Squannacook River Rapids - NRWA Archives

Wild & Scenic River FAQs

Who can I speak to about Wild & Scenic Rivers and this proposed Study?
What is a Wild and Scenic River Study?
What would a Study for the Nashua, Nissitissit & Squannacook Rivers entail?
What would Wild and Scenic designation achieve?
Why is the Wild and Scenic River Study itself so valuable?
What is so special about these rivers?
What are the basic steps of the Study and designation process?
What do the Study and designation not do?
If designated, how will the river be managed?
What are the next steps?

Who can I speak to about Wild & Scenic Rivers and this proposed Study?

Answer:  For more information on Wild & Scenic Rivers and this proposed Study, please contact Al Futterman, NRWA Land Programs Director, at (978) 448-0299, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

What is a Wild and Scenic River Study?

Answer:  A Wild and Scenic River Study is a congressionally authorized Study to determine whether a particular river segment is eligible and suitable for designation as a nationally recognized Wild and Scenic River.  The Study is based on the 1968 Wild and Scenic Rivers Act passed by Congress to provide a mechanism to protect and restore the nation's best rivers for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. Presently, 160 rivers have been designated in 36 states, 14 of these are "Partnership" Rivers.

What would a Study for the Nashua, Nissitissit, and Squannacook Rivers entail?

Answer:  A Study would probably take 3 years to finish.  It would be conducted by a Study Committee of local stakeholders including the NRWA, municipal representatives, state and regional experts, and would be supported by staff and funding from the National Park Service.  The Study would focus on the natural, ecological, cultural, historic, scenic, and/or recreational assets of the river.  It could be used to develop a river management plan and locally determined vision of strategies to protect and restore the outstanding resources of the river.  

What would Wild and Scenic designation achieve?

Answer:  Designation would be granted if, and only if, the Study demonstrates both outstanding resources and a local commitment to protect them.  The Study results in a river stewardship plan which establishes a locally-based Stewardship Council to oversee its implementation.  The designation would add federal protection which could ensure any future federally-funded or permitted water resource project would not adversely impact the river.  It could help protect water quality and prohibit new federally licensed dams and harmful diversions.  Designation would qualify these river segments for annual federal funds. (The Study committee would determine where these go.)  Designation would not lead to establishment of a federal park nor any federal acquisition of additional land ownership.

Why is the Wild and Scenic River Study itself so valuable?

Answer:  The Study provides an opportunity for towns to work together for their shared resource at a regional-scale.  It is a vehicle for providing communities with the incentive, structure, expertise, and funding needed to identify the issues and goals and achieve such.  The process is entirely voluntary and locally determined. 

What is so special about these rivers?

Answer:  The river segments under consideration are special because they have:

  • Scenic natural and agricultural landscapes.
  • Recreation including boating, trout stocking, bass fishing tournaments & the Nashua River Rail Trail.
  • Ecological values including biodiversity & habitat.
  • Local industrial & cultural history (e.g.: mill ponds, etc)

What are the basic steps of the Study and designation process?

Answer:  These are the basic steps of the Study and designation process.

  • Prepare a Wild and Scenic Study Report.  Determine eligibility and suitability - is there enough local support to warrant becoming a wild and scenic river? 
  • During the period of the Study, prohibitions against federal permits and projects that might harm the river – e.g. new dams – are temporarily effective, giving the towns a three year "test run". 
  • Identify the issues and threats.
  • Gather community input and establish goals and objectives.
  • Evaluate all existing protection measures like state and local regulations and determine gaps. 
  • Town Meeting votes on whether to request designation or not.
  • If both eligible and suitable, a bill can be introduced into Congress for a Wild and Scenic River designation.

What do the Study and designation not do?  

Answer:  The following is a list of things the Study and designation do not do.

  • The Study and designation do not put land under federal control, require public access to private land, or force any changes in the local process of land-use decision-making.
  • The Study and designation do not create new federal permits or regulations.
  • The Study and designation do not change any existing land uses.
  • The Study and designation do not affect hunting and fishing laws and access to the rivers is not restricted.

If designated, how will the river be managed?

Answer:  The river will be managed in accordance with a mutually-agreed upon River Stewardship Plan and its recommended priorities implemented by a Stewardship Council.  Designated Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers receive annual appropriations from Congress to assist in implementing their plans (~$170,000). Wild and Scenic status often leverages additional funds.

What are the next steps?

Answer:  H.R. 5319, the Nashua River Wild & Scenic River Study Act, needs to be heard by the Natural Resource Committee in the House of Representatives. If voted out of Committee, it needs to be voted on by the full legislature.