McGovern, Markey Introducing New Bill to Protect Deerfield River

Legislation Begins Process of Securing Wild and Scenic Status for Major Sections of the Deerfield River and Tributaries in Massachusetts and Vermont

WASHINGTONToday, Rules Committee Chairman James P. McGovern (MA-02) and U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) announced the Deerfield River Wild and Scenic River Study Act, legislation they are introducing that would begin the process of securing Wild and Scenic Status for major portions of the Deerfield River. Their bill commissions a study of the Deerfield River in southern Vermont and western Massachusetts with the aim of incorporating it into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers system. The Deerfield River and its tributaries flow through the Connecticut River Valley, and for centuries have served as an invaluable resource for its communities and the surrounding environment, including as an historic travel route for Native Americans alongside the Mohawk Trail. The legislation is endorsed by the Deerfield River Watershed Association and co-sponsored by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

“Every thirty seconds in the United States, we lose a football field-sized area of nature to human development. If we want to have any chance of leaving the world a better place for future generations, we need to make sure that conservation and environmental stewardship are national priorities,” said Chairman McGovern. “That’s why it’s time to add the Deerfield River and its tributaries to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The Deerfield River is beloved by so many, and the cooperative spirit that exists here is a model for watersheds everywhere. I’m thrilled to introduce this new legislation alongside Senator Markey to secure for the Deerfield River the national recognition it deserves.”

“Families in the Connecticut River Valley have swum, fished, canoed, rafted, and enjoyed the Deerfield River and the waters that flow from this beautiful waterway for centuries,” said Senator Markey. “Taking steps to protect the Deerfield River as wild and scenic will not only preserve its vital ecology, but honor its history and safeguard its future.”

"The Deerfield River is truly one of New England's greatest natural treasures, with outstanding whitewater boating, scenery and fishing, and the Deerfield River Watershed Association is excited to work with Senator Markey and Chairman McGovern to introduce legislation to consider the Deerfield River for potential addition to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System,” said Christopher Curtis, Vice President of the Deerfield River Watershed Association.

In 2019, Senator Markey introduced legislation to designate portions of the Nashua, Squannacook, and Nissitissit Rivers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire as scenic rivers under the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The legislation was signed into law that year as part of the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act.

McGovern has been a champion of environmental conservation and stewardship through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), bringing the Great American Outdoors Act to the House Floor in 2020 to permanently authorize $900 million for LWCF annually. Since its creation, LWCF has funded nearly $120 million toward open air and recreation projects in Massachusetts.