Does Section 7 of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act apply to rivers congressionally authorized for study under Section 5(a) of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act?

Yes. Section 7(b) of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act provides the same protection to study rivers authorized by Congress, except that the qualifying word “unreasonably” does not appear before “diminish” for projects located above, below, or on a stream tributary to the study segment’s boundaries. The intent and effect is to provide greater protection for study rivers from proposed hydroelectric facilities or other federally assisted water resource projects during the time-limited study process. Identical protection from water resource projects also applies to rivers that were previously authorized for study by Congress under Section 5(a) and are later recommended to the Secretary of the Interior for designation under Section 2(a)(ii) of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act; this protection applies for one year from the date of recommendation.

Review of hydroelectric and federally water resources projects under Section 7 of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act is complex. Please refer to Wild & Scenic Rivers Act: Section 7 (2004), a technical report of the Interagency Wild and Scenic Rivers Coordinating Council for a detailed discussion.

Interagency Wild & Scenic Rivers Council