What is the suitability determination process for Section 5 rivers?

Once rivers have been evaluated and determined eligible for further study, agencies conduct an evaluation to determine if the rivers are “suitable” or “not suitable” for wild and scenic river designation within their resource or land management planning processes (Section 5(d)(1)), or usually as a separate study for congressionally authorized studies (Section 5(a)). In each process, the benefits of protecting river values are weighed against other resource values, issues and alternatives.

Either process is typically accompanied by an environmental document, normally an environmental impact statement (EIS), which describes the outstandingly remarkable values and identifies significant issues, public concerns, tentative boundaries and classifications, alternatives and impacts, and appropriate protective management prescriptions and mitigation measures.

Interagency Wild & Scenic Rivers Council