Executive Order 13061
Federal Support of Community Efforts Along American Heritage Rivers
September 11, 1997
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution
and the laws of the United States of America, including the National
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (Public Law 91-190), and in order
to protect and restore rivers and their adjacent communities,
it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policies.
(a) The American Heritage Rivers initiative has three objectives:
natural resource and environmental protection, economic revitalization,
and historic and cultural preservation.
(b) Executive agencies ("agencies"), to the extent
permitted by law and consistent with their missions and resources,
shall coordinate Federal plans, functions, programs, and resources
to preserve, protect, and restore rivers and their associated
resources important to our history, culture, and natural heritage.
(c) Agencies shall develop plans to bring increased efficiencies
to existing and authorized programs with goals that are supportive
of protection and restoration of communities along rivers.
(d) In accordance with Executive Order 12630, agencies shall
act with due regard for the protection of private property provided
for by the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
No new regulatory authority is created as a result of the American
Heritage Rivers initiative. This initiative will not interfere
with matters of State, local, and tribal government jurisdiction.
(e) In furtherance of these policies, the President will designate
rivers that meet certain criteria as "American Heritage
(f) It is the policy of the Federal Government that communities
shall nominate rivers as American Heritage Rivers and the Federal
role will be solely to support community-based efforts to preserve,
protect, and restore these rivers and their communities.
(g) Agencies should, to the extent practicable, help identify
resources in the private and nonprofit sectors to aid revitalization
(h) Agencies are encouraged, to the extent permitted by law,
to develop partnerships with State, local, and tribal governments
and community and nongovernmental organizations. Agencies will
be responsive to the diverse needs of different kinds of communities
from the core of our cities to remote rural areas and shall
seek to ensure that the role played by the Federal Government
is complementary to the plans and work being carried out by
State, local, and tribal governments. To the extent possible,
Federal resources will be strategically directed to complement
resources being spent by these governments.
(i) Agencies shall establish a method for field offices to
assess the success of the American Heritage River initiative
and provide a means to recommend changes that will improve the
delivery and accessibility of Federal services and programs.
Agencies are directed, where appropriate, to reduce and make
more flexible procedural requirements and paperwork related
to providing assistance to communities along designated rivers.
(j) Agencies shall commit to a policy under which they will
seek to ensure that their actions have a positive effect on
the natural, historic, economic, and cultural resources of American
Heritage River communities. The policy will require agencies
to consult with American Heritage River communities early in
the planning stages of Federal actions, take into account the
communities' goals and objectives and ensure that actions are
compatible with the overall character of these communities.
Agencies shall seek to ensure that their help for one community
does not adversely affect neighboring communities. Additionally,
agencies are encouraged to develop formal and informal partnerships
to assist communities. Local Federal facilities, to the extent
permitted by law and consistent with the agencies' missions
and resources, should provide public access, physical space,
technical assistance, and other support for American Heritage
River communities. (k) In addition to providing support to designated
rivers, agencies will work together to provide information and
services to all communities seeking support.
Sec. 2. Process for Nominating an American Heritage River.
(a) Nomination. Communities, in coordination with their State,
local, or tribal governments, can nominate their river, river
stretch, or river confluence for designation as an American
Heritage River. When several communities are involved in the
nomination of the same river, nominations will detail the coordination
among the interested communities and the role each will play
in the process. Individuals living outside the community may
not nominate a river.
(b) Selection Criteria. Nominations will be judged based on
(1) the characteristics of the natural, economic, agricultural,
scenic, historic, cultural, or recreational resources of the
river that render it distinctive or unique;
(2) the effectiveness with which the community has defined
its plan of action and the extent to which the plan addresses,
either through planned actions or past accomplishments, all
three American Heritage Rivers objectives, which are set forth
in section 1(a) of this order;
(3) the strength and diversity of community support for
the nomination as evidenced by letters from elected officials;
landowners; private citizens; businesses; and especially State,
local, and tribal governments. Broad community support is
essential to receiving the American Heritage River designation;
(4) willingness and capability of the community to forge
partnerships and agreements to implement their plan to meet
their goals and objectives.
