La Grande, Oregon
La Grande is a city in Union County, United States. Named "Brownsville," it was forced to change its name because that name was being used for a city in Linn County, its name comes from an early French settler, Charles Dause, who used the phrase "La Grande" to describe the area's beauty. The population was 13,082 at the 2010 census, it is the county seat of Union County. La Grande lies southeast of Pendleton; the Grande Ronde Valley had long been a waypoint along the Oregon Trail. The first permanent settler in the La Grande area was Benjamin Brown in 1861. Not long after, the Leasey family and about twenty others settled there; the settlement was named after Ben Brown as Brown's Fort, Brown's Town, or Brownsville. There was a Brownsville in Linn County, so when the post office was established in 1863, a more distinctive name was needed, it was decided to use "La Grande", a phrase used by a Frenchman, Charles Dause, to describe the area's scenic splendor. Before the post office was established, William Currey charged 50 cents a letter to carry the mail on horseback to and from the nearest post office, in Walla Walla, Washington.
La Grande was incorporated as a city in 1865, platted in 1868. La Grande grew during the late 1860s and early 1870s because of the region's many gold mines and the valley's agricultural capabilities; the early business establishments centered on C Avenue between present day Fourth Street and the hillside on the west end. In 1884, the railroad came to the flat east of "Old Town"; this helped the town to grow and gave rise to "New Town", centered on Adams Avenue and built parallel to the railroad tracks. By 1900, La Grande's population was 2992. La Grande's Eastern Oregon University known as Eastern Oregon State College, began in 1929 as Eastern Oregon Normal School, a teachers college. La Grande had a factory for processing sugar beets into raw sugar; the sugar beets came from the nearby Mormon town of Nibley and both were owned by the Oregon Sugar Company. R. Doerstling, the superintendent of the factory in 1899, reported seeing a Native American teepee built out of used cloth filters from the factory.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.61 square miles, of which, 4.58 square miles is land and 0.03 square miles is water. The town is a major hub in the Grande Ronde Valley. Mount Emily is a Grande Ronde Valley landmark towering over the city of La Grande to the north, it features prominently on logos of local organizations, is matched on the other side of the valley by a similar landmark, Mount Harris. La Grande has a climate that could either be described as a humid continental climate or a rare cold oceanic or mediterranean climate, with warm, dry summers and cold winters; as of the census of 2010, there were 13,082 people, 5,395 households, 3,073 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,856.3 inhabitants per square mile. There were 5,794 housing units at an average density of 1,265.1 per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 91.3% White, 0.8% African American, 1.4% Native American, 1.1% Asian, 1.5% Pacific Islander, 1.4% from other races, 2.5% from two or more races.
Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.6% of the population. There were 5,395 households of which 28.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.7% were married couples living together, 11.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.6% had a male householder with no wife present, 43.0% were non-families. 32.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.6% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.93. The median age in the city was 32.8 years. 22.4% of residents were under the age of 18. The gender makeup of the city was 48.1% male and 51.9% female. As of the census of 2000, there were 12,327 people, 5,124 households, 2,982 families residing in the city; the population density was 2,833.5 people per square mile. There were 5,483 housing units at an average density of 1,260.3 per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 92.92% White, 1.26% Asian, 0.90% Pacific Islander, 0.78% Native American, 0.68% African American, 1.40% from other races, 2.07% from two or more races.
Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.77% of the population. There were 5,124 households out of which 28.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.1% were married couples living together, 9.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 41.8% were non-families. 32.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.6% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.93. In the city, the population was spread out with 23.6% under the age of 18, 16.5% from 18 to 24, 23.9% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, 14.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.0 males. The median income for a household in the city was $31,576, the median income for a family was $40,508. Males had a median income of $32,746 versus $21,930 for females; the per capita income for the city was $16,550. About 8.3% of families and 15.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.0% of those under age 18 and 9.0% of those age 65 or over.
