Egg Harbor, NJ
Delaware River, NJ/PA
Musconetcong River, NJ
Assabet & Concord Rivers, MA
Taunton River, MA
Clay Creek, DE/PA
Westfield River, MA
More on Wild & Scenic
Wild & Scenic Rivers
A study river is a river or stretch
of river that is
being evaluated for potential designation in the
National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Such designations are based
on "Outstandingly Remarkable Values," or ORVs, such as
scenic beauty, biological diversity, geologic formations, and recreational
opportunities. For a list of Congressionally authorized Study Rivers
go to rivers.gov/study.html.
The Lower Farmington (MA) and Missisquoi(VT) offer current examples of the study process.
The Study Process
The study process typically takes around three
years from start to finish. National Park Service (NPS) staff work
closely with representatives of state and local governments, river
conservation groups, and other concerned constituencies to form
an advisory committee. This team guides the study process, determining
whether the river meets the criteria for designation, and develops
a conservation plan to protect the river's free-flowing character
and significant resources. Such plans often rely on state and local
land use requirements and nonfederal land acquisition to achieve
NPS summaries the results of their research
in a report that serves as the basis for a designation recommendation.
If the rivers it found to be eligible and suitable - and there is
sufficient support for designation among river communities - the
study teams join with local members of Congress to draft legislation
that would ultimately lead to the river's designation in the National
Wild and Scenic Rivers System. For rivers in the Northeast that
run through private lands, such legislation often includes special
provisions limiting direct federal land acquisition and creating
a permanent partnership between all levels of government, river
advocacy groups, and other interests to address long-term management
of the river.
Benefits of Wild and Scenic River Studies
The benefits of Wild and Scenic River Studies
are numerous, even if eventual Wild and Scenic designation does
not occur. First, because the study process provides sustained staff
support and a modest budget for conservation work, new information
about the rivers' important resources are collected and made available
for local use. The study also helps unite communities and state
governments as they tackle regional water quality, flow protection,
recreation management, and land conservation issues. Finally, whether
or not the river is designated, the conservation plan prepared during
the study period can help guide decisions by agencies, municipal
governments, conservation organizations, and landowners as they
work to protect a valued community resource.
Which Rivers Qualify?
The NPS maintains a listing of potential "candidates"
for Wild and Scenic designation through the Nationwide Rivers Inventory
(NRI), on the web at: www.nps.gov/rtca/nri/.
A river or river segment's listing on the NRI is an indicator that
a study is deemed appropriate. However, the NRI is incomplete, and
many sites not on the NRI may also be considered as candidates for
study. Rivers can be small or large, and need not be important for
recreational use. Ecological, historical, geological and other values
make a river an appropriate study candidate.