Wild and Scenic River Evaluation Process

Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests planning team is currently in the process of evaluating rivers for potential inclusion as a Wild and Scenic River under the Wild and Scenic River Act. The 2012 Planning Rule requires National Forests to include this evaluation during Forest Plan Revision. Planning directives in Forest Service Handbook (FSH) 1909.12 Chapter 80 require National Forests to undertake a comprehensive review of all Forest rivers and streams to determine potential eligibility.

The evaluation of potential Wild and Scenic Rivers includes: Determining eligibility, assigning potential classifications (wild, scenic or recreational) and determining suitability.

The Draft Wild and Scenic Rivers Suitability Report was released in July 2018 and reviews questions about what values may be protected through Wild and Scenic Rivers desigation and if such designation is the best way to protect those values. There are eight required criteria to consider, plus five optional criteria to consider in the suitability analysis.

Eligibility studies are completed with a finding that a given river segment is eligible or not; the forest may choose to undertake a study for suitability within Forest Plan Revision or may wait to complete suitability as a Forest Plan Amendment after Forest Plan Revision. Since only the U.S. Congress can designate Wild and Scenic Rivers, the forest will develop a preliminary administrative recommendation for eligible or suitable rivers as part of Forest Plan Revision.

To ensure transparency, the results of each step of the eligibility process must be documented and made available for public review and participation.  To view rivers considered eligible and to submit comments on specific river segments please click on the link below.

Wild and Scenic River Interactive Story Map


Wild and Scenic River Background Documents

2012 Planning Rule

Wild and Scenic Rivers Act

Wild and Scenic River Classification Criteria

FSH 1909.12 Chapter 80

Preliminary Wild and Scenic River Eligibility List

Wild and Scenic River Suitability Criteria

Recreation ORVs

Scenery ORVs

Wildlife ORVs

Geology ORVs

Fisheries ORVs

Cultural ORVs

Free-flowing River Determination


Wild and Scenic River Region of Comparison Maps

In order for a river segment to be considred eligible under the Wild and Scenic Rivers act it must be free flowing and possess one or more outstandingly remarkable value (ORV).  Categories of outstandingly remarkable values under the act include scenery, recreation, fish and wildlife habitat, geology, and historic, cultural, or other similar values.  These values are evaluated within a region of comparison and are identified as outstandingly remarkable if the value is significant on a regional or national scale.  Links to maps used to determine the region of comparison for resource categories are listed below. 



Cultural Resources






Key Contacts

Public and Government Relations Staff Officer
Zach Peterson
Office: 208-935-4239
Fax: 208-935-4275