See Wikimedia Commons Photographs f
Eagle Cap Wilderness
Eagle Cap Wilderness is a wilderness area located in the Wallowa Mountains of northeastern Oregon, within the Wallowa–Whitman National Forest. The wilderness was established in 1940. In 1964, it was included in the National Wilderness Preservation System. A boundary revision in 1972 added 73,000 acres and the Wilderness Act of 1984 added 66,100 acres resulting in a current total of 361,446 acres, making Eagle Cap by far Oregon's largest wilderness area. Eagle Cap Wilderness is named after a peak in the Wallowa Mountains, which were once called the Eagle Mountains. At 9,572 feet Eagle Cap was incorrectly thought to be the highest peak in the range, hence the name; the Eagle Cap Wilderness is characterized by high alpine lakes and meadows, bare granite peaks and ridges, U-shaped glacial valleys. Thick timber is found in the lower valleys and scattered alpine timber on the upper slopes. Elevations in the wilderness range from 3,000 feet in lower valleys to 9,838 feet at the summit of Sacajawea Peak with 30 other summits exceeding 8,000 feet.
The wilderness is home to Legore Lake, the highest lake above sea level in Oregon at 8,950 feet, as well as 60 alpine lakes, more than 37 miles of streams. The Eagle Cap Wilderness and surrounding country in the Wallowa–Whitman National Forest was first occupied by the ancestors of the Nez Perce Indian tribe around 1400 AD, by the Cayuse, the Shoshone, Bannocks; the wilderness was used as hunting grounds for bighorn sheep and deer. It was the summer home to the Joseph Band of the Nez Perce tribe. 1860 marked the year. In 1930, the Eagle Cap was established as a primitive area and in 1940 earned wilderness designation. Eagle Cap Wilderness is home to a variety of wildlife, including black bears, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, mountain goats. In the summer white-tailed deer, mule deer, Rocky Mountain elk roam the wilderness. Smaller mammals that inhabit the area year-round include the pika, pine martens, badgers and marmots. Birds include peregrine falcons, bald eagles, golden eagles, ferruginous hawks, gray-crowned rosy finch.
Trout streams in the wilderness. The Oregon State record golden trout was caught by Douglas White; the lake where it was caught was not named. Moose have returned to the wilderness. There is possible evidence that grizzly wolverines are returning as well. Plant communities in the Eagle Cap Wilderness range from low elevation grasslands and ponderosa pine forest to alpine meadows. Engelmann spruce, mountain hemlock, sub-alpine fir, whitebark pine can be found in the higher elevations. Varieties of Indian paintbrush, sego lilies, larkspur, shooting star, bluebells are abundant in the meadows; the wilderness does contain some small groves of old growth forest. As Oregon's largest wilderness area, Eagle Cap offers many recreational activities, including hiking, horseback riding, fishing and wildlife watching. Winter brings backcountry snowshoeing opportunities. There are 47 trailheads and 534 miles of trails in Eagle Cap, accessible from Wallowa and Baker Counties, leading to all areas of the wilderness.
Four designated Wild and Scenic Rivers originate in Eagle Cap Wilderness—the Lostine, Eagle Creek and Imnaha. 16 miles of the Lostine from its headwaters in the wilderness to the Wallowa–Whitman National Forest boundary are designated Wild and Scenic. Established in 1988, 5 miles of the river are designated "wild" and 11 miles are designated "recreational." A small portion of the river is on private property. 27 miles of Eagle Creek from its output at Eagle Lake in the wilderness to the Wallowa–Whitman National Forest boundary at Skull Creek are designated Wild and Scenic. In 1988, 4 miles of the river were designated "wild," 6 miles are designated "scenic," and 17 miles are designated "recreational." 39 miles of the Minam River from its headwaters at the south end of Minam Lake to the wilderness boundary, one-half mile downstream from Cougar Creek, are designated Wild and Scenic. In 1988, all 39 miles were designated "wild." 77 miles of the Imnaha River from its headwaters are designated Scenic.
The designation comprises the main stem from the confluence of the North and South Forks of the Imnaha River to its mouth, the South Fork from its headwaters to the confluence with the main stem. In 1988, 15 miles were designated "wild," 4 miles were designated "scenic," and 58 miles were designated "recreational," though only a portion of the Wild and Scenic Imnaha is located within Eagle Cap Wilderness. List of Oregon Wildernesses List of U. S. Wilderness Areas List of old growth forests Eagle Cap Wilderness - Wallowa–Whitman National Forest Eagle Cap Wilderness - Wilderness.net EagleCapWilderness.com Eagle Cap Wilderness - JosephOregon.com
Wallowa County, Oregon
Wallowa County is a county in the U. S. state of Oregon. As of the 2010 census, the population was 7,008, its county seat is Enterprise. According to Oregon Geographic Names, the origins of the county's name are uncertain, with the most explanation being it is derived from the Nez Perce term for a structure of stakes used in fishing. An alternative explanation is that Wallowa is derived from a Nez Perce word for "winding water"; the journals of Lewis and Clark Expedition record the name of the Wallowa River as Wil-le-wah. Wallowa County is part of the eight-county definition of Eastern Oregon. In 1871, the first white settlers came to the area, crossing the mountains in search of livestock feed in the Wallowa Valley; the county was established on February 1887, from the eastern portion of Union County. Boundary changes occurred with Union County in 1890, 1900, 1915. In 1877, the younger Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce, incensed at the government's attempt to deprive his people of the Wallowa Valley, refused to relocate to the reservation in north central Idaho.
