The Nation's Rivers -- The legacy of Protection -- A Malleable System -- The Cast of Rivers -- The Management Imperative -- A Wider Range of Protection -- The Unfinished Agenda -- Sources -- Agencies and Organizations Involved in River protection. The National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act is one of the most important natural-areas protection programs ever established at the federal level. It has resulted in the creation of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System - a rich American legacy that includes many of our finest waterways. But until now no comprehensive reference work covering the complex and innovative programs has been available. Written by one of the nation's leading experts on river ecology and protection, The Wild and Scenic Rivers of America presents an in-depth examination of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System - the protection alternative to dams, diversions, canals, and leapfrogging land development. It is the first book to chronicle this extraordinary system of national rivers, to recount its colorful history, and to weigh the dilemmas of its future. Topics covered include the importance of protecting river ecosystems; state and local protection systems; the history of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System; descriptions of each of the major rivers in the System; how and why rivers are chosen for inclusion, and how they are managed once they are included; threats to rivers both within and outside of the System; and what can be done to make the System more effective and more inclusive. This volume consolidates information, thoughts, and analysis that were previously scattered and obscure and that had not been fully explained or made publicly accessible. In addition, it offers the first compendium of the protected rivers and includes a wealth of photographs detailing their exceptional beauty. River protection as both management endeavor and political movement has grown tremendously in the twenty-two years since the implementation of the Act. This book represents an invaluable source of information for anyone involved with this growing sector of natural resource management.