Preservation includes protection of fish and wildlife, their habitat, and the management of water quality and quantity. The NPS provides for the protection and restoration of riverine ecosystems and aquatic habitats within parks (Doppelt et al., 1993).

NPS jointly administers parts of the Wild and Scenic Rivers and wilderness systems with BLM, USFS, and the FWS. The goal of the NPS is to create and maintain high quality recreational areas and facilities in the United States, which includes rivers and river access. NPS administers the "Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Program" of the Department of Interior to help citizens develop programs to conserve rivers and establish trails on lands outside national parks. Working in partnership with state and local governments, NPS provides guidance and technical assistance for planning and developing trails and river access and preserving the quality of the land and water resources (EPA, 1993).

Bureau of Indian Affairs

Established in 1824 in the War Department, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) became a bureau in the Department of the Interior in 1849. BIA is the principal bureau within the federal government responsible for the administration of federal programs for recognized Indian tribes and for promoting Indian self-determination. As a result of the various treaties and other agreements with Native American groups, the BIA also has trust responsibilities. The mission of the Bureau is to enhance quality of life for American Indians, promote economic opportunity, and carry out the responsibility to protect and improve trust assets of Indian tribes and Alaska Natives.

BIA provides federal services to approximately 1.2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives who are members of more than 557 federally recognized Indian tribes. The Bureau administers 43,450,267 acres of tribally owned land, 10,183,530 acres of individually owned land, and 417,225 acres of federally owned land held in trust in 257 Indian land areas. Developing forest lands, leasing mineral rights, directing agricultural programs and protecting water and land rights are among its activities. The Office of Trust Responsibility in the BIA works closely with the tribes, who have more control over these lands than in the past. Lands administered by BIA include parts of many important watersheds, especially in the western states, and Indian water rights (mostly still undetermined) have a direct bearing on watershed management.

Independent Agencies

There are several major independent national or regional entities with significant authority over water resources and watersheds.

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