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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 13, 2000


I take pleasure in transmitting the enclosed report for the Wekiva River and several tributaries in Florida. The report and my recommendations are in response to the provisions of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, Public Law 90-542, as amended. The Wekiva study was authorized by Public Law 104-311.

The National Park Service conducted the study with assistance from the Wekiva River Basin Working Group, a committee established by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to represent a broad spectrum of environmental and developmental interests. The study found that 45.5 miles of river are eligible for the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System (the "System") based on free-flowing character, good water quality, and "outstandingly remarkable" scenic, recreational, fish and wildlife, and historic/cultural values.

Almost all the land adjacent to the eligible rivers is in public ownership and managed by State and county governments for conservation purposes. The exception to this pattern is the 3.9-mile-long Seminole Creek that is in private ownership. The public land managers strongly support designation while the private landowner opposes designation of his land. Therefore, I recommend that the 41.6 miles of river abutted by public lands and as described in the enclosed report be designated a component of the System. Seminole Creek could be added if the adjacent landowner should change his mind or if this land is ever purchased by an individual or conservation agency who does not object. The tributary is not centrally located in the area proposed for designation.

I further recommend that legislation designating the Wekiva and eligible tributaries specify that on-the-ground management responsibilities remain with the existing land manager and not the Secretary of the Department of the Interior. This is in accordance with expressed State wishes and is logical. Responsibilities of the Secretary should be limited to working with State and local partners in developing a comprehensive river management plan, providing technical assistance, and reviewing effects of water resource development proposals in accordance with section 7 of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

We look forward to working with the Congress to designate this worthy addition to the National Wild and Scenic River System.


                              THE WHITE HOUSE,
                              June 13, 2000.

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