Connecticut River First to Receive National Blueways Designation

Initiative seeks to recognize partnerships, promote recreation and conservation.

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Boaters may see more ways to access and enjoy the water.
Blueways designation will likely make possible more paddling and biking routes along the river. Photo:Mike Cline (Wikimedia Commons)
Interview with Kim Lutz of the Nature Conservancy
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Interview with Kim Lutz of the Nature Conservancy

The Connecticut River has been designated the country's first National Blueway. 

The National Blueways System is part of the Obama administration's America's Great Outdoors Initiative, which aims to conserve natural resources while encouraging recreational use of the land. The National Blueways system recognizes river systems that through various public and private advocates work together for the benefit of both the river and watershed.

The designation coordinates three federal agencies - the USDA Natural Resources Conservation and Forest Service, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service - to work with state and local partners to create various projects for the blueway. 

Kim Lutz is the director of the Connecticut River Program for the Nature Conservancy. She says there are several reasons why the Connecticut River was chosen as the first National Blueway:

"It's really New England's iconic river, but I think more importantly, it's the partnerships that have already been in place for decades, that have worked tirelessly to put together the pieces to restore the river."

Lutz says the Blueway designation will mean more land acquisition along the river for recreational purposes, restoration of flood plains, and improved standards and upgrades for culverts.