Oftentimes, when a project occurs within the proximity of a Wild and Scenic River, there is a review process that accompanies the project. These resources outline the types of reviews that are conducted. Early communication and coordination between project proponents and the river-administering agency will minimize likelihood of project redesign, adverse Section 7 determinations, and permitting delays or denials.
Section 7 Project Reviews
Section 7 is a key provision of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act that directs federal agencies to protect the free-flowing condition, water quality, and outstandingly remarkable values of designated wild and scenic rivers and congressionally authorized study rivers. It requires evaluation of federally assisted water resources projects and determination of effects by the river-administering agencies. For this reason, a flowchart has been developed to guide practitioners in determining whether a proposed project is subject to Section 7. The flowchart identifies agency roles, references the appropriate evaluative standard in the Council's Section 7 technical report, and contains end notes that provide additional explanatory information. The flowchart does not cover hydropower project activities regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) under Part 1 of the Federal Power Act. For FERC hydropower project activities, please see the U.S. Department of Energy RAPID Toolkit.
The Wild & Scenic Rivers Act: Section 7 (PDF) This paper describes the standards and procedures used in evaluating the effects of proposed water resources projects and is found in the Technical Papers section.
Reviews On A Designated Wild & Scenic River
If your project is on a river that is already designated, you must consult with the managing agency listed on the individual river page.
General Compliance With The Act
If you need verification that your project is not on, or will not impact, a designated wild and scenic river, or a river on the Nationwide Rivers Inventory (NRI), please contact the appropriate National Park Service office (below). This type of review is frequently needed for projects involving HUD, FHA, 404 permits from the Army Corps of Engineers, etc. Generally, it will be a question or requirement that reads something like, “This project is not located on a wild and scenic river, or will not impact a wild and scenic river.” Occasionally, the requirement will specifically mention the NRI, as well.
- Sharon Kim, (907) 917-0212, email@example.com; Adrienne Lindholm, (907) 644-3531, firstname.lastname@example.org – Alaska
- Hector Santiago, (402) 661-1848, email@example.com – Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin
- Jamie Fosburgh, (617) 314-2810, firstname.lastname@example.org – Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia
- Becky Rinas, (720) 600-1092, email@example.com – Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Wyoming
- Susan Rosebrough, (206) 220-4124, firstname.lastname@example.org – California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Washington
- Jeff Duncan, (423) 987-6127, email@example.com – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee
Section 7 Project Library
In response to requests from river program managers and project proponents, Council members have selected examples of Section 7 determinations for common types of water resources projects. Each is an actual determination made by river-administering agency staff from across the country. In some cases, clarifying user notes are included in individual determinations. No single example is best; however, in reviewing the range of examples provided, the practitioner will gain an understanding of how to apply the procedures outlined in the technical report.
Please check back as more projects are added.
Bridge Construction or Replacement
- Big Darby Creek County Road 36 Bridge Replacement (NPS)
- Chattooga River Route 76 Bridge Replacement (USFS)
- Delaware River Pond Eddy Bridge Replacement (NPS)
- Eel River Confusion Hills Bridges (NPS)
- Gennessee River Portageville RR Bridge Replacement (NPS)
- Imnaha River Road Bridge Replacement (USFS)
- Kings River (South Fork) Cedar Grove Bridge Replacement (NPS)
- Klamath River Ash Creek Bridge Replacement (BLM)
- North Umpqua River Tioga Bridge Project (BLM)
- Shaker Mills Brook McNerney Road Bridge Replacement (NPS)
- Sturgeon River Bridge Replacement (USFS)
- Trout River Longley Covered Bridge Improvement (NPS)
- Wekiva River Parkway Bridge Replacement (NPS)
- Snake River Double Draw Landslide Highway Repair (USFS)
- Birch Creek Birch Creek Bridge Debris Removal (BLM)
- Fortymile River Fortymile Bridge Pier Maintenance (BLM)
- Fortymile River Mosquito Fork Bridge Maintenance (BLM)
Other Infrastructure Projects
- Allegheny River Boyle Boat Ramp & Dock (USFS)
- Allegheny River Forest School Outfall Pipe (USFS)
- Delta River Wayside Boat Launch (BLM)
