What resource protection tools are being used by the federal agencies in lieu of Secretarial zoning guidelines as directed in Section 6(c)?

Section 6(c) of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act states:

. . . the appropriate Secretary shall issue guidelines, specifying standards for local zoning ordinances, which are consistent with the purposes of this Act. The standards specified in such guidelines shall have the object of (a) prohibiting new commercial or industrial uses other than commercial or industrial uses which are consistent with the purposes of this Act, and (b) the protection of the bank lands by means of acreage, frontage, and setback requirements on development.

The Wild & Scenic Rivers Act mandates protection of outstandingly remarkable values (including adjacent land-based resource values such as recreational access, scenery, wildlife habitat, historic sites, etc.), but does not set standards for such protection, and, except for Section 6(c), implies that land acquisition is the primary tool for protecting adjacent land-based resources. Land acquisition is, however, slow, expensive, controversial, and not always an appropriate tool for protecting river resources located on private lands.

There is no cookbook solution for protecting river values on private lands within wild and scenic river corridors. The amount of protection needed varies depending on the resource and topography. There is a wide variation in local zoning. Therefore, agency planners use a wide range of resource protection tools including:

  • Incentives offered through a variety of federal, state and local programs.

  • Technical and limited financial assistance as directed in Section 11(b)(1).

  • Focusing on desired outcomes as opposed to strict protection formulas in developing management plan recommendations.

  • Distinguishing between protection standards for the immediate riparian zone and the rest of the river’s watershed or viewshed.
Interagency Wild & Scenic Rivers Council