What is the process used by the managing agency to transmit proposed wild and scenic river legislation?

For 5(a) studies, the study report, planning document and combined National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis are submitted to the agency head for review and subsequent transmittal to Congress, which decides the final disposition of the river.

For 5(d)(1) studies, the study report and combined NEPA analysis (if conducted as a separate study), or study report prepared from the underlying land management plan, are submitted through the study agency and its respective department for review. The final study report is transmitted by the appropriate Secretary to Congress, which decides the final disposition of the river.

Rivers nominated under Section 2(a)(ii) of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act do not require legislation (i.e., action by Congress) to be designated. Final decisions on designation like solely with the Secretary of the Interior, although special provisions for the review of proposed designations by other federal agencies are included in Section 4(d) of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, and the Secretary of the Interior must give any comments or recommendations “due weight.”

The transmittal process for 5(a) and 5(d)(1) studies varies by agency but generally involved the following steps:

  1. The field office prepares and forwards to the respective headquarters office sufficient copies of a proposed legislative package consisting of a study report and combined NEPA analysis, including: a) summary information on the land management planning process (if it is a Section 5(d)(1) study), issues and specific provisions; b) draft transmittal letters (recommendations for legislation); and c) public comments.

  2. Internal departmental review is conducted. Specific requirements are outlined in Sections 4(a), 4(b) and 4(d) for a Section 5(a) study.

  3. The legislative package is transmitted to a Departmental Legislative Affairs Office, which in turn forwards the package to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review.

  4. Final changes (as necessary) are made by the agency, and the package is returned to the Departmental Legislative Affairs Office for transmittal to the President, both Houses of Congress and respective members of Congress.
Interagency Wild & Scenic Rivers Council