Navigating the American Heritage Rivers: Wasting Resources onBureaucracy

Report Environment

Navigating the American Heritage Rivers: Wasting Resources onBureaucracy

November 4, 1998 Over an hour read Download Report
Alexander Annett
Visiting Fellow

Even if Clinton's American Heritage Rivers Initiative (AHRI) is not a federal land grab or a brazen attempt to exercise federal control over local land use and zoning decisions, it is nonetheless unconstitutional. Only Congress may adopt such programs. Until Congress enacts the AHRI, Clinton has no authority to act.

-- William Perry Pendley,
Mountain States Legal Foundation2

Even as many Americans continue to press Congress to downsize the federal government and return more control to the states, President Bill Clinton has initiated a program that will impose costly new federal involvement on the local zoning and planning process. During a ceremony at the New River in North Carolina in July, the President designated 14 rivers as "American Heritage Rivers" for 1998, targeting them for federal oversight. He did so under authority he gave himself by signing Executive Order 13061, the American Heritage Rivers Initiative (AHRI), on September 11, 1997.3

The stated purpose of the President's initiative is to protect the resources of America's rivers, preserve their historic and cultural heritage, and spur economic growth in their surrounding communities.4 To do this, however, the AHRI creates a level of federal bureaucracy that not only is unnecessary, but also will divert millions of dollars in federal funds away from the rivers and river communities most in need of improvement. This new level of bureaucracy will only make it more difficult for state and local governments to decide for themselves how best to protect, improve, and enhance their rivers and surrounding areas.

Although the American Heritage Rivers Initiative is an appealing program, it also has several important flaws:

  • It violates a number of constitutional and statutory provisions by giving the executive branch powers that belong to Congress, such as authority over interstate commerce and the appropriation of money.5 It threatens the Fifth Amendment by giving the executive branch control and authority over private land surrounding the designated rivers and their associated resources, and the Tenth Amendment by pre-empting the land use and zoning powers of the states.6

  • It duplicates functions and goals of at least 100 federal programs currently available to assist states, localities, businesses, and concerned individuals in their efforts to improve their local waterways (see the Appendix).7 Many of these programs award similar grants.

  • Since scientific analysis is not mandated as the basis for designation, the AHRI allows the executive branch to target federal money to river communities in a way that could be interpreted more as political pork than environmental necessity.8

If the President wants to achieve the goals of the American Heritage Rivers Initiative, he should make every effort to streamline the existing federal programs to eliminate waste and duplication. Further, Members of Congress who have taken a stand against even bigger government should work to make sure that the states maintain control over their waterways and surrounding land areas.

Congress should ask the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) to evaluate the current programs to determine how much duplication exists and what is being spent already to achieve the goals the President outlined in his new initiative. And they should use their authority under the AHRI to request that rivers and river sections in their districts be excluded from future AHRI consideration.

Instead of allocating limited federal resources to an unnecessary new layer of bureaucracy, Congress should make sure that federal efforts to protect and enhance the nation's rivers are clearly documented and truly achieving their goals.


Rivers have played a vital role in U.S. history, and they continue to be important to American culture, health, economy, environment, and recreation. Over the latter half of this century, many states, cities, towns, and local communities that depend on the nation's rivers have taken considerable steps to ensure that water quality is monitored and enhanced, and that their rivers, as natural resources, are safeguarded for generations to come. As the Appendix illustrates, states and local governments and public organizations already have available to them many federal programs that can help them protect their river resources, rejuvenate their surrounding areas, and stimulate economic growth.

For example, among the current federal programs that offer assistance in flood prevention are the Wetland Reserve Program, Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Program, and Conservation Technical Assistance Program in the Department of Agriculture; the Flood Plain Management Program and Planning Assistance to the States Program in the Department of Defense; the Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program in the Department of the Interior; and the Capitalization Grants for State Revolving Fund Program in the Environmental Protection Agency. No fewer than 58 of the programs listed in the Appendix have improving water quality, water quantity, or management of water resources among their program goals (see Table 1).

Despite such expensive overlap, the AHRI creates another layer of bureaucracy that involves federal bureaucrats in local efforts to protect and improve at least ten designated rivers every year. The American Heritage Rivers Initiative Advisory Committee (AHRIAC)9 will be responsible for implementing the initiative, and the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality will choose AHRIAC's panel of "experts" who will review nominations and recommend rivers each year for AHRI designation.10

The President, however, has the final say as to which rivers will be designated, with no stipulated guidelines for making that decision. Such leeway inevitably raises the question of whether, without adequate safeguards, federal dollars might be targeted to communities in ways that could be criticized as based on politics rather than need.

Each of the 14 rivers designated by the President for 1998 (see sidebar, page 4) will be assigned a federal bureaucrat (a "river navigator") to "guide" local officials through the maze of federal programs. Federal agencies also will make their field staff available for implementation of the AHRI.11 In addition, river navigators and agency field staff will act as "liaison between the community and the appropriate federal programs."12

Thus, federal bureaucrats will be injected into local decision-making on the cleanup or development and enhancement of these rivers and their local communities. Such federal involvement in the local planning and zoning process means that states, communities, and private landowners will no longer be able to make decisions that constitutionally have been their own for over two centuries.

President Clinton's 1998
American Heritage Rivers

Blackstone and Woonasquatucket Rivers (Massachusetts, Rhode Island)

Connecticut River (Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts)

Cuyahoga River (Ohio)

Detroit River (Michigan)

Hanalei River (Hawaii)

Hudson River (New York)

New River (North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia)

Lackawanna River (Pennsylvania)

Upper Mississippi River (Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin)

Lower Mississippi River (Louisiana, Tennessee)

Rio Grande River (Texas)

Potomac River (Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia)

St. Johns River (Florida)

Willamette River (Oregon)

Source: Environmental Protection Agency Web site, at

American Rivers' 1998 "Ten Most Endangered Rivers"
(by state, in order of severity)

1. Columbia River, Hanford Reach (Washington)

2. Missouri River (Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri)

3. Pocomoke River (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia)

4. Kern River (California)

5. Blackfoot River (Minnesota)

6. Colorado River Delta (Mexico: Baja California, Sonora)

7. Chattahoochee River (Georgia, Alabama, Florida)

8. Lower Snake River (Washington)

9. Apple River (Wisconsin, Illinois)

10. Pinto Creek (Arizona)

Source: American Rivers, "America's 20 Most Endangered Rivers of 1998," available at

Although it is not clear where the funds will come from to pay the river navigators, the estimated cost of this layer of bureaucracy is high. The citizens' group Defenders of Property Rights, for example, points out that the AHRI calls for hiring a river navigator for each river at a cost of $100,000 each per year. With related expenses, this means it could cost the taxpayers around $5 million a year to implement the President's initiative.13

How in need of federal assistance are the rivers the President selected this year? An environmental interest group called American Rivers14 released a list of the ten "most endangered rivers" in 1998 (see sidebar, above). Interestingly, the list released by American Rivers varies considerably from the President's American Heritage Rivers list. Although parts of the Columbia and Missouri Rivers were removed from AHRI consideration by their representatives in Congress,15 not one of the eight other rivers on American Rivers' "most endangered" list appears on the President's list. Clearly, there is a need to rely on scientific analysis of need to determine which rivers should receive the AHRI designation by the President.


Some environmentalists argue that water quality in America's rivers is declining and that a new federal bureaucracy is needed to focus on this problem. But no one can say for certain that there is indeed a water quality crisis, since assessing water quality accurately has been difficult.

Needed: Reliable Water Quality Assessments

One major problem in determining the need for additional water quality programs is the lack of reliable scientific data on the overall quality of the nation's rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, estuaries, and shorelines. Estimates indicate that taxpayers and the private sector have spent over $500 billion on water pollution control since the enactment of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act in 1972.16 But there is no reliable national database of research on water quality with which to evaluate the impact of that sizable investment.17

To help assess progress on improving water quality, Congress requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to prepare a biennial report on water quality which analyzes information from the states. Examining the EPA's 1994 report on water quality, for instance, highlights some of the significant problems encountered in measuring and reporting on water quality:18

  1. The EPA surveyed only 17 percent (615,806 miles) of the nation's 3.5 million miles of rivers and streams; 42 percent (17.1 million acres) of its 40.8 million acres of lakes; 9 percent (5,208 miles) of its 58,421 miles of ocean shoreline waters; and 78 percent (26,847 acres) of its 34,388 acres of estuaries.19

  2. Due to a lack of scientific consensus on the validity of any single indicator of water quality in rivers and streams, little national data exist to describe national water conditions. For example, there are few national data on toxic contaminants in streams, such as pesticides, industrial organic compounds, and toxic trace metals.