(c) Recommendation Process. The Chair of the Council on Environmental
Quality ("CEQ") shall develop a fair and objective
procedure to obtain the views of a diverse group of experts
for the purpose of making recommendations to the President as
to which rivers shall be designated. These experts shall reflect
a variety of viewpoints, such as those representing natural,
cultural, and historic resources; scenic, environmental, and
recreation interests; tourism, transportation, and economic
development interests; and industries such as agriculture, hydropower,
manufacturing, mining, and forest management. The Chair of the
CEQ will ensure that the rivers recommended represent a variety
of stream sizes, diverse geographical locations, and a wide
range of settings from urban to rural and ensure that relatively
pristine, successful revitalization efforts are considered as
well as degraded rivers in need of restoration.
(1) The President will designate certain rivers as American
Heritage Rivers. Based on the receipt of a sufficient number
of qualified nominations, ten rivers will be designated in
the first phase of the initiative.
(2) The Interagency Committee provided for in section 3 of
this order shall develop a process by which any community
that nominates and has its river designated may have this
designation terminated at its request.
(3) Upon a determination by the Chair of the CEQ that a community
has failed to implement its plan, the Chair may recommend
to the President that a designation be revoked. The Chair
shall notify the community at least 30 days prior to making
such a recommendation to the President. Based on that recommendation,
the President may revoke the designation.
Sec. 3. Establishment of an Interagency Committee. There is hereby
established the American Heritage Rivers Interagency Committee
("Committee"). The Committee shall have two co-chairs.
The Chair of the CEQ shall be a permanent co-chair. The other
co-chair will rotate among the heads of the agencies listed below.
(a) The Committee shall be composed of the following members
or their designees at the Assistant Secretary level or equivalent:
(1) The Secretary of Defense;
(2) The Attorney General;
(3) The Secretary of the Interior;
(4) The Secretary of Agriculture;
(5) The Secretary of Commerce;
(6) The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development;
(7) The Secretary of Transportation;
(8) The Secretary of Energy;
(9) The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency;
(10) The Chair of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation;
(11) The Chairperson of the National Endowment for the Arts;
(12) The Chairperson of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The Chair of the CEQ may invite to participate in meetings
of the Committee, representatives of other agencies, as appropriate.
(b) The Committee shall:
(1) establish formal guidelines for designation as an American
(2) periodically review the actions of agencies in support
of the American Heritage Rivers;
(3) report to the President on the progress, accomplishments,
and effectiveness of the American Heritage Rivers initiative;
(4) perform other duties as directed by the Chair of the
Sec. 4. Responsibilities of the Federal Agencies. Consistent
with Title I of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969,
(a) identify their existing programs and plans that give them
the authority to offer assistance to communities involved in
river conservation and community health and revitalization;
(b) to the extent practicable and permitted by law and regulation,
refocus programs, grants, and technical assistance to provide
support for communities adjacent to American Heritage Rivers;
(c) identify all technical tools, including those developed
for purposes other than river conservation, that can be applied
to river protection, restoration, and community revitalization;
(d) provide access to existing scientific data and information
to the extent permitted by law and consistent with the agencies
mission and resources;
(e) cooperate with State, local, and tribal governments and
communities with respect to their activities that take place
in, or affect the area around, an American Heritage River;
(f) commit to a policy, as set forth in section 1(j) of this
order, in making decisions affecting the quality of an American
(g) provide, once a river is designated an American Heritage
River and at the community's request, a single representative
called a "River Navigator" with whom communities can
communicate goals and needs and who will facilitate community-agency
(h) allow public access to the river, for agencies with facilities
along American Heritage Rivers, to the extent practicable and
consistent with their mission; and (i) cooperate, as appropriate,
with communities on projects that protect or preserve stretches
of the river that are on Federal property or adjacent to a Federal
Sec. 5. Responsibilities of the Committee and the Council on
Environmental Quality. The CEQ shall serve as Executive agent
for the Committee, and the CEQ and the Committee shall ensure
the implementation of the policies and purposes of this initiative.
Sec. 6. Definition. For the purposes of this order, Executive
agency means any agency on the Committee and such other agency
as may be designated by the President.
Sec. 7. Judicial Review. This order does not create any right
or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable by any party
against the United States, its agencies or instrumentalities,
its officers or employees, or any other person.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
THE WHITE HOUSE,
September 11, 1997