Save the Sound: Connecticut River watershed named first National BluewayPosted: May 24, 2012
HARTFORD — Save the Sound, a program of Connecticut Fund for the Environment, released this statement today after the Connecticut River and its watershed were declared the first National Blueway.
“The Connecticut River binds the Long Island Sound watershed together,” said Leah Schmalz, director of legislative and legal affairs for Save the Sound. “It links the Sound’s health to activities happening in Vermont, Massachusetts and even Canada. Long known as the region’s premier fish passageway, today’s designation shows that it is also a premier recreational passageway.”
“Increased awareness of and expanded access to the River and its watershed will lead to citizen stewardship. And because the Connecticut River’s watershed health is integral to the Sound’s health, this stewardship will help protect Long Island Sound too; after all, if it goes on the ground, it goes in the Sound.”
The Connecticut River is the Sound’s largest source of fresh water. It runs 407 miles south through New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and into Connecticut, where it discharges into Long Island Sound in Old Saybrook and Old Lyme. In 1998, the Connecticut River was declared one of 14 American Heritage Rivers by President Bill Clinton. As described in our State of the Sound Report, the river, whose watershed comprises the majority of Long Island Sound’s 16,000-square-mile watershed, also is a source of pollution for the Sound. Nitrogen from sewage-treatment plants and fertilizer use along the river, combined sewage discharges in both Massachusetts and Connecticut, and hydrology-changing development all affect the Sound’s health.
The National Blueways Initiative is part of President Barack Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative with the goal to develop an agenda focused on conservation and recreation to reconnect Americans to the outdoors. A Blueway Trail is a distance of river that serves as a destination for on-water recreation, camping and exploration of our natural resources. Eventually such a designation could help the trail receive special attention for restoration and access expansion.