For the more information about water resources in the National Park Service, please visit


The National Park Service Management Policies (2006) provide broad policy guidance for the management of units of the national park system. Topics include park planning, land protection, natural and cultural resource management, wilderness preservation and management, interpretation and education, special uses of the parks, park facilities design, and concessions management. These NPS policies and guidelines broadly require management to maintain, rehabilitate, and perpetuate the inherent integrity of aquatic resources.

With respect to water resources, it is the policy of the National Park Service to determine the quality of park surface and ground water resources and avoid, whenever possible, the pollution of park waters by human activities occurring within and outside of parks. In particular the NPS will work with appropriate governmental bodies to obtain the highest possible standards available under the Clean Water Act for protection of park waters; take all necessary actions to maintain or restore the quality of surface and ground waters within the parks consistent with the Clean Water Act and all applicable laws and regulations; and enter into agreements with other agencies and governing bodies, as appropriate, to secure their cooperation in maintaining or restoring the quality of park water resources.

Recommended procedures for implementing service-wide policy are described in the National Park Service guideline series. The guidelines most directly pertaining to actions affecting water resources include:

Director's Orders

DO #12 - Conservation Planning, Environmental Impact Analysis, and Decision-Making

DO #35A - Sale of Resources or Services to Support Activities outside of Parks

DO #77-1 - Wetland Protection

DO #77-2 - Floodplain Management

Executive Orders

EO 11988 - Floodplain Management

Procedural Manuals

PM #77-1 - Wetland Protection

PM #77-2 - Floodplain Management

Last Updated: January 04, 2017