  3. State reports, as mandated by Section 305(b) of the Clean Water Act, that assess whether water bodies support designated uses contain methodological inconsistencies from state to state and from year to year within each state. These inconsistencies make it impossible to summarize either water quality conditions or national trends accurately.

Because such limited scientific information is available on water quality trends, it is difficult for the EPA or Congress to determine (1) the extent of a water quality problem and (2) whether states and local communities have taken adequate steps to address their problems before the federal government implements its programs.

What We Know About Water Quality

The most recent assessment of water quality in the United States was contained in the EPA's National Water Quality Inventory: 1994 Report to Congress. As the sidebar shows, the EPA found that the majority of the nation's waterways are of "good" quality.20 The percentage of water bodies that do not meet "good" and "fair" quality standards actually may be overestimated, since states have a bureaucratic incentive to assess waters where they most expect problems to be found.21

EPA's 1994
National Water Quality Inventory*

In 1994, of the 615,806 miles of river surveyed:

  • 64 percent were of "good" quality;
  • 22 percent were of fair quality; and
  • 15 percent were of poor quality.

Of the 17.1 million acres of lakes ponds and reservoirs surveyed:

  • 63 percent were of good quality;
  • 28 percent were of fair quality; and
  • 10 percent were of poor quality.

Of the Great Lakes miles surveyed:

  • 3 percent were of good quality;
  • 34 percent were of fair quality; and
  • 63 percent were of poor quality.

Of the estuaries surveyed:

  • 63 percent were of good quality;
  • 27 percent were of fair quality; and
  • 10 percent were of poor quality.

Of the Ocean Shoreline waters surveyed:

  • 93 percent were of good quality;
  • 5 percent were of fair quality; and
  • 2 percent were of poor quality.

*Note: "Good" denotes waters that currently meet designated use criteria. "Fair" denotes waters that occasionally fail to meet one or more of the designated uses at all times. "Poor" denotes waters that frequently fail one or more designated use criteria.

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, "Executive Summary," National Water Quality Inventory, 1994 Report to Congress, December 1995.

The Environmental Protection Agency also has noted that "it is likely that unassessed waters are not as polluted as assessed waters."22 Consider:

  • The percentage of the population served by secondary or better wastewater treatment plants increased substantially from 42 percent in 1970 to more than 62 percent in 1992, despite a 30 percent increase in volume of sewage flows.23

  • Industrial pollution has decreased over the past decade. Organic wastes have fallen by 46 percent, toxic organics by 99 percent, and toxic metals by 98 percent.24

  • Point source pollution has been reduced dramatically. More than 1 billion pounds of toxic pollution have been prevented from entering the nation's waters each year due to the wastewater standards put in place over the past generation.25

  • Measures of phosphorous, fecal coliform, and dissolved oxygen exceeding local standards in rivers and streams decreased between 1974 and 1994.26

Based on these facts, the argument that the President needs to establish another level of federal bureaucracy to protect and enhance America's rivers appears to be, at best, questionable.


Maintaining more than 100 federal programs in eight different Cabinet-level departments and agencies (see the Appendix) to protect rivers, rejuvenate the areas that surround them, and stimulate economic growth is extremely inefficient. Rather than allocate resources to another layer of duplicative bureaucracy, as President Clinton wants to do by creating river navigator positions, the Administration should streamline existing programs and eliminate duplication and overlap. Only programs that produce demonstrable results in enhancing water quality and promoting wise use of river resources should be continued. The fact that the Administration would rather "help" the states maneuver through the maze of federal programs than streamline those programs is yet another contradiction of its claim that it is making government smaller and more efficient.

More important, downsizing and restructuring the federal government is critical to maintaining the long-term health of the environment and the economy. The President should work with Congress to reduce the size of government by terminating obsolete, redundant, or dysfunctional programs; privatizing functions that could be performed more efficiently and cost-effectively by the private sector; and turning back to the states functions that are performed more appropriately at the local level.

If the Administration wants to achieve its goal of smaller, more efficient government, it should mandate that AHRI's Advisory Committee (AHRIAC) be responsible for reviewing the goals and outcomes of all existing programs to highlight which ones have records of positive results and which ones assist the states in their efforts most effectively. Eliminating duplication would make it easier for states, cities, local communities, and individual activists to find out what federal programs are available to help them meet their goals.

Examples of Duplication and Waste

As the Appendix shows,27 at least 100 federal programs fall under the AHRI umbrella to assist in state and local efforts to improve America's waterways by protecting rivers, enhancing natural resources, rejuvenating their surrounding areas, and stimulating economic growth. However, many of these programs duplicate each other's efforts and award similar grants. Table 2 demonstrates program duplication in four of the common function areas: economic development, soil erosion, water quality, and protecting and enhancing watersheds.

The examples that follow are taken from government reports, especially agency inspector general (IG) reports. They point out the level of waste and duplication in function and service area that exists at the federal level. If the President were to eliminate the wasteful or duplicative programs and streamline the rest, the funds appropriated for these programs could be used to advance water quality and economic development in the rivers and communities that most need them.

Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Under the requirements of the 1993 Government Performance and Results Act, the Department of Agriculture submitted its annual performance plan for fiscal year (FY) 1999 to Congress. According to the General Accounting Office, the plan provides only a limited picture of the agency's intended performance and its strategies and resources for achieving its stated goals.28 For example, the mission of the Forest Service includes protecting, improving, and restoring ecosystems and habitat for fish and wildlife species, and protecting threatened, endangered, and sensitive animal and plant species. Yet a 1996 audit by the USDA's inspector general found that:29

  • About $84,000 in fish and wildlife funds earmarked for the FY 1996 AmeriCorps program were not returned for fish and wildlife use when that program was canceled;

  • About $63,000 was charged to improper resource fund codes;

  • Land resource and management plans often lacked measurable program goals;

  • One project costing $1 million was funded without thorough planning; and

  • Vacancies in critical regional program leadership positions were not filled promptly.

As a result, projects designed to inventory and improve habitat for wildlife and fish--including threatened and endangered species--were not performed, and the effectiveness of land resource and management plans designed to protect and enhance wildlife and fish habitat continues to be questionable.30 The inspector general noted that the Forest Service had costs of $2,515,740 and $54,737,449 in funds that could be put to better use.31

For additional examples of program duplication in the Department of Agriculture, see Table 3 and the Appendix.

U.S. Department of Commerce.
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) strives to ensure the conservation and management of living marine resources through 29 laboratory facilities located in five regions. The FY 1998 report of the Commerce Department's Office of Inspector General identified several opportunities for the NMFS to streamline its field structure at a possible savings of approximately $25 million over five years.32 For example, NOAA's Coastal Zone Management (CZM) program and National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) are federal-state partnerships that help states fulfill their responsibilities in coastal zones and adjoining estuaries. Among the IG's concerns are (1) deficient NOAA coordination in aiding coastal management; (2) unworkable coastal non-point source pollution provisions; and (3) no measurement of the effectiveness of the CZM program.33

For additional examples of program duplication in the Department of Commerce, see Table 4 and the Appendix.

U.S. Department of the Interior.
The GAO's examination of the Department of the Interior's annual performance plan for FY 1999 found that the department's agency plans do not provide a concrete statement of expected performance or annual performance goals linked to missions, strategic goals, and program activities in the budget. 34 Most of the plans do not adequately identify crosscutting activities, strategies, and performance goals, or note whether they are coordinating their efforts with the other agencies in the department. For example, the department's inspector general found that:

  • Improvements are needed in the administration of Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) grants awarded under provisions of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act;35 the FWS Waterfowl and Wetlands Office, which has responsibility for grants administration, did not adequately review or obtain sufficient information to verify the propriety of costs that were charged to the grants; and in a review of 29 wetlands conservation grants, 12 had costs of $1 million that were improperly reimbursed or credited to partners as contributions to project costs resulting from inadequate administrative oversight.

  • In a review of 101 FWS program project files, some cooperative agreements lacked specific and/or standard provisions on the scope of the restoration work and/or the responsibilities of federal and non-federal program participants;36 guidance on cost-sharing arrangements was insufficient, documentation supporting project expenses was not adequate, and program costs and accomplishments were not tracked and accurately reported; and the FWS did not have sufficient controls to administer program activities effectively.

As Table 5 shows, agencies within the Department of the Interior had questionable costs and funds that could be put to better use for the period of April 1, 1997, through March 31, 1998.37

For additional examples of program duplication in the Department of the Interior, see Table 6 and the Appendix.


