May alternative protection strategies be used to protect the instream flows for a wild and scenic river?

Yes. Water may be secured through a variety of protection strategies, in the interim. Ultimately, the United States should secure a federal reserved water right in state court or the appropriate forum. Interim measures may include, but are not limited to: state instream flow programs, reservoir operation schedules, endangered species flow recommendations, conservation techniques, cooperative agreements, and water right purchases from willing sellers.


Water law is a complex legal area, and water rights are a highly contentious issue. Whenever a water allocation issue arises, a river manager should consult with staff with water rights expertise and, as necessary, seek legal counsel.

Interagency Wild & Scenic Rivers Council