Wild rivers are rivers which are in near-pristine condition. Wild rivers in NSW are declared within national parks and other reserves and are protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974. Declaring rivers as 'wild' ensures that their high conservation values are maintained. Aboriginal objects and places associated with these rivers may also be identified and conserved.
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Wild rivers may provide useful focal points for protection and rehabilitation works outside reserves. For example, wild rivers can benefit river restoration works that occur downstream by providing sources for recolonising plants and animals. Protecting neighbouring parts of the catchment, particularly upstream of a wild river, may increase the resilience of the river to disturbances.