Several regiments of U. S. Army troops were dispatched to force him onto the reservation. After several battles and a march of two thousand miles towards sanctuary in Canada, Chief Joseph was forced to surrender in eastern Montana, forty miles from the border with Canada, he and some of the survivors from his band were detained in Oklahoma, were relocated to Colville Reservation in northeast Washington. Half of the survivors moved to the Nez Perce Reservation in Idaho. Chief Joseph last visited Wallowa County in 1902, died two years later. Wallowa County was the scene of the worst incident of violence against Chinese in Oregon, when in May 1887 a gang of rustlers massacred 10-34 Chinese gold miners in Hells Canyon. Of the seven rustlers and schoolboys believed to have been responsible, only three were brought to trial in Enterprise, where a jury found them not guilty on September 1, 1888. A proposal to commemorate this event on official maps as Chinese Massacre Cove was approved in 2005 and encompasses a five-acre site.
In 1896, the Joseph town bank was robbed and there was a shootout in the streets. The town has had re-enactments of that event. Wallowa County Courthouse was built in 1909–1910, using locally quarried Bowlby stone, a type of volcanic tuff, it is a Romanesque Revival-style building with Queen Anne architectural elements in some exterior features. The courthouse was listed on National Register of Historic Places in 2000. Today, it still houses Wallowa County government offices and faces west toward South River Street and is surrounded by Courthouse Square which encompasses one city block 1.3 acres. The square is landscaped with oak, maple, linden and flowering crab apple trees. There are roses planted on the north and south sides of the courthouse; the square has several veteran memorials along with a 20-by-24-foot wood-framed gazebo in the northeast corner of the square. United States Supreme Court Associate Justice William O. Douglas was one famous summer visitor to Wallowa County, building a vacation cabin on Lostine River Road in 1939.
In December 2003, a developer announced a proposal to buy a 62-acre property near Wallowa Lake, build 11 homes on it. This property is adjacent to the property, home to the grave of Old Chief Joseph, father of the younger Chief Joseph; this proposal drew opposition from a local group, as well as from the Nez Perce and Umatilla tribes. Prior offers by the National Park Service and the Trust for Public Land to buy the land were rejected; the County commissioners gave conditional approval for the developers to complete a final plat of the land on February 13, 2004, but the attorney for the Nez Perce said the tribe would appeal the decision to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals. As of 2016, the controversy was still active. Wallowa is the northeasternmost county of Oregon. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 3,152 square miles, of which 3,146 square miles is land and 5.5 square miles is water. Wallowa Lake and the Wallowa Mountains attract tourists to this region.
The lake is a natural glacial formation, held in on three sides by prominent moraines. The microclimate is somewhat different from the surrounding areas and provides a cool retreat during the summer. Other geographic features include: Grande Ronde River Joseph Canyon Hells Canyon Wallowa River Columbia County, Washington - northwest Garfield County, Washington - north Asotin County, Washington - northeast Nez Perce County, Idaho - northeast Idaho County, Idaho - east/Mountain Time Border Adams County, Idaho - southeast/Mountain Time Border Baker County Union County Umatilla County Nez Perce National Historical Park Umatilla National Forest Wallowa–Whitman National Forest Hells Canyon National Recreation Area As of the census of 2000, there were 7,226 people, 3,029 households, 2,083 families residing in the county; the population density was 2 people per square mile. There were 3,900 housing units at an average density of 1 per square mile; the racial makeup of the county was 96.50% White, 0.03% Black or African American, 0.71% Native American, 0.24% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.95% from other races, 1.54% from two or more races.
