Traveling through Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, and supplying water and essential services to 2.3 million people in its vast watershed, the Connecticut River is vital to people and nature.
The Connecticut River once ran freely, connecting the wetlands and marshes that lined its shores and providing habitat for important plants and animals.
Now, the river and its nearly 20,000 miles of tributaries comprise one of the most obstructed river systems in the nation. Centuries of dam building and years of intense human use along the river’s banks have altered the river so much that it is unable to flow freely and naturally, and therefore is unable to provide habitat to important species, some of which—like the dwarf wedge mussel, Puritan tiger beetle and Jesups’ milk-vetch—are found nowhere else on Earth.
But you can help create a picture of the Connecticut River that reflects its original health and beauty.
For more information about The Nature Conservancy’s Connecticut River program or to support our work in your state, please contact us.
When Christian Marks turned his attention to the first of more than 100 Connecticut River floodplain forests he would study, he didn’t know he would become an American elm matchmaker.
How We Work on the Connecticut River
Dams rearrange natural river flows that have choreographed freshwater life cycles for millennia, but many also provide energy, flood control and water for people. Read how the Conservancy is using science and partnership to help us resolve the water management dilemma
Using the Connecticut River as a model for rivers throughout the region, The Nature Conservancy's Christian Marks has been working to understand and restore one of the central features of rivers: their floodplains. We asked Christian a few questions about the science of floodplains. Read the Q&A.
Hydro-power has a long history on the Connecticut River. Now during a once-in-50-years re-licensing process for hydro-power projects, Conservancy scientists are providing critical input to find ways to manage these facilities in a way that benefits the river ecosystem and the communities that depend upon it. See how.
Farming and floodplain forest restoration have made a happy marriage at Maidstone Bends in Vermont. See what you help accomplish!
The Conservancy's collaboration with the Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge works at the watershed scale. Explore!
Volunteers help plant the stately trees along the Connecticut River, restoring floodplain forests in the process. See how they're rebuilding these rare forests ... one tree at a time.
For more than 200 years, floodplain forests along the Connecticut River and its tributaries have been destroyed and degraded. Now, scientists are rediscovering and restoring these streamside forests as a way to ease the impact of climate change. Learn more
There are more than 2,600 dams and about 44,000 road-stream crossings in the Connecticut River watershed; many of them present problems for people and nature. Could “greening” this infrastructure help sustain ecosystems and the economy?