized vehicles allowed within designated wild and scenic river corridors?

A: Yes. Motorized access allowed prior to designation will, generally, be allowed post designation, subject to congressional intent and river management objectives. However, if motorized use adverse ... More...

Keywords: restriction, motor, access, vehicle, atv, jet ski

Q: Is the use of jet skis, hovercraft, and other types of motorcraft allowed on wild and scenic rivers?

A: Yes, if they are consistent with management objectives for the river and do not degrade water quality or the outstandingly remarkable values for which the river was designated. ... More...

Keywords: restriction, motor, access, vehicle, atv, jet ski

Q: How does wild and scenic river designation affect livestock grazing practices on federal lands inside the corridor?

A: Generally, existing livestock grazing practices and related structures are not affected by designation. The Interagency Guidelines state that agricultural practices should be similar in nature an ... More...

Keywords: restriction, regulation, grazing, agriculture

Q: Is livestock grazing that occurred on federal lands prior to wild and scenic river designation subject to evaluation during a comprehensive river management planning process?

A: Yes. River-administering agencies have an affirmative duty to evaluate pre-existing uses on federal lands to determine whether such uses are protecting the values for which the wild and scenic ri ... More...

Keywords: restriction, regulation, grazing, agriculture

Q: If livestock grazing on federal lands is found to degrade a wild and scenic river's water quality or outstandingly remarkable values, what steps must the river-administering agency take?

A: The river-administering agency must take the actions necessary to remedy adverse impacts and/or show measurable progress in addressing identified adverse effects. The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act g ... More...

Keywords: restriction, regulation, grazing, agriculture

Q: How does wild and scenic river designation affect mining operations on federal lands?

A: Federal lands within the boundaries of designated river areas (one-quarter mile -- one-half mile for rivers in Alaska located outside national parks -- from the bank on each side of the river) cl ... More...

Keywords: restriction, regulation, mining, mineral

Q: Are only designated river segments classified as "wild" automatically withdrawn under Section 9(a) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act?

A: Yes. To withdraw a scenic or recreational river segment, the managing agency must submit a separate public land order or notice of realty action. ... More...

Keywords: restriction, regulation, mining, mineral

Q: How does wild and scenic river study status affect mining and mineral leasing on federal lands?

A: Subject to valid existing rights, rivers authorized for study under Section 5(a) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act are withdrawn under the mining laws while in study status; this withdrawal cover ... More...

Keywords: restriction, regulation, mining, mineral

Q: What types of watercourses qualify for wild and scenic river designation?

A: Section 16(b) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act defines a river as "a flowing body of water or estuary, or a section, portion, or tributary thereof, including rivers, streams, creeks, runs, kills ... More...

Keywords: river, stream, creek, run, kill, rill, lake, brook, glacier

Q: Are there any salt water rivers?

A: Since rivers form either by rainfall (freshwater) or springs (almost all freshwater), a river that is entirely composed of saltwater is rare, at least as you're likely thinking of a river. And yo ... More...

Keywords: saltwater, Colorado River

Q: Does the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act allow for the introduction of aquatic or upland non-indigenous species?

A: The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act does not specifically mention aquatic or upland non-indigenous species. While non-indigenous species may be introduced (provided that doing so is not contrary to a ... More...

Keywords: species, wildlife, plant, fish, animal

Q: Must aquatic and upland non-indigenous species present in the river area be removed once the river is designated?

A: No. Non-indigenous species need not be removed unless they are degrading other important resource values. Practical considerations, such as the effort or expense of eradicating a non-indigenous s ... More...

Keywords: species, wildlife, plant, fish, animal

Q: Are there limitations or treatment methods for aquatic and upland non-indigenous species?

A: No. However, all treatments must protect river values. Treatment methods that also include in-channel activity (e.g. dredging) are subject to review under Section 7(a) as water resources project. ... More...

Keywords: species, wildlife, plant, fish, animal

Q: What is the role of a state in managing a river designated under Section 2(a)(ii) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act?

A: The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act states that rivers designated under Section 2(a)(ii) "shall be administered by the State or political subdivision thereof without expense to the United States other ... More...

Keywords: state, 2(a)(ii), management, government

Q: How can rivers associated with state wild and scenic river systems become part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System?

A: For state-designated rivers, a governor may submit an application to the Secretary of the Interior under Section 2(a)(ii) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. If found eligible, and if sufficient p ... More...

Keywords: state, designation

Q: What is the role of a state in managing congressionally designated wild and scenic rivers?

A: For rivers designated under Section 3(a) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, a state's responsibilities include: - Regulating and enforcing fishing and hunting regulations. - Adjudicating wa ... More...

Keywords: state, management, impact, government

Q: Which states do not have any wild and scenic rivers?

A: There are 11 -- Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia. ... More...

Keywords: state, states

Q: Which states have wild and scenic rivers?