1.73% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 21.8% were of German, 15.7% American, 12.3% English and 11.8% Irish ancestry. There were 3,029 households out of which 28.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.70% were married couples living together, 6.90% had a female ho
A river mouth is the part of a river where the river debouches into another river, a lake, a reservoir, a sea, or an ocean. The water from a river can enter the receiving body in a variety of different ways; the motion of a river is influenced by the relative density of the river compared to the receiving water, the rotation of the earth, any ambient motion in the receiving water, such as tides or seiches. If the river water has a higher density than the surface of the receiving water, the river water will plunge below the surface; the river water will either form an underflow or an interflow within the lake. However, if the river water is lighter than the receiving water, as is the case when fresh river water flows into the sea, the river water will float along the surface of the receiving water as an overflow. Alongside these advective transports, inflowing water will diffuse. At the mouth of a river, the change in flow condition can cause the river to drop any sediment it is carrying; this sediment deposition can generate a variety of landforms, such as deltas, sand bars and tie channels.
Many places in the United Kingdom take their names from their positions at the mouths of rivers, such as Plymouth and Great Yarmouth. Confluence River delta Estuary Liman
The cougar commonly known by other names including catamount, mountain lion and puma, is a large felid of the subfamily Felinae native to the Americas. Its range, from the Canadian Yukon to the southern Andes of South America, is the widest of any large wild terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere. An adaptable, generalist species, the cougar is found in most American habitat types, it is the biggest cat in North America, the second-heaviest cat in the New World after the jaguar. Secretive and solitary by nature, the cougar is properly considered both nocturnal and crepuscular, although daytime sightings do occur; the cougar is more related to smaller felines, including the domestic cat, than to any species of subfamily Pantherinae, of which only the jaguar is native to the Americas. The cougar is an ambush predator. Primary food sources are ungulates deer, it hunts species as small as insects and rodents. This cat prefers habitats with dense underbrush and rocky areas for stalking, but can live in open areas.
The cougar survives at low population densities. Individual territory sizes depend on terrain and abundance of prey. While large, it is not always the apex predator in its range, yielding prey it has killed to lone jaguars, American black bears, grizzly bears, to groups of gray wolves, it is reclusive and avoids people. Fatal attacks on humans are rare, but have been increasing in North America as more people enter cougar territories. Intensive hunting following European colonization of the Americas and the ongoing human development of cougar habitat has caused populations to drop in most parts of its historical range. In particular, the North American cougar was extirpated in eastern North America in the beginning of the 20th century, except for the isolated Florida panther subpopulation. Transient males have been verified in Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan and Illinois, in at least one instance, observed as far east as coastal Connecticut. Reports of eastern cougars still surface, although it was declared extirpated in 2011.
P. concolor holds the Guinness record for the animal with the greatest number of names, with over 40 in English alone. With its vast range across the length of the Americas, P. concolor has dozens of names and various references in the mythology of the indigenous Americans and in contemporary culture. Scientists refer to it as "puma", as do the populations in 21 of the 23 countries in the Americas; the first English record of "puma" was in 1777, where it had come from the Spanish, who had in turn borrowed it from the Peruvian Quechua language in the 16th century, where it means "powerful". Although "puma" is the common name in Spanish or Portuguese-speaking countries, the cat has many local or regional names in the United States and Canada, of which cougar and mountain lion are popular, it was called gato monte by the early Spanish explorers of the Americas. "Mountain lion" was a term first used in writing in 1858 from the diary of George Andrew Jackson of Colorado. Other names include catamount, mountain screamer, painter.
Lexicographers regard painter as a upper-Southern US regional variant on panther."Cougar" is borrowed from the Portuguese çuçuarana, via French. A current form in Brazil is suçuarana. In the 17th century, German naturalist Georg Marcgrave named the cat the cuguacu ara. Marcgrave's rendering was reproduced in 1648 by his associate, Dutch naturalist Willem Piso. Cuguacu ara was adopted by English naturalist John Ray in 1693; the French naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon in 1774 converted the cuguacu ara to cuguar, modified to "cougar" in English. Cougars are the largest of the small cats, they are placed in the subfamily Felinae, although their physical characteristics are similar to those of the big cats in the subfamily Pantherinae. The family Felidae is believed to have originated in Asia about 11 million years ago. Taxonomic research on felids remains partial, much of what is known about their evolutionary history is based on mitochondrial DNA analysis, as cats are poorly represented in the fossil record, significant confidence intervals exist with suggested dates.
