The South Yuba River Citizen’s League (SYRCL, pronounced ‘circle’) started the Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival as a fund-raiser in 2003. The festival’s namesake is in honor of SYRCL’s successful lobbying to gain for the Yuba River in 1999 "Wild & Scenic status" (the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act celebrates its 40th Anniversary in 2008. The Act, championed signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson protects the free-flowing waters of US rivers). Going into its sixth year, the home festival features over 110 films, 60 guest speakers and over 3000 attendees. You've still got until September 29th to enter your film. Also the the festival tour going on right now brings together the best of the home festival’s films in a three-hour program. Check for tour dates in your area here as there are currently almost 50 venues nationwide. Festival organizers are always looking for enviro groups to host venues as a way to outreach into their communities, so if you're interested contact the fest. More on the W&SFF; and its namesake legislation below the fold.
Whether it is the struggle for environmental justice, information on renewable energy or an educational tale about an endangered species, the films expose people to forward-thinking ideas and global awareness. The organizers have chosen films that not only highlight the concerns but provide solutions, reaching people through beautiful imagery like the sweeping landscapes of the Tallgrass Prairie or the grandeur of the Himalayan Rivers. Watch trailers of the films and see for yourself. We'll be bringing you daily video clips throughout the coming week.
Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, October 2, 1968
It is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States that certain selected rivers of the Nation which, with their immediate environments, possess outstandingly remarkable scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural or other similar values, shall be preserved in free-flowing condition, and that they and their immediate environments shall be protected for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Congress declares that the established national policy of dams and other construction at appropriate sections of the rivers of the United States needs to be complemented by a policy that would preserve other selected rivers or sections thereof in their free-flowing condition to protect the water quality of such rivers and to fulfill other vital national conservation purposes.
The Act purposefully strives to balance river development with permanent protection for the country's most outstanding free-flowing rivers. To accomplish this, the Act prohibits federal support for actions, such as the construction of dams or other instream activities, that would diminish the river's free flow or outstanding resource values. Designation neither prohibits development nor gives the federal government control over private property. The Act specifically:
• Prohibits dams and other federally assisted water resources projects that would adversely affect river values;
• Protects outstanding natural, cultural, or recreational values;
• Ensures water quality is maintained; and
• Requires the creation of a comprehensive river management plan that addresses resource protection, development of lands and facilities, user capacities, and other management practices necessary to achieve purposes of the Act.