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The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (WSRA) is a collaboration between the federal and state governments designed to preserve nationally significant rivers. Section 2(a)(ii) is an innovative provision of the WSRA, which allows states to designate rivers for review by the Secretary of the Interior for inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. When federal and state interests align, section 2(a)(ii) designation is an effective tool for encouraging state participation in river management. When state interests in a river diverge from federal interests, however, the contours of this collaboration raise difficult federalism questions because the federal government has traditionally regulated the management of natural resources, while states have traditionally regulated land use. Maine recently provoked these difficult federalism questions by unilaterally downgrading the status of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. This Note examines the WSRA and argues that it preempts state laws that violate its federal purpose of preservation.


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6 Sep 2022
288 kB



  • Subject
    • Environmental Law

    • Water Law

  • Journal title
    • Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review

  • Volume
    • 35

  • Issue
    • 1

  • Pagination
    • 77

  • Date submitted

    6 September 2022