In the latest genomic study of the Felidae, the common ancestor of today's Leopardus, Puma and Felis lineages migrated across the Bering land bridge into the Americas 8.0 to 8.5 million years ago. The lineages subsequently diverged in that order. North American felids invaded South America 2–4 Mya as part of the Great American Interchange, following formation of the Isthmus of Panama. Linnaeus placed the cougar in the genus which includes the domestic cat; the cougar is now placed in Puma, is most related to the jaguarundi, as well as the modern cheetah of Africa and western Asia, but the relationship is unresolved. The cheetah lineage is suggested by some studies to have diverged from the Puma lineage in the Americas and migrated back to Asia and Africa, while other research suggests the cheetah diverged in the Old World itself. A high level of genetic similarity has been found among North American cougar populations, suggesting they are all recent descendants of a small ancestral group. Culver et al. propose the original North American population of P. concolor was extirpated during the Pleistocene extinctions some 10,000
United States Forest Service
The United States Forest Service is an agency of the U. S. Department of Agriculture that administers the nation's 154 national forests and 20 national grasslands, which encompass 193 million acres. Major divisions of the agency include the National Forest System and Private Forestry, Business Operations, the Research and Development branch. Managing 25% of federal lands, it is the only major national land agency, outside the U. S. Department of the Interior; the concept of the National Forests was born from Theodore Roosevelt’s conservation group and Crockett Club, due to concerns regarding Yellowstone National Park beginning as early as 1875. In 1876, Congress formed the office of Special Agent in the Department of Agriculture to assess the quality and conditions of forests in the United States. Franklin B. Hough was appointed the head of the office. In 1881, the office was expanded into the newly formed Division of Forestry; the Forest Reserve Act of 1891 authorized withdrawing land from the public domain as "forest reserves," managed by the Department of the Interior.
In 1901, the Division of Forestry was renamed the Bureau of Forestry. The Transfer Act of 1905 transferred the management of forest reserves from the General Land Office of the Interior Department to the Bureau of Forestry, henceforth known as the United States Forest Service. Gifford Pinchot was the first United States Chief Forester in the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. Significant federal legislation affecting the Forest Service includes the Weeks Act of 1911, the Multiple Use – Sustained Yield Act of 1960, P. L. 86-517. L. 88-577. L. 94-588. L. 91-190. L. 95-313. L. 95-307. In February 2009, the Government Accountability Office evaluated whether the Forest Service should be moved from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of the Interior, which includes the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, managing some 438,000,000 acres of public land; as of 2009, the Forest Service has a total budget authority of $5.5 billion, of which 42% is spent fighting fires.
The Forest Service employs 34,250 employees in 750 locations, including 10,050 firefighters, 737 law enforcement personnel, 500 scientists. The mission of the Forest Service is "To sustain the health and productivity of the Nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations." Its motto is "Caring for the land and serving people." As the lead federal agency in natural resource conservation, the US Forest Service provides leadership in the protection and use of the nation's forest and aquatic ecosystems. The agency's ecosystem approach to management integrates ecological and social factors to maintain and enhance the quality of the environment to meet current and future needs. Through implementation of land and resource management plans, the agency ensures sustainable ecosystems by restoring and maintaining species diversity and ecological productivity that helps provide recreation, timber, fish, wildlife and aesthetic values for current and future generations of people.
The everyday work of the Forest Service balances resource extraction, resource protection, providing recreation. The work includes managing 193,000,000 acres of national forest and grasslands, including 59,000,000 acres of roadless areas. Further, the Forest Service fought fires on 2,996,000 acres of land in 2007; the Forest Service organization includes ranger districts, national forests, research stations and research work units and the Northeastern Area Office for State and Private Forestry. Each level has responsibility for a variety of functions; the Chief of the Forest Service is a career federal employee. The Chief reports to the Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment in the U. S. Department of Agriculture, an appointee of the President confirmed by the Senate; the Chief's staff provides broad policy and direction for the agency, works with the Administration to develop a budget to submit to Congress, provides information to Congress on accomplishments, monitors activities of the agency.
