Representatives of the Department of the Interior, Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers today announced a memorandum of understanding that supports the Connecticut River Watershed National Blueway, the nation’s first National Blueway.
The memorandum comes four months after Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar visited Hartford to announce the National Blueways Initiative. During the same visit in May, Salazar also named the Connecticut River watershed the nation’s first National Blueway, recognizing the sustained efforts of dozens of public and private partner organizations to conserve and restore the watershed for wildlife, people and outdoor recreation.
The Nature Conservancy applauds today’s announcement and offers the following statements.
• Mark P. Smith, deputy director of The Nature Conservancy’s North America Freshwater Program:
“We’re pleased to see this agreement reflecting the commitment of three key federal agencies to work together and with other partners in the watershed to protect and restore the Connecticut River,” said Mark P. Smith, deputy director of The Nature Conservancy’s North America Freshwater program.
“These agencies have important responsibilities and invaluable expertise on three cornerstones necessary for long-term health of the river and its watershed—agriculture, water management and fish and wildlife conservation,” he said. “The National Blueways Initiative is an important commitment by the federal government to work with partners at the scale of whole systems to define and achieve outcomes that benefit people and nature.”
• Frogard Ryan, executive director of The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut:
“The fact that we’re here today—only four months after the Connecticut River Blueway was announced just a few miles upriver—makes very clear, once again, that we’re all in this together for the long haul,” said Frogard Ryan, executive director of The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut. “There could be no better news than that for the Connecticut River, and we at The Nature Conservancy couldn’t be more grateful.
“The Connecticut River Blueway designation is a powerful acknowledgement of the river’s significance and of the work that’s been done by so many people over decades to improve the river’s health,” she said. “The Blueway further galvanizes everyone interested in conservation, environmental education, outdoor recreation and the Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge that was created to advance conservation throughout the Connecticut River watershed.”
“There’s a lot of work to be done for the river,” she said, “and there are very many of us eager and absolutely ready to do it.”
To speak with Mark P. Smith or Frogard Ryan, please contact James Miller at 857-600-6603.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.