Several Members of Congress have questioned the need to fund the American Heritage Rivers Initiative; and many have noted the importance of returning to the states, cities, towns, and local communities the constitutional responsibility for making decisions that would rejuvenate their river communities. On June 10, 1997, for example, Representative Helen Chenoweth (R-ID) and 46 cosponsors introduced H.R. 1842 to terminate AHRI funding by any federal agency. The bill cleared the House Resources Committee by a voice vote on November 5, 1997.

Members of the House and Senate also can request that rivers or stretches of river in their districts be excluded from consideration. According to the Council on Environmental Quality:

A Member of the U.S. House of Representatives may request that a river nominated as an American Heritage River be excluded from designation. If the entire nominated portion of the river flows through the district of that Member, then the nomination will not be considered by the AHRIAC. If only a portion of the river flows through the Member's district, then that portion of the river would not be included in any designation by the President....38

Senators from a state may request that a nomination as an American Heritage River not be considered for selection. A request made by both Senators will be dispositive of the application. If an entire nominated portion of the river flows through the state of the Senators, then the advisory committee will not consider the nomination. If only a portion of the river flows through the Senator's state, then that portion of the river would not be included in any designation by the President. If a single Senator opposes a nomination and the other Senator and relevant House Member express no view, the nomination will not be considered by the advisory committee. When the view of a single Senator who opposes a nomination conflicts with the position of the other Senator from that state or a Member of Congress then the views of all members of the congressional delegation will be presented to the advisory committee.39

Members of Congress successfully eliminated nine rivers and 17 segments of rivers from consideration by the President for American Heritage River designation (see page 13).


Americans generally support Congress's efforts to downsize the federal government and return more control to the states. The American Heritage Rivers Initiative, however, runs counter to this goal. It creates an additional level of unnecessary federal bureaucracy, and little has been offered to show where the funding will come from to support the "navigators" for the rivers designated by the President each year. Some estimates predict that the AHRI will divert millions of federal dollars away from the rivers that are most in need of improvement and make it even more difficult for state and local governments to decide how to protect and enhance the quality of rivers in their jurisdiction and promote economic growth in their river communities.

A far better way for the President to protect the quality of America's rivers would be to eliminate waste and program duplication by streamlining the more than 100 federal programs that already address similar goals. Congress, too, should take a closer look at these programs and ask the GAO to determine how much is being spent by federal agencies on programs that not only are redundant or ineffective, but also duplicate what the President wants the AHRI to accomplish.

Finally, Members of Congress who want to take a stand against even bigger government should ensure that the states maintain their constitutional authority over their own waterways and surrounding land areas by requesting that rivers in their districts be excluded from consideration.

Alexander F. Annett is a former Research Assistant in The Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

Rivers and River Sections Eliminated
from AHRI Consideration by Members of Congress


  1. Clearwater River (Idaho, Montana); by Representative Helen Chenoweth (R-ID), Representative Rick Hill (R-MT), Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT), Senator Larry Craig (R-ID), and Senator Dirk Kempthorne (R-ID)

  2. Gunnison River (Colorado; by Representative Scott McInnis (R-CO) and Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO)

  3. Osage River (Missouri); by Representative Ike Skelton (D-MO)

  4. St. Mary's River (Michigan); by Representative Bart Stupak (D-MI)

  5. San Joaquin River (California); by Representative George Radanovich (R-CA)

  6. San Juan River (New Mexico); by Representative Bill Redmond (R-NM)

  7. San Luis Rey River (California); by Representative Randy Cunningham (R-CA) and Representative Ron Packard (R-CA)

  8. Snohomish River (Washington); by Representative Jack Metcalf (R-WA)

  9. Upper Rio Grande (New Mexico); by Representative Bill Redmond (R-NM), Representative Steven Schiff (R-NM), and Representative Joe Skeen (R-NM)


River Sections

  1. American River (California); by Representative John Doolittle (R-CA) and Representative Richard Pombo (R-CA)

  2. Arkansas River (Arkansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas); by Representative Marion Berry (D-AR), Representative Tom Coburn (R-OK), Representative Jay Dickey (R-AR), Representative Asa Hutchinson (R-AR), Representative Jerry Moran (R-KS), Representative Todd Tiahrt (R-KS), Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), Senator Tim Hutchinson (R-AR), and Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO)

  3. Cold Water Creek (Missouri); by Representative James Talent (R-MO)

  1. Columbia River (Oregon); by Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR)

  2. French Broad River (North Carolina); by Representative Charles Taylor (R-NC)

  3. James River (Virginia); by Representative Thomas Bliley, Jr. (R-VA)

  4. Jordan River (Utah); by Representative Christopher Cannon (R-UT)

  5. Mississippi River (Missouri); by Representative Pat Danner (D-MO) and Representative James Talent (R-MO)

  6. Missouri River (Montana, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota); by Representative Pat Danner (D-MO), Representative Rick Hill (R-MT), Representative Kenny Hulshof (R-MO), Representative James Talent (R-MO), Representative Ike Skelton (D-MO), Representative John Thune (R-SD), Representative Vincent Snowbarger (R-KS), Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT), and Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE)

  7. Ohio River (Indiana); by Representative John Hostettler (R-IN)

  8. Ouachita River (Louisiana, Arkansas); by Representative Jay Dickey (R-AR), Representative Asa Hutchinson (R-AR), and Senator Tim Hutchinson (R-AR)

  9. St. Johns River (Florida); by Representative David Weldon (R-FL) and Representative Clifford Stearns (R-FL)

  10. San Antonio River (Texas); by Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX)

  11. South Platte River (Colorado); by Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO)

  12. Santa Cruz River (Arizona); by Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ)

  13. Yellowstone River (Wyoming, Montana); by Representative Barbara Cubin (R-WY), Representative Rick Hill (R-MT), Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT), Senator Michael Enzi (R-WY), and Senator Craig Thomas (R-WY)

  14. Willamette River (Oregon); by Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR)


Source: Kathleen A. McGinty, Description of Administration Policy Regarding Congressional Opposition to Designation of American Heritage Rivers, Council on Environmental Quality, May 6, 1998.


More than 100 federal programs currently assist states, cities, local communities, businesses, and concerned individuals in their efforts to improve and protect the nation's waterways and surrounding areas. Many of these programs create collaborative relationships among federal, state, local, and tribal governments to address the same environmental and economic concerns that the American Heritage Rivers Initiative is supposed to address, again illustrating the overlap between agencies and programs.

This Appendix lists some of the federal programs that are available. The amount of overlap within and between Cabinet-level departments illustrates the need to make better use of taxpayer resources. The list was compiled from information on the American Heritage Rivers Initiative Web site at;   conversations and correspondence with agency staff regarding programs designated by the agencies as falling under the AHRI umbrella; and the White House Office of Management and Budget's 1997 Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance.40


National Wild and Scenic Rivers Program: Seeks to preserve rivers and their immediate environs that possess remarkable scenic, recreational, geological, fish and wildlife, historic, and cultural value41 by maintaining free-flowing conditions, protecting water quality, and fulfilling vital national conservation purposes.42 Congress has designated 154 rivers since 1968.43 Through land management planning process and public initiatives, a significant number of potential Wild and Scenic Rivers have been identified. For example, the Nationwide Rivers Inventory of the National Park Service has identified over 2,600 river segments as candidates.44 In late 1996, Congress designated 51.4 miles of the Clarion River (Pennsylvania, 11.5 miles of the Lamprey River (New Hampshire), and 6.4 miles of the Elkhorn Creek (Oregon).45 (202) 205-0925;

National Rural Development Partnership: A collaborative relationship among federal, state, local, and tribal governments and private, nonprofit, and community-based organizations to create a comprehensive strategy for rural development. Encourages innovative approaches; maintains a cooperative national framework to support state Rural Development Councils and the National Rural Development Partnership; and resolves intergovernmental or interagency impediments to effective rural development, such as red tape, jurisdictional conflicts, and language barriers. (202) 690-2394;


Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP): Through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), provides technical, educational, and financial assistance to farmers and ranchers in areas with significant natural resource problems. Areas generally are watersheds, regions, or areas having significant concerns over soil erosion, water quality and quantity, wildlife habitat, wetlands, forestland, and grazing land. Conservation districts convene local working groups from district board members and key staff members of the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service and other federal, state, and local agencies. Programs must reflect local needs and priorities, and include the Agricultural Conservation Program to control erosion and sedimentation, encourage voluntary compliance with federal and state requirements to solve point and non-point source pollution, and improve water quality; the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Program to reduce pollution from excessive salt loads due to agricultural operations; the Great Plains Conservation Program to conserve and utilize soil and water resources on farms and ranches with serious soil erosion from wind and water; and the Water Quality Incentives Projects to encourage farming practices that reduce water pollution caused by agricultural activities. (202) 720-1845;

Resource Conservation and Development Program: Through NRCS, brings residents, communities, various units of government, and grassroots organizations together to solve environmental, economic, and social problems. Goals include land conservation, improving economic and community development in rural areas, water management, and environmental enhancement. (202) 720-4527;

Soil and Water Conservation Program:46 Through the NRCS, provides technical assistance to the public to plan and apply natural resource conservation practices, and furnishes technical resource conservation information to state and local governments. (202) 720-4527.