A: There are 39 and Puerto Rico -- Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Mich ... More...

Keywords: state, states

Q: Which states have the most designated rivers?

A: Oregon has 57 rivers designated, followed by Alaska with 25, California with 23, Idaho with 22, Michigan with 16, and Arkansas with 8. ... More...

Keywords: state, states, mile, miles

Q: Which states have the most miles of river designated?

A: Alaska has 3,210 miles of rivers designated, followed by Oregon with1,838 miles, California with 1,714 miles, Idaho with 824, and Michigan with 625 miles. ... More...

Keywords: state, states, mile, miles

Q: What happens when a river authorized for study under Section 5(d)(1) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act is determined not suitable for designation?

A: A Section 5(d)(1) study river is protected to the extent of each study agency's authority and not by Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Each agency's policy is to protect eligible rivers and rivers dete ... More...

Keywords: study, 5(d)(1), protection, duration

Q: How are rivers designated?

A: There are two ways rivers are designated into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System: 1) By Act of Congress. This requires legislation to amend Section 3(a) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers A ... More...

Keywords: study, designation, eligibility

Q: How many potential wild and scenic rivers are there?

A: Through the various federal agencies' land management planning processes and initiatives by the public, a significant number of rivers have been identified for study as potential additions to the ... More...

Keywords: study, designation, Nationwide Rivers Inventory, NRI, eligibility

Q: What is the responsibility of the federal study agency for a river identified for study under Section 5(d)(1) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and found ineligible?

A: Once such a river segment has been found to be ineligible, the agency will manage the river and its corridor based on the underlying management direction in its programmatic plan and need no long ... More...

Keywords: study, eligibility, eligible

Q: Do joint studies occur?

A: Agency officials are required to coordinate when their responsibilities relevant to wild and scenic rivers overlap. Officials should determine the level of study to be conducted, who will lead th ... More...

Keywords: study, management

Q: Under what circumstances should federal river-administering agencies consult with each other about suitable rivers?

A: Circumstances where agencies should always seek information and advice from each other are: 1) In agency inventory and planning processes, and environmental analysis processes for aquatic ecos ... More...

Keywords: study, management

Q: What prompts various agencies to conduct wild and scenic river studies?

A: Under Section 5(a), Congress directs that a study be conducted on identified river segments (usually within three years). The designated federal agency conducts a study and subsequently reports i ... More...

Keywords: study, management

Q: What protections are afforded a river authorized for study under Section 5(a) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and for how long?

A: A river authorized for study under Section 5(a) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act is subject to the conditions and restrictions specified in Sections 7(b), 8(b), 9(b) and 12(a) of the Act. The ... More...

Keywords: study, protection, duration

Q: Is citizen involvement in the wild and scenic river study process encouraged?

A: Yes. Under Section 5(a) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the public is involved in the study of rivers authorized by Congress. The report associated with a congressionally authorized study addr ... More...

Keywords: study, public

Q: What triggers a wild and scenic river study report?

A: Wild and scenic river study reports are prepared in three instances: 1) When Congress authorizes a study pursuant to Section 5(a) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. 2) For eligible rivers t ... More...

Keywords: study, report

Q: What are the contents of a wild and scenic river study report?

A: Section 4(a) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and the Interagency Guidelines describe and discuss content requirements, specific topics to be addressed, and the way in which information should b ... More...

Keywords: study, report

Q: What is the process used by the managing agency to transmit proposed wild and scenic river legislation?

A: For 5(a) studies, the study report, planning document and combined National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis are submitted to the agency head for review and subsequent transmittal to Cong ... More...

Keywords: study, report

Q: What is the timing for forwarding a wild and scenic river study report authorized under Section 5 of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to Congress?

A: The study report for a congressionally authorized Section 5(a) study river is required to be forwarded by the study agency within the period specified in Section 5(b). This study report must be f ... More...

Keywords: study, report, Congress, timing

Q: What happens when a river authorized for study under Section 5(a) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act is determined not suitable for designation?

A: Regardless of the study agency's eligibility and suitability findings, a Section 5(a) study river is protected by the conditions and restrictions specified in Sections 7(b), 8(b), 9(b) and 12(a) ... More...

Keywords: study, suitable, suitability, protection, duration

Q: What is the suitability determination process for Section 5 rivers?

A: Once rivers have been evaluated and determined eligible for further study, agencies conduct an evaluation to determine if the rivers are "suitable" or "not suitable" for wild and scenic river des ... More...

Keywords: suitability, suitable, management

Q: When are suitability determinations or analyses conducted?

A: Upon congressional authorization for a study (Section 5(a)) or by federal agency initiative (Section 5(d)(1)). ... More...

Keywords: suitability, suitable, study

Q: What factors are considered in the suitability evaluation and determination process?

