1. What is the Wild and Scenic Designation?
The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act was enacted by Congress in 1968 as a means to protect and recognize outstanding natural rivers. The Taunton is proposed for designation as a "Partnership Wild and Scenic River," which means that it would be protected from federally funded or permitted projects that could harm the river, but is managed through a locally-based advisory committee (The Taunton River Stewardship Council) rather than being managed by the federal government.
2. What Segment of the Taunton River is Proposed for Designation?
Originally, the Wild and Scenic Study was only looking at the Upper Taunton River, but after petitions from the Lower River communities, the Study was expanded to the entire River. The intent of the Study Committee is that the entire River should receive the Wild and Scenic Status.
3. Are Tributaries Included?
Tributaries were extensively studied through a "Stream Team" approach as a part of the Study, and are included as an important part of the Taunton River Stewardship Plan. The designation recommendation however is that only the mainstrem of the river should be designated at this time. Tributaries would be eligible for federal assistance throught the designation by virtue of being included in the Stewardship Plan.
4. What Special Values Did the Wild and Scenic Study Find?
The Study found that six special values are the most important on and along the Taunton: They are Agriculture; Ecology and Biodiversity; Estuary; Fisheries; History and Archaeology; and Recreation and Scenery. Preserving and enhancing these values is the basis of the Taunton River Stewardship Plan and the Wild and Scenic Designation.
5. How Will the River be Managed After Designation?
The River will be managed in accordance with the Taunton River Stewardship Plan. Priorities in implementing the Plan will be determined by the Taunton River Stewardship Council.
6. Will Designation Help Bring Funding to the Taunton River Communities?
History says YES. The established Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers each receive annual appropriations from Congress to assist in implementing
their Management Plans - in Fiscal '05 the amount is $151,000 per river. Wild and Scenic status has also proven an effective vehicle for leveraging additional funds through other sources and partners at local, state and federal levels.
7. As a Riverfront Landowner, Will Designation Mean New Regulations or Permits?
NO. No new permits or regulations are associated with designation - local land use remains subject to existing local and state statutes.
8. Are There Any New Regulations Associated With Designation?
NO. The Act does require other federal agencies to respect the protection of the identified outstanding river values as they deal with the river, and charges the National Park Service to review federal actions/decisions to ensure this consistency.
9. Will Hunting and Fishing Be Affected?
NO. Hunting and fishing laws are unaffected by the designation.
10. Will Access to the River Be Restricted?
No. The Stewardship Plan actually cals for improved access to the River, and the Stewardship Council will likely promote improved access in some locations.