Forestry Incentives Programs:47 Through NRCS, supports good forestry management practices on privately owned non-industrial forestland to benefit the environment while meeting future demands for wood products. (202) 205-1389.

Farmland Protection Program: Through NRCS, helps purchase development rights to keep productive farmland for agricultural use, including cropland, rangeland, pasture, or forest. (202) 720-2847;

Conservation of Private Grazing Land Initiative: Through NRCS, provides technical, educational, and other assistance to owners of grazing land. Emphasizes better grazing land management plans, protecting soil from erosive wind and water, using more energy-efficient ways to produce food and fiber, conserving water, providing wildlife, and sustaining forest and grazing plants. (202) 720-1873;

Wetland Reserve Program:48 Through NRCS, helps to restore and protect wetlands on private property. Encourages private landowners to improve water quality voluntarily, enhance wildlife habitat, reduce soil erosion, reduce flooding, and improve the water supply. Participants may sell a conservation easement or enter a cost-share restoration agreement to restore and protect wetlands. (202) 690-0848.

Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program:49 Through NRCS, works to improve wildlife habitat, primarily on private lands. Provides both technical assistance and cost sharing, for example, to improve habitat for wetland wildlife, threatened and endangered species, and fish. Participants may be owners, operators, or tenants of eligible lands. Cost sharing is available to reimburse practices beneficial to wildlife. (202) 720-1845.

National Conservation Buffer Initiative:50 A public-private effort of NRCS which utilizes grasses and trees to protect and enhance farm resources. (202) 720-4525.

Watershed Surveys and Planning Program:51 Through NRCS, provides federal, state, and local agencies with technical and financial assistance to plan and install watershed-based projects on private land in cooperation with local sponsoring organizations and state and other agencies. Can be broad river basin efforts and detailed watershed efforts that aid in flood prevention; water quality improvements; soil erosion reduction; rural, municipal, and industrial water supply; irrigation watershed protection; water management; sedimentation control; fish and wildlife habitat enhancement; and creating or restoring wetlands. (202) 720-4527.

Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention (Small Watershed Program): Through NRCS, addresses water resource problems in over 1,500 watersheds. Provides technical and financial assistance to sponsoring organizations, states, and other public agencies to plan and install watershed-based projects. Requires local and state funding contributions. Is designed to aid in preventing damage from erosion, floodwater, and sediment; improving water quality; increasing the efficiency of water management; managing water for nonagricultural purposes to improve the environment and quality of life; improving and restoring fish and wildlife habitat; developing recreational opportunities such as boating and fishing; furthering the conservation, development, utilization, and disposal of water; and conserving and properly using land. (202) 720-4527;

Conservation Technical Assistance Program: Assists "land-users, communities, units of state and local government, and other federal agencies in planning and implementing conservation systems"52 to reduce erosion, improve soil and water quality, conserve wetlands, enhance fish and wildlife habitat, improve air quality, improve pasture and range conditions, reduce upstream flooding, and improve woodlands. (202) 720-4265;

Rural Abandoned Mines Program: Through NRCS, attempts to prevent adverse impacts of past coal mining practices and promote development of soil and water resources of U.S.-reclaimed mined land. Cost-sharing funds are available for reclamation, conservation, and development of up to 320 acres of rural abandoned coal mine land per owner or lands and waters affected by coal mining activities. Practices include land stabilization, erosion and sediment control, soil and water quality improvement, woodland improvement, wildlife improvement, recreational resource improvement, and agricultural improvements. (202) 720-2847;

Forest Legacy Program: Through the Forest Service, supports voluntary state conservation efforts to protect environmentally sensitive forestland and encourage the protection of privately owned forestland. Focuses on acquiring partial interest in privately owned forestland. Supports acquisition of conservation easements (legally binding agreements transferring a negotiated set of property rights from one party to another without removing the property from private ownership) that usually restrict development and require sustainable forestry practices. (202) 205-1389;

Cooperative Forestry Assistance: Administered by the Forest Service with staff from its Rural Development and Forest Service Products Conservation and Recycling programs. Assists non-federal forest and other rural areas to advance forest resources management, encourage timber production, control tree insects and diseases, control fires, promote the efficient utilization and recycling of wood, improve and maintain fish wildlife habitat, and plan and conduct urban and community forestry programs. (202) 205-1389;

Forest Stewardship Program: Administered by the Forest Service to bring professional natural resource management expertise to non-industrial private forest (NIPF) landowners and to help them develop forest stewardship plans. Forest stewardship plans encourage NIPF landowners to become active in planning and managing their forests, thereby increasing the likelihood that their forests will remain productive and social, economic, and environmental benefits will be realized. (202) 205-1389;

Economic Action Program: Administered by the Forest Service. Invests forest-based resources to support sustainable community development goals. Major program areas are rural community assistance, forest products conservation and recycling, and market development and expansion. (202) 205-1491;

Stewardship Incentive Program: Administered by the Forest Service to leverage long-term financial investments and technical assistance in the health and productivity of non-industrial private forestland. Shares the costs of forest practices that provide major environmental benefits, including clean air, clean water, abundant wildlife, soil protection, recreation opportunities, and a sustainable supply of timber and other forest products. (202) 205-1389;

Inland Fisheries Habitat Management: Administered by the Forest Service to (1) protect and restore inland streams and lakes and the fish and other aquatic life they support; (2) increase the opportunities for recreational fishing through improved habitat, access, and facilities; (3) increase the enjoyment of aquatic resources and meet the demand for angling, viewing, and resource conservation; and (4) promote effective management through collaboration with other federal, state, and tribal agencies, conservation and industry groups, and private citizens. The program is largely dependent on cost-share partnership programs and allocations of funds based on the amount of resources being managed. (202) 205-1205;

Watershed Improvement Program:53 Administered by the Forest Service to implement and maintain treatments to bring watersheds back to fully productive levels. Funds projects for water-dependent resources, including fisheries, water quality and quantity, and soil quality, and establishes long-term partnerships. Program objectives are (1) healthy, diverse, and resilient aquatic ecosystems that maintain a variety of ecological conditions and benefits and conserve biological diversity, and (2) National Forest System land and water resources restored to a healthy and diverse condition through hazardous waste remediation. (202) 205-1473.

Conservation Reserve Program:54 The largest USDA conservation program; administered by the Farm Service Agency to reduce soil erosion, improve water and air quality, and enhance wildlife habitat. Individuals, partnerships, associations, Indian tribes, states, or any agency thereof owning or operating cropland may place highly erodible or environmentally sensitive land in a 10- to 15-year contract. Participants agree to implement a conservation plan approved by the local conservation district to convert the land into a long-term resources reserve program. Attempts to be cost-effective in assisting owners and operators in the Business and Industrial Loans Program.55

Business and Industrial Loans:56 Administered by the Rural Business-Cooperative Service. Assists public, private, or cooperative organizations, Indian tribes, or individuals in rural areas to obtain loans for improving, developing, or financing businesses, industry, and employment, and for improving the economic and environmental climate in rural communities, including pollution abatement and control. Financial assistance may be extended for business and industrial acquisition; construction; conversion; enlargement; repair; modernization; purchasing and development of land, easements, rights-of-way, buildings facilities, leases or materials; purchasing equipment, leasehold/improvements, machinery and supplies; and pollution control abatement. (202) 690-4730.

Rural Economic Development Loans and Grants:57 Administered by the Rural Business-Cooperative Service to promote rural economic development and job creation. Includes funding for project feasibility studies, start-up costs, incubator projects, and other reasonable expenses to foster rural development. (202) 720-1400.

Rural Cooperative Development Grants:58 Administered by the Rural Business-Cooperative Service. Establishes and operates centers for rural technology and cooperative development to improve the economic condition in rural areas by promoting the development and commercialization of new services and products. Grant funds may be used for such things as technology research, investigations, basic feasibility studies, and providing technical support to individuals, small businesses, cooperatives, or rural industries. (202) 720-1400.