A: As provided in Sections 4(a) and 5(c) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the following factors should be considered and, as appropriate, documented as a basis for the suitability determination fo ... More...

Keywords: suitability, suitable, study

Q: What does the term "suitability" mean?

A: Suitability is an assessment of factors to provide the basis for determining whether to recommend a river for addition to the National System. Suitability is designed to answer these questions: ... More...

Keywords: suitability, suitable, study

Q: What is the responsibility of the federal study agency for a river identified for study under Section 5(d)(1) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and found eligible, pending a suitability determination?

A: Once such a river has been found eligible, the federal study agency should, to the extent it is authorized under various laws and subject to valid existing rights, ensure the river and the surrou ... More...

Keywords: suitable, suitability

Q: What is the responsibility of the federal study agency for a river authorized for study under Section 5(a) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and found eligible, pending a suitability determination?

A: Once such a river has been found eligible, the federal study agency should, to the extent it is authorized under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and subject to valid existing rights, ensure the ri ... More...

Keywords: suitable, suitability, eligible, eligibility

Q: Why should one support wild and scenic river designation?

A: Many individuals and communities support designation to help focus management efforts on protecting and enhancing river values. The intent of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act is to build partnershi ... More...

Keywords: support, public, designation

Q: Can tributary streams be included in a river designation?

A: Sometimes tributaries are specifically included by language in the enabling legislation. In other cases, portions of tributaries may be included when boundaries are drawn, subject to the limitati ... More...

Keywords: tributary, designation

Q: Can the federal government seek to control use on adjacent state lands if that use affects wild and scenic river values, or regulate the use and/or activities occurring on the surface waters of wild and scenic rivers?

A: Yes, the federal government may seek to control use on adjacent lands under very limited circumstances. The Constitution gives the federal government certain limited powers to control uses on sta ... More...

Keywords: use, access, landowner

Q: Have other federal agencies been delegated authority to regulate activities on wild and scenic rivers?

A: Yes. There are four other principal agencies with authority on rivers, including wild and scenic rivers, in the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency has authority to protect water q ... More...

Keywords: use, access, landowner

Q: What direction does the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act provide regarding water quality?

A: Congress declared its intent to protect the water quality of rivers added to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System in Section 1(b) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Congress further specifi ... More...

Keywords: water, quality, quantity

Q: What are the obligations of the river-administering agency with regard to water quality?

A: The river-administering agency is obligated to identify, monitor and report violations of water quality standards to the appropriate federal or state agency. In addition, the river-administering ... More...

Keywords: water, quality, quantity, appropriation

Q: What are some of the approaches that may be used by a river-administering agency to help protect or enhance water quality?

A: River-administering agencies use a variety of approaches to protect or enhance water quality including, but not limited to: developing a cooperative water quality plan with the Environmental Prot ... More...

Keywords: water, quality, quantity, appropriation

Q: What direction does the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act provide regarding water quantity?

A: Section 13(c) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act expressly reserves the quantity of water necessary to protect river values, including water quality and flow-dependent outstandingly remarkable val ... More...

Keywords: water, quality, quantity, appropriation

Q: What is the priority date for the federal reserved water right secured to meet the purposes of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act?

A: The priority date is the date the river was added to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. ... More...

Keywords: water, quality, quantity, appropriation

Q: Does the federal reserved water right affect existing water rights?

A: No. The designation does not supersede existing, valid water rights. ... More...

Keywords: water, quality, quantity, appropriation

Q: May the federal reserved water right affect future water rights?

A: Yes it may. Once water rights are adjudicated, the federal reserved water right may affect future water development projects, depending upon the impacts of the new proposal on the river's flow-de ... More...

Keywords: water, quality, quantity, appropriation

Q: Does the government generally assert its federal reserved water right for wild and scenic river purposes through a state forum?

A: Yes, a federal reserved water right is generally adjudicated in state court (e.g., basin-wide adjudication) in the western United States. It is less clear how federal reserved water rights are ad ... More...

Keywords: water, quality, quantity, appropriation

Q: How is the quantity of water necessary to protect wild and scenic river values determined?

A: A variety of methodologies are used to determine instream flows necessary to protect flow-dependent outstandingly remarkable values for a specific wild and scenic river. Methodologies can range f ... More...

Keywords: water, quality, quantity, appropriation

Q: Does classification (wild, scenic, or recreational) have any affect on a federal reserved water right?

A: No. The United States determines the quantity necessary to protect flow-dependent outstandingly remarkable values. ... More...

Keywords: water, quality, quantity, appropriation, classification

Q: May alternative protection strategies be used to protect the instream flows for a wild and scenic river?

A: Yes. Water may be secured through a variety of protection strategies, in the interim. Ultimately, the United States should secure a federal reserved water right in state court or the appropriate ... More...

Keywords: water, quality, quantity, appropriation, flow