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Management of U.S. river resources has long been a topic of national-level importance and prominence. Debates regarding the proper balance between using U.S. river systems to support economic activities and growth, and ensuring some degree of ecological preservation, date back at least one hundred years. These issues have grown in importance over time, as a growing U.S. population, shifting economic values and social preferences, and important traditional uses all place demands on the nation's rivers. Changes in demands, priorities, and environmental conditions all pose considerable challenges to the scientists, engineers, economists, and other professionals charged with managing the nation's river systems. The National Research Council's Water Science and Technology Board has a long record of providing scientific, technical, and policy guidance related to river and watershed management.