Rural Development Grants:59 Administered by the Rural Business-Cooperative Service. Facilitates development of small and emerging private business, industry, and related employment to improve the economy in rural communities. Grants may be used to establish revolving funds, provide operating capital, and finance industrial sites in rural areas, including the acquisition and development of land and construction; the conversion, enlargement, repair, or modernization of buildings, plants, machinery, equipment, access streets and roads, and parking areas; and improving transportation to the site, utility extensions, necessary water supply, and waste disposal facilities. (202) 720-1400.

Intermediary Relending Program:60 Administered by the Rural Business-Cooperative Service. Finances business facilities and community development in rural areas by loans made to intermediaries, who must re-lend the funds to the final recipients for business facilities or community development. Loans must be used to establish new businesses, expand existing businesses, create employment opportunities, and save existing jobs. (202) 690-4100.


Coastal Zone Management Program: Administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Voluntary partnership between the federal government and coastal states and territories to preserve, protect, develop, and restore and enhance resources, and assist the states in achieving wise use of land and water resources of their coastal zones. Full consideration is given to ecological, cultural, historic, and aesthetic concerns, as well as the need for compatible economic development. (301) 713-3117;

Economic Adjustment Program: Helps states and local areas design and implement strategies to adjust to changes that cause or threaten serious damage to the underlying economic base. Such changes may result from industrial or corporate restructuring, new federal laws or requirements, reductions in defense expenditures, depletion of natural resources, or natural disasters. States, cities, political subdivisions or a consortium of such subdivisions, Indian tribes, designated Redevelopment Areas (RAs), community development corporations, or nonprofit organizations determined to represent an RA may apply. Area(s) either must have experienced, or anticipate, a change in the economic situation resulting in the loss of a significant number of permanent jobs and/or other severe economic impact, or manifest symptoms of economic deterioration (very high unemployment, low per capita income, or failure to keep pace with national economic growth trends over the past five years). (202) 482-5314;

Local Technical Assistance Program: Grants assist in solving specific economic development problems, responding to developmental opportunities, and building local organizational capacity in distressed areas. Local economic development organizations may be used to address military base and industrial plant closures, deteriorating commercial districts, and technical or market feasibility studies. Eligible applicants include nonprofit national, state, area, district, or local organizations; colleges and universities; Indian tribes; local governments; and state agencies. (202) 482-2127;

Planning Program for Economic Development Districts, Indian Tribes and Redevelopment Areas: Provides grants to support the formulation and implementation of economic development programs that create or retain full-time permanent jobs for the unemployed and underemployed in areas of economic distress. Eligible applicants are Economic Development Districts, Redevelopment Areas, Indian tribes, organizations representing RAs, or multiple Indian tribes, and commonwealths and territories. (202) 482-5314;

Planning Program for States and Urban Areas: Provides assistance to economically distressed states, sub-state planning regions, cities, and urban counties to undertake significant new economic development planning, policymaking, and implementation efforts. Examples include economic analysis, defining program goals, determining project opportunities, and formulating and implementing a development program to enhance economic development planning capability, process, and procedures. (202) 482-5314;

Public Works and Development Facilities: Provides grants to distressed communities to attract new industry, encourage business expansion, diversify local economies, and generate long-term, private-sector jobs. Examples of projects include water and sewer facilities primarily serving industry and commerce, access roads to industrial parks or sites, port improvements, and business incubator facilities. Proposed projects must be located within an EDA-designed redevelopment area or economic development center. Applicant may be a state, political subdivision of a state, Indian tribe, special-purpose unit of government, public or private nonprofit organization, or association representing the Redevelopment Area or part thereof. (202) 482-5314;

University Center Program: Provides grants to help colleges and address the economic development problems and opportunities of their service areas. Proposals must focus on providing technical assistance to clients outside the sponsoring institution. A limited amount of University Center-initiated activity, such as applied research on general economic development issues, is permitted if approved as part of the work plan. Priority consideration is given proposals that focus on service areas with significant economic distress, preferably statewide service areas. (202) 482-5314;

Ocean Resources Conservation and Assessment: Administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Ocean Resources Conservation and Assessment. Provides decision-makers with comprehensive scientific information on the nation's coastal areas, estuaries, and oceans; sets policy, directs planning, manages fiscal resources, and leads program development for teams of oceanographers, toxicologists, environmental engineers, computer programmers, systems analysts, geographers, and economists that work on problems as diverse as oil spills, natural resource damage assessment, coastal environmental quality monitoring, and long-term national environmental assessments. (301) 713-2989;

Economic Development--Grants for Public Works and Infrastructure Development:61 Through the Economic Development Administration, promotes long-term economic development and assists in the construction of public works and development facilities; encourages the creation or retention of permanent private-sector jobs in severe economic distress areas. Public facilities include port facilities, tourism facilities, infrastructure improvements for industrial parks, access roads to industrial parks, and business incubator facilities. Qualified projects must fill a pressing need and improve opportunities for successful establishment or expansion of industrial or commercial plants or facilities, long-term employment opportunities, or benefits for the long-term unemployed/underemployed and members of lower-income families. (202) 482-5265.

Anadromous Fish Conservation Act Program:62 Provides NOAA and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service assistance in conserving and enhancing anadromous fish and Great Lakes and Lake Champlain fish that ascend streams to spawn, and in controlling sea lamprey. Protects and restores streams and lakes and anadromous fish and other aquatic life; increases opportunities for recreational fishing and subsistence and commercial harvest through improved habitat, access, and facilities; enhances public appreciation through interpretation and viewing activities; and promotes effective management through collaboration of federal, state, and tribal agencies, conservation and industry groups, and private citizens. (301) 427-2014.

Fisheries Development and Utilization Research and Development Grants and Cooperative Agreements:63 Administered by NOAA. Increases sustainable fisheries that support jobs in the fishing industry, safe and wholesome seafood, and recreational opportunities. (301) 713-2358.

Columbia River Fisheries Development:64 Administered by NOAA. Provides funds for states and nonprofit organizations to utilize the facilities and personnel of state fisheries agencies in the Pacific Northwest to enhance salmon and steelhead resources in the region. (541) 231-2009.


Aquatic Plant Control Program:65 Provides state and local government agencies with the assistance of the Army Corps of Engineers in controlling and eradicating obnoxious aquatic plants in rivers, harbors, and allied waters. (202) 761-0660.

Flood Plain Management Services:66 Fosters public understanding of flood hazards and promotes prudent use and management of flood plains; provides technical services and planning guidance to support effective flood plain management, including developing or interpreting site-specific data on all aspects of the flooding process and providing information on natural and cultural flood plain resources; conducts "Special Studies" on all aspects of flood plain management planning, including the impact of off-flood plain land use on the flood plains; and issues guides, pamphlets, and supporting studies to improve the methods and procedures for mitigating flood damage. (202) 272-0169.

Planning Assistance of States:67 Assists states, local governments, and other non-federal entities in the preparation of comprehensive plans for the development, use, and conservation of water and related resources. States make annual requests for studies, and the Army Corps of Engineers accommodates as many studies as possible in a district within the funding allotment. Studies may be prompted by local identification of problems, including water quality, supply, and demand; environmental conservation/restoration; wetland evaluation; dam safety/failures; flood damage reduction; flood plain management; coastal zone management/protection; and harbor/port studies. (202) 761-0660.

Specifically Authorized Projects--Ecosystem Restoration:68 Provides assistance in restoring and improving degraded ecosystems. Projects may be stand-alone or part of a multipurpose project that improves aquatic habitat. (703) 693-3654.

Beneficial Uses of Dredged Material:69 Provides for the protection, restoration, and creation of aquatic and ecologically related habitats, including wetlands, in connection with dredging an authorized federal navigation project. (703) 693-3654.

Project Modification for Improvement of the Environment:70 Provides modifications to water resources projects constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers for the improvement of the environment. Projects that address degradation of environmental quality caused by a Corps project may also be undertaken. Federal per-project limit is $5 million; annual appropriation limit is $25 million. (703) 693-3654.


Community Development Block Grants (CDBG):71 Provides annual grants to entitlement communities for a variety of activities for neighborhood revitalization, economic development, and improved community facilities and services. Entitlement communities develop their own programs and funding priorities and consult with local residents before making final decisions. All CDBG activities must benefit low-income and moderate-income persons, prevent or eliminate slums or blight, or address serious and immediate threats to the health or welfare of a community. (202) 708-1577.

