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Eightmile River, CT

Farmington River, CT

Great Egg Harbor, NJ

Lamprey River, NH

Lower Delaware River, NJ/PA

Maurice River, NJ

Musconetcong River, NJ

Sudbury, Assabet & Concord Rivers, MA

Taunton River, MA

White Clay Creek, DE/PA

Wekiva River, FL

Westfield River, MA

STUDY rivers

More on Wild & Scenic Rivers


Partnership 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 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 their goals.

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: 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.

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