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Wild & Scenic Rivers Resources

Wild and Scenic White Salmon, WA. Photo by Jack Henderson

How RMS supports Wild & Scenic River designation and protection

WSR Logo

The River Management Society is uniquely positioned to provide WSR managers with information about the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, including training opportunities. RMS staff have years of high-quality work experience with each of the four federal WSR-administering agencies and the Interagency WSRs Coordinating Council. Through our recently established River Training Center (RTC), RMS offers both online and in-person training developed and presented by subject matter experts with decades of experience in WSR study and management.

Read on to access previously recorded WSR webinars as well as learning about or scheduling training through the RTC for your organization. You will see links to Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Distance Learning Webinars. This is a 12-module course covering history, policies, management and monitoring of WSRs. You are required to register for the courses, but they are free and an incredible resource for managers.

Check out the RMS Video Training Channel for additional WSR resources and previous training opportunities.

WSR Happenings
  • (Article: August 28, 2020) RMS hosts Nolichucky River Gorge trip with Wild and Scenic River advocates, river managers 

Key WSR Management Opportunities:

Introduction to the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act
WSR Study Process
Evaluating Water Resources Projects under Section 7
Developing a Comprehensive River Management Plan
Management of WSRs

 


Introduction to the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act

(From Rivers.gov) The National Wild and Scenic Rivers System was created by Congress in 1968 (Public Law 90-542; 16 U.S.C. 1271 et seq.) to preserve certain rivers with outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values in a free-flowing condition for the enjoyment of present and future generations. The Act is notable for safeguarding the special character of these rivers, while also recognizing the potential for their appropriate use and development. It encourages river management that crosses political boundaries and promotes public participation in developing goals for river protection.

It is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States that certain selected rivers of the Nation which, with their immediate environments, possess outstandingly remarkable scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural or other similar values, shall be preserved in free-flowing condition, and that they and their immediate environments shall be protected for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Congress declares that the established national policy of dams and other construction at appropriate sections of the rivers of the United States needs to be complemented by a policy that would preserve other selected rivers or sections thereof in their free-flowing condition to protect the water quality of such rivers and to fulfill other vital national conservation purposes.
- Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, October 2, 1968

(From Rivers.gov) Rivers may be designated by Congress or, if certain requirements are met, the Secretary of the Interior. Each river is administered by either a federal or state agency. Designated segments need not include the entire river and may include tributaries. For federally administered rivers, the designated boundaries generally average one-quarter mile on either bank in the lower 48 states and one-half mile on rivers outside national parks in Alaska in order to protect river-related values.

Technical Information
Online Resources
In-person Training
  • Introduction to the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (RMS RTC) – An introduction to the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and system, including its genesis, history and key provisions, is typically presented as the beginning of each content-based course. Participants gain insight into the key figures, social, environmental and political influences that led to the passage of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Key protections, designation process and management requirements under the act are also reviewed with national and local river examples.   
    • 1-day Workshop (can customize for ½ day sessions)
    • Content is designed for agency staff, stakeholders, students and other interested groups.
    • For more information or to schedule a workshop please email [email protected].
  • RMS Video Training Channel

WSR Study Process

Technical Information
Online Resources
  • The WSR Study Process (RMS & IWSRCC Webinar) (72 minutes) with Jim MacCartney (River Manager, National Park Service Wild and Scenic Rivers Program), Cassie Thomas (Program Analyst, Wild and Scenic River Specialist, Park Planning & Special Studies Division and Alaska Coordinator, Hydropower Assistance Program)
  • BLM Distance Learning Webinars (This is a 12-module course covering history, policies, management and monitoring of WSRs. You are required to register (free) and log in to view for these courses.)
In-person Training
  • Conducting a WSR Study (RMS RTC ) – This course is designed for resource area administrators, resource planners and river advocates who are planning a river inventory analysis or working on a public review of river suitability for Wild and Scenic River designation. The course reviews legislative requirements and agency guidance for assessing river eligibility under the WSR Act including hands-on activities for compiling relevant information on free-flowing status, outstandingly remarkable values (ORVs) and water quality parameters. The course reviews procedural and real-world examples of agency and stakeholder review processes for WSR study of agency identified and congressionally authorized study rivers including public engagement, NEPA, reporting and documentation. Materials on management requirements and resource protection for WSR study rivers is also presented.

Evaluating Water Resources Projects under Section 7

Technical Information
Online Resources
In-person Training
  • Section 7 of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (RMS RTC) – This course provides transportation, regulatory and WSR administering agency officials with key concepts about proposed transportation and infrastructure projects proposed on WSRs. Participants will increase their understanding of Section 7 of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act; learn how Section 7 determinations are synchronized with other environmental reviews, such as the Clean Water Act and National Environmental Policy Act; and increase their knowledge about delivery of Section 7 compliant projects. The course content covers activities exempt from Section 7 review; consultation and coordination among transportation, regulatory and river-administering agency officials; and designing or modifying projects to comply with the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The knowledge acquired will help participants ensure transportation and infrastructure projects are completed in a timely manner without significant additional costs and achieve greater protection of Wild and Scenic River values.
  • WSR Workshop

Developing a Comprehensive River Management Plan (CRMP)

Technical Information
Online Resources
In-person Training
  • Developing a Comprehensive River Management Plan (RMS RTC) – Designed to assist a WSR-administering agency and its partners in developing a framework and plan for preparing or revising a comprehensive river management plan (CRMP) for a congressionally designated Wild and Scenic River. Instructors work with planning team to customize course materials on WSR management objectives, boundary assessment, stakeholder engagement, threats and best practices to protect outstandingly remarkable values (ORVs), recreation management and other content specific to the river. Course typically includes a field visit to the project river to experience and better understand key issues to be addressed in the plan.

Management of WSRs

Technical Information
Online Resources
In-person Training
  • Managing a Wild and Scenic River (RMS RTC) – Designed for resource managers, management partners and river advocates, this two-day workshop introduces participants to the protection requirements and approaches to managing wild and scenic rivers. Course reviews the history of the Act, core principles, management planning requirements, watershed planning, user capacities, water-resource project assessment and fire management considerations. Basic overview of Comprehensive River Management Planning process, WSR boundary establishment, Section 7 review procedures for water resource projects and river eligibility and suitability analysis procedures are introduced.
    • 2-day Workshop (available on-site or virtually)
    • Course is suitable for new WSR managers, planners and others responsible for or partnering in the management of Federally designated wild and scenic rivers or considering designation.
    • See a sample agenda from a past training.
    • For more information or to schedule a workshop please email [email protected]