Community Development Block Grants for States and Small Cities: Provides annual formula grants to states to distribute to non-entitlement communities. Each state's goals and method of fund distribution are determined in consultation with affected citizens and local elected officials. State subgrants are awarded for a variety of community development activities for economic development, neighborhood revitalization, and improved community facilities and services. (202) 708-3587;

Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Provides competitive grants annually to several dozen of the 102 historically black colleges and universities to support a wide variety of Community Development Block Grant activities for neighborhood revitalization, economic development, and improved community facilities and services. Recipients typically collaborate with local governments and/or nonprofit organizations and consult local residents to develop programs and funding priorities. (202) 708-0614;

Community Outreach Partnership Centers: Program of competitive grants made by HUD's Office of University Partnerships to urban colleges and universities to support a variety of community development activities for neighborhood revitalization and economic development. Universities typically collaborate with local governments and/or nonprofit organizations and local residents to develop programs and funding priorities. All activities must benefit low-income and moderate-income persons, prevent or eliminate slums or blight, or address serious and immediate threats to the health or welfare of a community, and be consistent with the academic mission of the applicant. (202) 708-3061;

Indian Community Development Block Grant Program: Provides annual competitive grants to Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages to improve housing, build community facilities, make infrastructure improvements, and expand job opportunities. Tribes and villages select the projects and funding priorities from eligible activities. (415) 436-8122;


Partners Against Weeds: A cooperative effort among Interior Department bureaus and other federal agencies to improve federal management and eradication of noxious and invasive plant species. Aggressive weed management program develops methods by which the spread of weeds can be stopped or controlled. (406) 255-2766;

Riparian-Wetland Initiative for the 1990s: Seeks to restore and maintain riparian-wetland areas. (202) 452-0357;

Bring Back the Natives: A collaborative effort of the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service, Trout Unlimited, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to promote watershed-scale riparian and stream restoration to conserve native aquatic fauna. (202) 452-7753;

Appalachian Clean Streams Initiative: A cooperative program with the Environmental Protection Agency and more than 70 other public and private entities to accelerate the clean-up of acid mine drainage from abandoned coal mines. (202) 208-2527;

State Reclamation Programs: Through the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, supports 23 state and 3 tribal reclamation programs (50 percent cost sharing) to establish and enforce water quality and reclamation standards for coal mining. (202) 208-2565;

American Battlefield Protection Program: Helps states, communities, nonprofit organizations, and individual citizens become the stewards of significant historic battlefields. Battle sites that cannot feasibly be incorporated into federal or state park systems are saved so that future generations may understand the full scope of the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Indian Wars, and other conflicts on U.S. soil. Grants are awarded to organizations sponsoring planning and educational projects at historic battlefields. (202) 343-3941;

Archeology and Ethnography Program: Works with public agencies; federal, state, tribal, and local governments; national and regional archeological organizations; and colleges and universities on projects and programs focusing on archeological interpretation, preservation, and protection. Helps communities find out about archeological sites along their rivers, access existing summary information about these resources, and find other regional and local archeologists and organizations that could provide additional information. (202) 343-4101;

Certified Local Government Program: Local governments that meet local, state, and National Park Service requirements for Certified Local Government status are eligible to receive small matching grants from the Park Service, as well as technical assistance through their state historic preservation offices. Funds may be used for such activities as producing historic theme studies or cultural resource inventories and building reuse and feasibility studies. (202) 343-6005;

Comprehensive Historic Preservation Planning Program: Provides guidance and assistance to states, tribes, local governments, and federal agencies as they plan for the preservation of historic resources. Historic buildings, archeological sites, traditional places, and landscapes become considerations in devising land use, economic, environmental, and social strategies to strengthen communities nationwide. (202) 343-9596;

Historic Preservation Fund:72 Federal matching grant program that encourages private and non-federal investment in historic preservation efforts. Provides funding to states, territories, Indian tribes, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation to pay part of the cost of surveys and statewide historic preservation plans, and to prepare National Register nominations, architectural plans, historic structure reports, and engineering studies. (202) 343-9573.

Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives Program: Provides tax incentives for substantially rehabilitated buildings listed in the National Register and in certain historic districts for income-producing purposes, according to standards set by the Secretary of the Interior. Managed by the National Park Service and Internal Revenue Service in partnership with state historic preservation offices, it rewards private investment by providing a 20 percent tax credit for rehabilitating historic buildings. (202) 343-9509;

Historic Landscape Initiative: In partnership with federal and state agencies, professional organizations, colleges, and universities, helps define and protect the nation's designed and vernacular landscapes by promoting responsible preservation practices. Provides technical assistance to the public through diverse products and activities, including guidelines on appropriate treatments, research source books, documentary videos, and training symposia and workshops. (202) 343-9597;

National Historic Landmarks Assistance Initiative: Monitors the physical condition of the most important historic and archeological properties in the United States. Provides technical assistance to National Historic Landmark owners through site visits, condition assessment reports, technical publications, workshops, and special conferences, as well as the Internet. (202) 343-9591;

National Maritime Heritage Grants Program: Competitive grant program for maritime heritage preservation and education projects funded through a portion of the sale of obsolete vessels in the National Defense Reserve Fleet. Administered through a partnership between state historic preservation programs, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the National Park Service. (202) 343-9504;

Tribal Historic Preservation Fund Grants: Works with Indian tribes, Alaska Native groups, and Native Hawaiians to protect resources and traditions of importance to Native Americans; main goal is to help tribes strengthen their own community preservation programs through grant awards and training opportunities. (202) 343-4280;

Environmental Contaminants Program: Conducts a wide array of activities aimed at preventing the adverse effects of contaminants on natural resources, including endangered species, migratory birds, certain anadromous fish, marine mammals, and forestlands, through reviews of and coordination on environmental documents, legislation, regulations, permits, and licenses. (703) 358-2148;

Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act Program: Provides grants for state fish and wildlife agencies to restore or manage wildlife populations and the provision of public use of those resources, and provide facilities and services for conducting a hunter safety program. (703) 358-2156;

Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Program: Administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Evaluates injury to fish and wildlife resources and their habitats resulting from the release of hazardous substances or oil spills into the environment; determines liability for those injuries from parties responsible for environmental contamination; and requires compensation or action from polluters for the restoration, replacement, and/or acquisition of the equivalent fish and wildlife resources injured. (703) 358-2148;

Refuges Challenge Cost Share Program: Provides matching funds to conservation groups, private individuals, public agencies, and other non-federal sources to develop projects to operate and maintain public lands and to improve habitat on private lands. Purposes are to manage, enhance, and restore fish and wildlife resources, and to enhance wildlife-oriented educational opportunities on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lands. (703) 358-2422;

Sport Fish Restoration Program:73 Administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Supports projects that restore and manage sport fish populations for the preservation and improvement of sport fishing and related use of fisheries resources. Acceptable activities include land acquisition, development, and research and coordination. (703) 358-2156.

Fish and Wildlife Management Assistance Program:74 Administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Provides technical information, advice and assistance to other nations, states, and Native Americans on the conservation and management of fish and wildlife resources. Assistance is in the form of biological, chemical, and physical advice regarding land and water management; the program does not provide financial assistance. (703) 358-1718.

Administrative Grants for Federal Aid in Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program: Administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Funds projects that assist in the administration of sport fish and wildlife restoration programs and facilitates state efforts to implement these programs. Funds may be used for administrative projects for the conduct of necessary investigations, administration and execution of the Sport Fish Restoration Act, and aiding in the formulation, adoption, or administration of any compact between two or more states for the conservation and management of migratory fish in marine or fresh waters. (703) 358-2156;

Coastal Program: Works with a variety of partners to conserve and restore important habitat on both private and public lands. In Maine, worked with a farmer and local river conservation group to fence off a stream, plant new vegetation in the riparian zone, provide an alternative water source for cattle, and establish pond and riffle habitat in the stream, reducing sediment and bacteria input to an area where salmon congregate before their upstream mitigation in addition to improving the quality of the pasture. Another project, in Texas, is removing an exotic invasive plant (the Chinese tallow) and replacing it with native prairie grasses. (703) 358-2161;

National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program: Awards grants to Great Lakes and coastal states for projects that restore, acquire, manage, or enhance coastal lands and waters. Projects must provide for the long-term conservation of such lands and waters and their dependent fish and wildlife populations. Gives priority to the restoration of barrier islands and associated maritime forests, coastal wetlands ecosystems, endangered species, and anadromous and inter-jurisdictional fish species, and to the building of financial and cooperative private and governmental partnerships. (703) 358-2156;

Water Recycling Initiative: Conducts appraisal and feasibility studies on water reclamation and reuse projects. Federal contribution is limited to 25 percent of project cost, with a $20 million cap per project. Provides a potential means to augment water supplies. (202) 208-5007;

Fisheries Across America Challenge Grants:75 Provides funds to non-federal groups on a cost-share basis to restore and protect aquatic ecosystems supporting native fish. Geared to on-the-ground fish and habitat restoration work with the help of volunteers and communities interested in conserving local watersheds. (703) 358-1856.

Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Programs on Indian Lands Programs:76 Administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Promotes the conservation, development, and utilization of fish, wildlife, and recreational resources for sustenance, cultural enrichment, economic support, and maximum benefit of Indians. Tribes participate in associated resource management and planning. (202) 208-4088.

Water Resources on Indian Lands:77 Administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to assist Indian tribes in the management, planning, and development of their water and related land resources. (202) 208-6042.

Outdoor Recreation--Acquisition, Development, and Planning:78 Through the National Park Service, provides financial assistance to states and their political subdivisions for statewide comprehensive outdoor recreation plans and the acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation areas and facilities. Grants may be used for such projects as picnic areas, campgrounds, tennis courts, boat launching ramps, bike trails, and outdoor swimming pools, and for support facilities such as roads and water supply. (202) 565-1133.

Urban Park and Recreation Recovery Program:79 Through the National Park Service, provides grants to local governments for rehabilitation of local park and recreation areas and facilities, demonstrations of innovative approaches to improve park system management, recreational opportunities, and development of improved recreation planning. Eligible activities include resource and needs assessment, coordination, citizen involvement, planning, and program development. (202) 565-1133.

Disposal of Federal Surplus Real Property for Parks, Recreation, and Historic Monuments:80 Administered by the National Park Service to enable states or local governments to apply for transfer of surplus federal real property for public park and recreation use. Surplus property may be conveyed at discounts of up to 100 percent of fair market value. (202) 343-9533.

Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program:81 Through the National Park Service, helps advocates promote an interconnected U.S. trail and greenways system. Projects can involve natural resource conservation, wildlife movement, flood and erosion control, transportation, water quality, safety, tourism, recreation, and economic concerns. Does not give grants or provide funding; provides technical assistance in areas ranging from forming partnerships between local and state and federal agencies to designing landscape or construction details, preparing brochures and plans for public information, and assisting in acquisition of financial support. (202) 220-4113.


Bureau of Justice Assistance: Makes direct discretionary grant awards to states, units of local government, and private nonprofit groups for the support of state and local criminal justice system initiatives. Funds project ideas submitted from the field in the following subject areas: community justice, hate crimes, rural or tribal initiatives, the elderly, the role of alcohol in crime, indigent defense, cultural barriers to justice, nontraditional uses of prosecution resources to enhance public safety, public health and criminal justice collaborations, and local priorities. (202) 307-0635;

Weed and Seed Program: Discretionary grant program to assist communities in crime prevention. Brings together federal, state, and local crime-fighting and social service agencies, representatives of the public and private sectors, prosecutors, business owners, and neighborhood residents to "weed" out violent crime and gang activity and "seed" the target areas with social services and economic revitalization. (202) 616-1152;


Recreational Trails Program: Provides funding for recreational trail projects. States administer their own programs through resource or park agencies and develop procedures to solicit and select projects for funding. Eligible projects include trail planning; trail-related safety and environmental protection education; maintaining existing trails or restoring damaged trails; providing trail access for people with disabilities; developing trailside or trailhead facilities; purchasing or leasing equipment for trail construction, maintenance, or grooming; and acquiring easements or property for trails. Landowners, local officials, or citizens must ask for this assistance. Projects are funded on a cost-share basis. (916) 653-7423;

National Scenic Byways Program: Federal Highway Administration discretionary program for scenic byways. To be eligible, the road must be a state-designated scenic byway. Funds can be used for activities that enhance the traveling public's enjoyment and appreciation of the byway's resources. Potential exists for funding transportation activities in an American Heritage River corridor if there is a designated scenic byway in that corridor. (202) 628-7718 or (800) 4BYWAYS;

Federal-Aid Highway Program: Provides substantial funding to states to implement or complement American Heritage Rivers action plans. Flexible funding has been used for a range of investments, including highways, transit, and pedestrian-type projects. Funds are apportioned to the states by statutory formulas. Project funding decisions in metropolitan areas are made by the state departments of transportation (DOTs), local governments, and transit operators working through a metropolitan planning organization. Project funding decisions in rural areas are made by state DOTs after coordination with local governments. (202) 366-0106;

Federal Highway Administration Transportation Enhancement Program: Under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, a minimum of 10 percent of Surface Transportation Program funds must be used for transportation enhancement activities, including bicycle and pedestrian facilities; acquisition of scenic easements and scenic or historic sites; scenic or historic highway programs; landscaping; rehabilitation and operation of historic transportation buildings, structures, or facilities; preservation of abandoned transportation corridors, as in rails-to-trails programs; and mitigation of water pollution due to highway runoff. Local and state officials could prioritize the same type of projects in areas surrounding a designated American Heritage River. (202) 366-0106;

Development and Promotion of Ports and Intermodal Transportation: Administered by the Maritime Administration. Promotes development and utilization of domestic waterways, ports, and port facilities; provides technical information to government agencies, private industries, and state and municipal governments. Includes planning for utilization and control of ports and port facilities under national mobilization conditions, promoting development and utilization of marine-related intermodal transportation systems, and formulating national or regional policies and objectives for intermodal transportation systems. (202) 366-5781;


Sustainable Development Challenge Grants:82 Administered by the Office of Air and Radiation to catalyze community-based and regional projects that promote sustainable development to improve environmental quality and economic prosperity; leverage private and public investment in community sustainability efforts that continue past EPA funding; build partnerships to increase a community's long-term capacity to protect the environment through sustainable development; and enhance EPA's ability to provide assistance to communities and promote sustainable development. (202) 260-2441.

Community-Based Environmental Protection Program: Encourages communities to consider local ecological, economic, and quality of life issues when developing solutions to environmental problems. Treats air, water, land, and other resources as integrated parts of each place (such as a community, watershed, or ecosystem). By looking at unique local characteristics and targeting individual places, may lead to more successful long-term solutions to environmental problems. (202) 260-3614;

Water Quality Management Planning Program.83 Administered by the Office of Water to assist states in carrying out water quality management planning. (301) 694-7329.

Wetland Protection Development Grants:84 Administered by the Office of Water to assist states, Indian tribes, and local governments in developing new or enhancing existing wetlands protection programs. (202) 260-5084.

Non-point Source Pollution Control Grants:85 Administered by the Office of Water to assist states implementing non-point source management programs. (202) 260-7100.

Environmental Justice Grants to Small Community Groups:86 Administered by the Office of Compliance Assurance. Provides financial assistance to community-based groups for projects that design, demonstrate, or disseminate practices, methods, or techniques related to environmental justice. Funding assistance granted for environmental justice education and awareness programs, river monitoring, pollution prevention, technical assistance in gathering and interpreting existing environmental justice data, and technical assistance to access available public information. (202) 564-2515.

Water Pollution Control--State and Interstate Program Support:87 Administered by the Office of Water to help states and interstate agencies establish and maintain adequate measures to prevent and control surface and ground water pollution from point and non-point sources, including water quality planning, monitoring water quality standards assessments, permitting, pollution control studies, planning, surveillance and enforcement, advice and assistance to local agencies, training, and public information. No statutory formula; funds are allotted among state and interstate agencies according to overall water quality management needs. (202) 260-6742.

Pollution Prevention Grants Program:88 Administered by the Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances to support state and local prevention and reduction programs for air, land, and water pollution, such as industrial toxins, agriculture, energy, and transportation concerns. (202) 260-2237.

Brownfields Pilots Cooperative Agreements:89 Administered by the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. Empowers states, local governments, communities, and others to prevent, assess, clean-up, and reuse brownfields. Brings community groups, investors, lenders, developers, and other affected parties together to address the issue of assessing sites contaminated with hazardous substances and preparing them for productive use. Tests innovative approaches in cleanup and redevelopment. Uses CERCLA funds, so money must be used strictly to clean up contaminated property or hazardous waste. (202) 260-1223.

