York River Study Overview

In December 2014, Congress passed the York River Wild and Scenic River Study Act, which authorized the York River Study.

There were two major parts to the overall York River Study. One was the development of a stewardship plan for the York River watershed. A stewardship plan identifies all the important watershed resources and identifies strategies for long-term protection or enhancement of these resources. The other major part to this overall study was an evaluation of the eligibility and suitability of a Partnership Wild and Scenic River designation for the rivers in the York River watershed. Eligibility is based on demonstration of outstanding resource values, local support for and commitment to river protection, and existing local controls for river resource protection. Public knowledge, involvement, and support were key to both parts of the York River Study.

The York River Study provided an opportunity for the towns to work together at a regional scale for their shared resource. It provided communities with the structure, expertise, and funding to identify key issues and goals for long-term river and watershed protection. The process was entirely voluntary and locally determined.

The locally led York River Study lasted about three years, concluding at the end of 2018 when votes were taken by communities to endorse designation and the York River Watershed Stewardship Plan.

The Committee’s work in 2016 and 2017 focused on:

  • Compiling and reviewing York River watershed studies and data
  • Identifying and documenting outstanding watershed resources
  • Conducting several new studies to gain additional information on high priority resources
  • Engaging the public and key stakeholders in developing stewardship goals, objectives, and strategies to protect valued resources

Watch our York River Study video from 2017: