RS 56:1845     

§1845.  Nomination, recommendation, designation, and declassification of natural and scenic rivers; legislative funding

A.  Any river in this state may be nominated for inclusion in or declassification from the Louisiana natural and scenic rivers system only by concurrent resolution adopted by the legislature.

B.  The administrator shall undertake a continuing study and shall make recommendations to the legislature regarding any river nominated for inclusion in or declassification from the system.  Such recommendation for inclusion shall be made no sooner than eight months from the nomination of a river and only subsequent to the evaluation and procedures provided for in this Section.  The administrator shall consider the following and other appropriate criteria in preparing the written evaluation and making the recommendation:

(1)  The river is free-flowing, has not been channelized, cleared and snagged within the past twenty-five years, realigned, inundated, or otherwise altered and has a shoreline covered by native vegetation and has no or few man-made structures along its banks.

(2)  The scene as viewed from the river is pleasing, whether primitive or rural-pastoral, or these conditions are restorable.

(3)  The river and its setting possess natural and recreational values of outstanding quality.

(4)  The river and its setting are large enough to sustain substantial recreational use and to accommodate existing uses without undue impairment of the natural values of the resource or quality of the recreation experience.

(5)  The river will provide present and future benefits to Louisiana citizens through preserving, protecting, and enhancing its wilderness qualities, scenic beauties, and ecological regimes and its aesthetic, scenic, recreational, fish, wildlife, ecological, archaeological, geological, botanical, and other natural and physical features and resources found along the river and adjacent lands.

(6)  The existing uses of adjacent lands and the economic impact of such usages.

(7)  Determination of state ownership of the bed of the river.

C.  Prior to any such recommendation each river nominated for inclusion in or declassification from the system shall be evaluated by the administrator in consultation with the division of administration, the Department of Environmental Quality, and the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism and with the advice of other agencies that the administrator determines may have an interest in the evaluation.  The recommendation shall be in the form of a written report, shall include the evaluation, and shall be part of the record of the decision regarding the proposed recommendation.  The report shall include an evaluation of the criteria provided for in this Section and other such matters specified by the administrator.  The administrator shall give the evaluation substantial weight in making the recommendation.  The administrator shall file the report with the natural resources committees of the legislature and provide copies to the division of administration, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, and the governing authorities of those parishes through which the river flows.

D.  Prior to any such recommendation and as part of the evaluation process, the administrator shall hold not less than one public hearing to receive comments and recommendations from all interested parties and the public.  There shall be at least one public hearing in the vicinity of the river nominated for inclusion in or declassification from the system.  The administrator shall, not less than thirty days prior to any hearing, publish a notice of the hearing in the official journal of the state and of each parish through which the river flows and notify each parish governing authority by letter to its chief executive officer.  The administrator shall give notice to all interested parties, including adjacent landowners.  Any recommendation for or against declassification from the system shall be made within one hundred twenty days from date of nomination.

E.  The legislature may, by law, designate as a natural and scenic river any river recommended by the administrator for inclusion within the system.  The legislature may, by law, declassify any river whether or not recommended by the administrator for declassification as a natural and scenic river.  The legislature may appropriate sufficient monies to fund the cost of evaluating those rivers nominated to be natural and scenic rivers, or those rivers nominated for declassification.

Added by Acts 1970, No. 398, §1; Amended by Acts 1981, No. 837, §3; Acts 1988, No. 947, §1, eff. July 27, 1988; Acts 1990, No. 258, §1, eff. July 4, 1990; Acts 2004, No. 33, §4.