National Small Flows Clearinghouse: Provides technical assistance and information about "small flows" wastewater treatment systems, such as septic systems or small sewage treatment plants that process one million gallons or less of wastewater each day. Provides information about low-cost wastewater treatments for communities with populations of less than 10,000. Emphasis is placed on practical solutions. Related topics include treatment technologies, design and monitoring, financial issues, planning strategies, regulations, and education. (800) 624-8301;

Water Quality Cooperative Agreement: Under Section 104(b)(3) of the Clean Water Act, makes grants to state water pollution control agencies, interstate organizations, and individuals to promote the coordination of environmentally beneficial activities, which include storm water control, sludge management, and pretreatment. Eligible projects include research, investigation, experiments, training, environmental technology demonstrations, surveys, and studies related to the causes, effects, extent, and prevention of pollution. (202) 260-9545;

Capitalization Grants for State Revolving Fund Program:90 Administered by the Office of Water for water quality improvement projects. Each state's revolving loan funds provide independent and permanent low-cost financing to a range of environmental projects. Funds to establish these programs are provided through federal grants (83 percent of total capitalization) and state matching funds (17 percent of total capitalization). Projects include improving water quality, restocking fish, restoring wildlife habitat, providing marine sewage pump-out facilities, constructing publicly owned wastewater treatment facilities, and fostering urban wet weather flow control activities. (202) 260-7366.


Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Program: A nationwide program that has been in existence for over 60 years and operates 44 Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units at universities in 40 states. Each unit functions as a partnership between the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), state fish and wildlife agency, host university, and Wildlife Management Institute. Unit scientists conduct research on a range of natural resources issues, provide technical assistance, and participate in graduate-level education. (703) 648-4260;

Federal-State Cooperative Program: A Water Resources Program: Involves both data collection and interpretation, within which studies are conceived, planned, and funded jointly by about 1,100 state and local agencies and the USGS (which is restricted by law to funding no more than 50 percent of any project). Currently, it invests about $64 million of federal funds in the program, the total size of which is $154 million. (703) 648-5031;


Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Program: Mandated under the National Historic Preservation Act to encourage and provide training in historic preservation. Education program instructs federal, state, local, and tribal officials, contractors, and applicants for federal assistance in the requirements of federal preservation law and Section 106 review to increase efficiency in processing Section 106 undertakings and incorporate historic preservation considerations and responsibilities into planning and implementation procedures. (202) 606-8503;


1. The author would like to thank Gregg VanHelmond, Research Assistant, and Jennifer Olsen of the Roe Institute for their contributions to this paper.

2. In correspondence to the author, July 15, 1998.

3. Federal Register, Vol. 62, September 15, 1997, p. 48445.

4. See "President Clinton Announces 14 American Heritage Rivers," at

5. Alex Annett, "Good Politics, Bad Policy: Clinton's American Heritage Rivers Initiative," Heritage Foundation F.Y.I. No. 171, February 2, 1998, p. 3.

6. Ibid., pp. 4, 6.

7. The Appendix is a partial listing of federal programs that attempt to improve America's rivers and river communities. It illustrates the duplication of efforts within federal agencies and was compiled from telephone conversations and correspondence with agency staff, the 1997 Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, and the American Heritage Rivers Initiative Web site at

8. Annett, "Good Politics, Bad Policy," p. 8.

9. AHRIAC members include representatives from the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, and Transportation; the Attorney General; the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; and the chairpersons of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, National Endowment for the Arts, and National Endowment for the Humanities.

10. The panel is to include "representatives of natural, cultural and historical resources concerns; scenic, environmental and recreation interests; tourism, transportation, and economic development interests; and industries such as agriculture, hydropower, manufacturing, mining, forest management and others." See "President Clinton Announces 14 American Heritage Rivers," op. cit.

12. Council on Environmental Quality, "American Heritage Rivers Initiative," Final Federal Register Notice, September 17, 1997.

13. David Almasi, "River-Borne Trojan Horse," The Washington Times, July 25, 1997, p. A18. See also Adriel Bettelheim, "River Proposal Doesn't Flow in the West," The Denver Post, September 8, 1997.

14. American Rivers, a national river conservation organization in Washington, strives to protect and restore America's rivers. Its annual report lists the country's most endangered rivers as selected by a staff of experienced river conservation professionals. The criteria for selection include the magnitude and imminence of the threat; the likelihood that major actions in the coming year could either intensify or lessen the threat; the regional and national significance of the river; and the diversity of threats to rivers nationwide. See

15. Kathleen A. McGinty, Description of Administration's Policy Regarding Congressional Opposition to Designation of American Heritage Rivers, Council on Environmental Quality, May 6, 1998.

16. Steve Hayward and Laura Jones, "Index of Leading Environmental Indicators," Pacific Research Institute, April 1998, p. 25.

17. Ibid.

18. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, "Executive Summary," National Water Quality Inventory: 1994 Report to Congress, December 1995.

19. Ibid.

20. Ibid. For data on rivers and streams, see p. ES-13; for lakes, ponds, and reservoirs, p. ES-16; for estuaries, p. ES-23.

21. Hayward and Jones, "Index of Leading Environmental Indicators," p. 28.

22. U.S. EPA 1989: XI.

23. Clean Water Act, "25 Years, Clean Water: Everybody Needs It ," at

24. Hayward and Jones, "Index of Leading Environmental Indicators," p. 27.

25. Clean Water Act, "25 Years."

26. Hayward and Jones, "Index of Leading Environmental Indicators."

27. The list of programs in the Appendix was compiled from conversations and correspondence with agency staff, the 1997 Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, and the AHRI Web site at   It is a partial listing based on 1998 Heritage research.

28. U.S. General Accounting Office, Results Act: Observations on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Annual Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 1999, June 11, 1998, p. 3.

29. Ibid.

30. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, Semiannual Report to Congress FY 1998, First Half, May 1998, p. 36.

31. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Inspector General, Semiannual Report to the Congress, November 1997, p. 66, and May 1998, p. 71.

32. U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Inspector General, Semiannual Report to Congress, March 31, 1998, p. 39.

33. Ibid., p. 41.

34. U.S. General Accounting Office, Results Act: Department of Interior's Annual Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 1999, May 28, 1998, p. 2.

35. U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Inspector General, Semiannual Report, October 1997, p. 26.

36. Ibid., p. 27.

37. Ibid.

38. McGinty, Description of Administration Policy Regarding Congressional Opposition to Designation of American Heritage Rivers.

39. Ibid.

40. White House, Office of Management and Budget, 1997 Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance.

41. Interagency Wild and Scenic Rivers Coordinating Council, Wild & Scenic Rivers Reference Guide, The Wild Scenic Rivers System, Technical Papers, February 1995, p. 1.

42. Ibid., p. 11.

43. Interagency Wild and Scenic Rivers Coordinating Council, Wild and Scenic Rivers Reference Guide, June 1, 1997.

44. Ibid.

45. P.L. 104-333.

46. OMB, 1997 Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, p. 109.

47. Ibid., p. 7.

48. Ibid., p. 10.

49. Ibid., p. 117.

50. Ibid.

51. Ibid., p. 112.

53. Fact Sheet, "Watershed Partnerships," supplied by U.S. Forest Service, August 3, 1998.

54. OMB, 1997 Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, p. 8.

55. Ibid., p. 96.

56. Ibid.

57. Ibid., p. 105.

58. Ibid., p. 99.

59. Ibid., p. 96.

60. Ibid., p. 95.

61. Ibid., p. 135.

62. Ibid., p. 143.

63. Ibid., p. 151.

64. Ibid., p. 159.

65. Ibid., p. 202.

66. Ibid., p. 205.

67. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, "Flood Plain Management Services Planning Assistance to States--Section 22, Water Resources Planning," April 1995, p. 11.

68. Water Resource Development Act, 1996, Sec. 206.

69. Correspondence with Chip Smith, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, September 1, 1998.

70. Water Resource Development Act, 1986, Sec. 1135, as amended.

71. "HUD Programs Applicable, at Local/State Option, to the American Heritage Rivers Initiative," provided by Jim Selvazzi, Community Connections, June 3, 1997.

72. OMB, 1997 Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, p. 371.

73. Ibid., p. 357.

74. Ibid., p. 358.

75. 1998 Request for Proposal from National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

76. OMB, 1997 Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, p. 322.

77. Ibid., p. 320.

78. Ibid., p. 377.

79. Ibid., p. 379.

80. Ibid.

81. Ibid., p. 380.

82. Ibid., p. 700.

83. Ibid., p. 680.

84. Ibid., p. 684.

85. Ibid.

86. Ibid., p. 696.

87. Ibid., p. 675.

88. Ibid., p. 704.

89. Ibid., p. 716.

90. Ibid., p. 682.


Alexander Annett

Visiting Fellow