There are several mechanisms for protecting rivers as Wild and Scenic. Active designation campaigns strive to expand the Wild and Scenic River System by adding protection for new rivers or new stretches and tributaries of already-protected rivers. Since designation often takes years, if not decades, identifying unprotected rivers and launching new designation campaigns is critical for continued expansion of the system.
Rivers can also be given interim Wild and Scenic protection through land management planning processes, during which rivers are identified as eligible for protection and enjoy protection throughout the life of the plan or until they are formally designated.
And finally, just because a river has been designated as Wild and Scenic doesn’t mean it doesn’t face threats. Today more than ever, river management agency budgets are being cut, river management positions are being eliminated, duties have become largely collateral, and capacity is limited for everything from completing River Management Plans to managing volunteers to conducting water quality monitoring. Influencing appropriations–the process by which government funding for river management is allocated–ensures that river management agencies have the staff and training they need to adequately manage rivers and protect the values for which they were originally designated.