There are five deputy chiefs for the following areas: National Forest System and Private Forestry and Development, Business Operations, Finance. The Forest Service Research and Development deputy area includes five research stations, the Forest Products Laboratory, the International Institute of Tropical Forestry, in Puerto Rico. Station directors, like regional foresters, report to the Chief. Research stations include Northern, Pacific Northwest, Pacific Southwest, Rocky Mountain, Southern. There are 92 research work units located at 67 sites throughout the United States. There are 80 Experimental Forests and Ranges that have been established progressively since 1908; the system provides places for long-term science and management studies in major vegetation types of the 195 million acres of public land administered by the Forest Service. Individual sites range from 47 to 22,500 ha in size. Operations of Experimental Forests and Ranges are directed by local research teams for the individual sites, by Research Stations for the regions in which they are located, at the level of the Forest Service.
Major themes in
National Wild and Scenic Rivers System
The National Wild and Scenic Rivers System was created by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968, enacted by the U. S. Congress to preserve certain rivers with outstanding natural and recreational values in a free-flowing condition for the enjoyment of present and future generations; the Act is notable for safeguarding the special character of these rivers, while recognizing the potential for their appropriate use and development. It encourages river management that crosses political boundaries and promotes public participation in developing goals for river protection; the Act, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in the height of the United States environmental era, states:"It is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States that certain selected rivers of the Nation which, with their immediate environments, possess outstandingly remarkable scenic, geologic and wildlife, cultural or other similar values, shall be preserved in free-flowing condition, that they and their immediate environments shall be protected for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.
The Congress declares that the established national policy of dams and other construction at appropriate sections of the rivers of the United States needs to be complemented by a policy that would preserve other selected rivers or sections thereof in their free-flowing condition to protect the water quality of such rivers and to fulfill other vital national conservation purposes." The Act established the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System to protect and enhance rivers found to be regionally and nationally significant. Rivers may be designated by Congress or, if certain requirements are met, the Secretary of the Interior; each designated river is administered by either a federal, state, or tribal agency, or as a partnership between any number of these government entities and local NGOs. Designated segments need not include the entire river and may include headwaters and tributaries. For federally administered rivers, the designated boundaries average one-quarter mile on either bank in the lower 48 states and one-half mile on rivers outside national parks in Alaska in order to protect river-related values.
As of August 2018, the National System protects over 12,700 miles of 209 rivers in 40 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. By comparison, more than 75,000 large dams across the country have modified at least 600,000 miles, or about 17%, of American rivers; the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act was an outgrowth of the recommendations of a Presidential commission, the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission. Among other things, the commission recommended that the nation protect wild rivers and scenic rivers from development that would change their free-flowing nature and values. At this time, the country was experiencing rapid degradation of its water resources due to municipal and industrial effluent being released into the nation's rivers. Many waterways and the fish in them were toxic. Populations of aquatic species were declining and people were being relocated from their communities due to rampant dam building. All across the country people were writing letters imploring the President and First lady to protect their beloved rivers.
The act was sponsored by Sen. Frank Church and signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on October 2, 1968. A river, or river section, may be designated by the U. S. Congress or the Secretary of the Interior. In 1968, as part of the original act, eight rivers were designated as National Wild and Scenic Rivers; as of November 2018, 209 rivers, totaling 12,754 miles of river in 40 states and Puerto Rico, have Wild and Scenic status. By comparison, more than 75,000 large dams across the country have modified at least 600,000 miles, or about 17%, of American rivers. Selected rivers in the United States are preserved for possessing Outstandingly Remarkable Values that fall into the 8 categories: Scenic, Geologic, Wildlife, Culture, or Other similar values; these values can be considered synonymous with ecosystem services, or those goods and services that nature provides and that benefit society. Rivers so designated are set out for protection and enhancement in perpetuity by preserving their free-flowing condition from dams and development that would otherwise diminish the quality of their remarkable values.
National Wild and Scenic designation vetoes the licensing of new dams on, or directly affecting the designated section of river. It provides strong protection against federally funded bank and channel alterations that adversely affect river values, protects riverfront public lands from new oil and mineral development, creates a federal reserved water right to protect flow-dependent values such as fish habitat. Designation as a Wild and Scenic River is not the same as a national park designation, does not confer the same protections as a Wilderness Area designation. Wild and Scenic designation protects the free-flowing nature of rivers in both federal and non-federal areas, something the Wilderness Act and other federal designations cannot do. Despite misplaced fears, WSR designation does not alter private property rights. Federally administered National Wild and Scenic Rivers are managed by one or more of the four principal land-managing agencies of the federal government. Of the 209 National Wild an