Federal Water Project Recreation Act Law and Legal Definition

The Federal Water Project Recreation Act (“Act”) is a U.S. federal legislation which requires that recreation and fish and wildlife enhancement be given full consideration in federal water development projects. This Act was enacted on July 9, 1965, and has been amended a number of times since then. The provisions of the Act are found under 16 USCS §§ 460l-12 through 460l-21.

Pursuant to the Act, federal water project funds can be used for land acquisition in order to establish refuges for migratory waterfowl. The Act authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to provide facilities for outdoor recreation and fish and wildlife at all reservoirs under the Secretary's control, except those within national wildlife refuges.

The Act requires that:

1. While investigating and planning a federal navigation, flood control, reclamation, hydroelectric or multiple-purpose water resource project, full consideration must be given to the opportunities which the project affords for outdoor recreation and fish and wildlife enhancement.

2. Planning for a project's recreation potential must be coordinated with existing and planned federal, state or local public recreation developments.

3. Project construction agencies must encourage non-federal public bodies to administer project land and water areas for recreation and fish and wildlife enhancement purposes, and to operate, maintain and replace facilities provided for those purposes, unless the areas or facilities are within a national recreation area, the national forest system, the public lands classified for retention in federal ownership or an authorized federal program for the conservation and development of fish and wildlife.

The Water Resources Development Act of 1974 (P.L.93-251) altered the cost-sharing provisions with respect to fish and wildlife enhancement components of projects.