McGovern, Markey Reintroduce Bill to Protect Deerfield River

WASHINGTONToday, Rules Committee Ranking Member James P. McGovern (MA-02) and U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) announced that they are reintroducing the Deerfield River Wild and Scenic River Study Act, legislation that would begin the process of securing Wild and Scenic Status for major portions of the Deerfield River.

Their bill, first introduced last Congress, would commission 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 Representatives Richard Neal (D-MA) and Becca Balint (D-VT) and Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Peter Welch (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 Ranking Member McGovern. “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.”

“From whitewater rafting and fly fishing to the adjacent Mohawk Trail, the Deerfield River is an invaluable natural and recreational resource with deep roots in our Commonwealth’s history—we must preserve it,” said Senator Markey. “I am proud to introduce this legislation alongside my partner Congressman McGovern to protect this important river. I will continue to fight to safeguard the Deerfield River and preserve it for future generations.”

"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.