The Canadian Heritage Rivers System (CHRS) was established in 1984 by the federal, provincial and territorial governments to conserve and protect the best examples of Canada's river heritage by giving these rivers national recognition, and encouraging public enjoyment and appreciation, including recreation.
The CHRS is a cooperative program of the governments of Canada, all 10 provinces, and the three territories. A 15-member national board administers the program. This Canadian Heritage Rivers Board is made up of private citizens and senior officials from government departments responsible for protection of the Canadian environment.
Following a comprehensive province-wide study in the late 1980's and early 1990's, Nova Scotia's Shelburne and Margaree-Lake Ainslie River Systems were selected as provincial nominees to the Canadian Heritage Rivers System. The Board subsequently designated these as Canadian Heritage Rivers in 1997 and 1998, respectively.
Nova Scotia Environment is responsible for guiding the management of Nova Scotia's heritage rivers.