Northeast Region
Conserving the Nature of America

Connecticut River National Blueway

On May 24, 2012, former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that the 410-mile long Connecticut River and its 7.2 million-acre watershed as the first National Blueway - covering large areas of Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut. The designation was part of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Rivers Initiative to establish a community-driven conservation and recreation agenda for the 21st century. The Connecticut River National Blueway designation recognizes the collaborative leadership of more than 40 partner organizations under the umbrella of the Friends of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge and the cumulative successes of the Connecticut River Watershed Council, states, and many other partners.

Running from the Canadian border to Long Island Sound, the Connecticut River and its watershed include 2.4 million residents and 396 communities. The existing Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge conserves native plant, fish and wildlife species and the ecosystems on which they depend throughout the Connecticut River watershed. The Refuge works in partnership with a wide variety of individuals and organizations to provide environmental education, to encourage and support appropriate habitat conservation and management on public and private lands, and to protect additional habitat.

Photos from the 2012 designation event

Interior Secretary announces end to National Blueway System, Connecticut retains designation

January 3, 2014 - Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has released a Secretarial Order that dissolves the National Blueway System (established in 2012 by Secretarial Order 3321), and affirms the Department of the Interior's commitment to support community-based watershed partnerships. Importantly, the order maintains the designation of the Connecticut River as the nation’s first and only National Blueway. Further, it recognizes the many successes and on-the-ground accomplishments of the residents, communities, public agencies, and others who have participated in partnership efforts in the Connecticut River watershed, spanning well over half a century.

A copy of the order is available here (PDF-744KB).

Last updated: January 3, 2014