Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (1968)

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  • The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (Pub. L. 90–542) was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on October 2, 1968. The act established the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, which preserves and protects nationally significant free-flowing rivers. In an era that had aggressively emphasized dam building and water resource development, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act was intended to complement the policy of river development with the conservation of free-flowing rivers’ scenic, recreational, fish and wildlife, and cultural values.

    The twentieth century—especially the years after World War II—brought the rapid development of the nation's rivers for irrigation, hydropower, flood control, navigation improvement, and other purposes. The widespread construction of structures to impound and divert rivers frequently led to fiercely contested conservation battles. In his ...

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