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Wild and Scenic Rivers Suitability Study Overview

Wild and Scenic Rivers Suitability Study Overview

Federal agencies are required by law to consider during their planning rivers that may be eligible for incorporation into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Click here to learn more about the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. There are four steps to complete in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Study Process. They include:

  • Step 1: Determining eligibility – an objective inventory of river conditions. Is the river segment free-flowing and does it possess one or more outstandingly remarkable value?
  • Step 2: Determining classification – River segments are classified as wild, scenic, or recreational based on the level of development and access along the river corridor. Is the river Wild, Scenic, or Recreational?
  • Step 3: Determining suitability – The suitability step considers the questions, “Is the river worthy to pursue a Congressional designation. It Takes the following into account:
    • “Worthy additions” to the national system
    • Tradeoffs between development and protection
    • Status of land ownership
    • Potential uses of the land and related waters
    • Interest in designation or non-designation by federal, Tribal, state, local governments, public and others
    • Estimated costs for management and protection of Outstandingly Remarkable Values
    • Ability of agency to manage and/or protect the river
    • Historical or existing rights which could be affected
  • Step 4: Designating the river – Can happen by an Act of Congress or by the Secretary of the Interior, upon application of the governor of a state.
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