The Wild and Scenic Rivers project was a multi-year effort to sample National Wild and Scenic Rivers. The project sent volunteers across the U.S., from northern Alaska to southeast Florida, to collect data on waterways ranging from small scenic creeks to wild whitewater rivers.


Timeframe and Commitment

Data collection took place during two field seasons each year.

Year 1: June 2020 – January 31, 2021

Year 2: April 1 – September 1, 2021
October 1 – February 28, 2022

​Year 3: April 1 – September 1, 2022
October 1 – February 28, 2023

​Each volunteer committed to collecting data at three sampling locations (or the same site, at three different times). Data collection requirements varied based on the river.

We are prioritized rivers that have not yet been assessed across the country. See the map on this page for more info.

Sample Requirements

There are four types of data collected for this project.


  • ​Field probes with in-stream sensors measure water quality data such as pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, dissolved solids, salinity, and conductivity.
  • Habitat assessments included taking photos of the sample collection area
  • Water samples (grab samples) to be analyzed for nutrients, trace metals, and salinity.
  • Invasive species assessments identify the location and extent of invasive species establishment (Idaho, Oregon, and Washington only).

Training and Equipment

All volunteers were required to complete online training and a comprehensive quiz prior to getting out in the field. We will offered a variety of educational webinars and readings to supplement training.

Field probes and project equipment were shipped to volunteer teams.


The map below shows all the designated Wild and Scenic River segments in the nation. Priority river reaches for the project are highlighted in yellow. You may need to zoom in to see those highlights. To access the legend, select the menu icon in the upper left corner.

We determined where to send volunteers based on data needs and equipment availability.