- Donner und Blitzen River Grazing Area Fence Installation (BLM)
- Donner und Blitzen River Page Springs Weir Removal (BLM)
- Donner und Blitzen River Riddle Brothers Ranch Well Installation (BLM)
- Fossil Creek Fish Barrier Maintenance (USFS)
- Great Egg Harbor River Boat Dock
- Trinity River Lewiston Valley Water Supply Project (BLM)
- Tuolumne River Hetch Hechy Communication System Upgrade (NPS)
- Collawash & Clackamas Rivers Habitat Restoration (USFS)
- Merced River Ahwahnee Comprehensive Rehabilitation Project (NPS)
- Merced River Ferguson Slide Permanent Restoration (USFS)
- Missouri River Emergent Sandbar Habitat Restoration
- Sandy River Lower Sandy River Habitat Restoration (BLM)
- Trinity River Lewiston-Dark Gulch Rehabilitation Project (BLM)
- Big Piney Creek Bank Stabilization (USFS)
- Delta River Falls Creek Stabilization Project (BLM)
- Deschutes River Mills Bioengineering Project (BLM)
- Fortymile River Taylor Highway Repair & Stabilization (BLM)
- Forty Mile River Wade Creek Bank Stabilization (BLM)
- Little Miami River Bank Stabilization (NPS)
- Merced River El Portal Road Reconstruction (NPS)
- Imnaha River Garnett Bank Protection Project (USFS)
- Skagit River Route 20 Permanent Stabilization (USFS)
This Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) is intended to be a living document that provides clear and accurate answers to common questions—or misconceptions—about the Act and its effects on transportation or infrastructure projects. The FAQs will be amended as new questions arise or further clarification is needed. For a specific question to which an answer is not provided, contact the local river manager or appropriate river-administering agency.
Here is a compiled list of all of the state Department of Transportation websites, as well as many pages that will help in reviewing proposed transportation projects.
Nationwide Rivers Inventory (NRI) – The National Park Service has compiled and maintains the NRI, a register of river segments that qualify or potentially qualify as national wild, scenic or recreational river areas.
Federal Highway Administration Environmental Review Toolkit – The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Environmental Review Toolkit is a one-stop resource for up-to-date information, guidance, best practices and training on transportation and environmental policy. The site provides information on environmental regulation and legislation, including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act and the National Historic Preservation Act.
Summary of Environmental Legislation Affecting Transportation – The FHWA provides basic information on general environmental statutes affecting transportation and infrastructure projects.
NEPA and Project Development – The FHWA provides an overview of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) as applied to transportation and infrastructure projects.
Department of Transportation Act of 1966 Section 4(f) Policy Paper – Section 4(f) established a national policy for protecting publicly owned public parks, recreation areas, wildlife/waterfowl refuges, and historic sights of local, state, or national significance, from conversion to transportation uses.
Red Book: Synchronizing Environmental Reviews for Transportation and Other Infrastructure Projects – The Red Book discusses the requirements for many regulations and functions as a “how to” for synchronizing NEPA and other regulatory reviews in relation to transportation and infrastructure projects.
Section 404 of the Clean Water Act: Permitting Discharges of Dredge or Fill Material – Section 404 of the Clean Water Act regulates the discharge of dredged or fill material into navigable waters, including wetlands and tributaries, of the United States.
United States Coast Guard (USCG) Bridge Program – The USCG Bridge Program oversees the locations and plans of bridges and causeways constructed across navigable waters of the United States.
Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) Civil Works Mission – The Civil Works division of the USACE includes water resource development projects including flood risk management, navigation, recreation, infrastructure and environmental stewardship, and emergency response.
Alternative Construction Specifications
Transportation and infrastructure projects should incorporate appropriate geotextiles and construction materials to protect river values and water quality. Biodegradable, durable, natural materials, such as coir, jute, sisal and hemp are generally more compatible with natural river processes and ecology, reduce air and water pollution and are more aesthetically pleasing than conventional materials.
We are working on a list of alternative construction specifications that can make projects more compatible with the environment. Until then, research terms like ‘natural fiber geotextiles,’ ‘coir fiber soil wraps,’ ‘engineered logjams,’ ‘brush mattress,’ ‘jute fabric,’ or ‘hemp matting’ for more information.