In December 2014, Congress passed the York River Wild and Scenic River Study Act, which authorized the York River Study.
There are two major parts to the overall York River Study. One is the development of a management plan for the York River watershed. A management 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 is an evaluation of the eligibility and suitability of a Partnership Wild and Scenic River designation for the rivers in the York River watershed. Suitability 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 are key to both parts of the York River Study.
The York River Study provides an opportunity for the towns to work together for their shared resource at a regional scale. It provides communities with the structure, expertise, and funding to identify key issues and goals for long-term river and watershed protection. The process is entirely voluntary and locally determined.
The York River Study is an anticipated three-year study, concluding at the end of 2018. Priorities for 2016 and 2017 include:
- 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 management plan goals, objectives, and strategies to protect valued resources
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