THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Vice President


For Immediate Release
Wednesday, July 22, 1999
Contact:
(202) 456-7035

VICE PRESIDENT GORE ANNOUNCES $819,000 TO ENHANCE CONNECTICUT RIVER, SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES

Cornish, NH -- Vice President Gore today announced a total of $819,000 from various federal sources to enhance the historic, environmental and economic resources of the Connecticut River and its communities.

The Connecticut River was designated an American Heritage River last year, and today's awards are a portion of the federal resources redirected to the river as a result of that designation.

Like a grand main street, the Connecticut River is 410 miles long and runs through the center of New England's commerce, community, history and culture. The Connecticut River was one of 14 rivers selected out of 126 rivers nominated for the designation.

"The Connecticut River community has a vision of a river with clean running water, migrating salmon, many recreational uses with protected open lands, wildlife areas, paths and access for everyone, and urban riverfront development," Vice President Gore said. "Today the federal government is providing funds to start making that vision a reality."

Also, the Vice President announced that the four river states of New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut had joined with a dozen federal agencies and more than 20 community partners in agreeing to a work plan of 29 local projects along the river. Gore also announced the federal government had named Daniel Burke, a six year employee of the Environmental Protection Agency, as the "Connecticut River Navigator," a full time federal employee dedicated to accomplishing the projects included in the joint plan.

Today's announcement includes:

River Restoration/Flood Damage Control and Prevention: A $350,000 block grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for environmental projects along the Connecticut River in New Hampshire.

Scenic Byway Visitor Center: A $215,000 Federal Highway Administration grant for a Scenic Byway Visitor Center in Sullivan County.

Support for Community-led Improvement Projects: A $100,000 partnership grant from the National Park Service to the Connecticut River Joint Commission -- which will make 25 grants to local efforts to support the joint work plan.

Restoring Fish Habitat: A $50,000 grant from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to the state of Vermont for the study of Atlantic salmon on the Connecticut River; a $20,000 to the Connecticut River Watershed Council for construction of a fishway to allow migrating species access to habitat.

Sustainable Riverbanks Funding: A $50,000 grant from EPA to the Connecticut River Watershed Council and the Connecticut River Joint Commission to carry out a Sustainable Riverbanks component of the joint work plan.

Help for Local Farmers: A $34,000 grant from the USDA to the New Hampshire Department of Agruculture to help local farmers find markets for their products.

Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program: A $10,000 grant to a local landowner from the Natural Resources Conservation Service to promote wildlife habitat preservation on agricultural lands.

National Heritage Corridor Support: A $10,000 National Park Service grant to the Connecticut River Watershed Council to determine the public's preferences in a national heritage corridor study directed by Congress.

In his 1997, President Clinton in his State of the Union address announced his American Heritage Rivers Initiative to support local efforts to enhance America's rivers and river fronts. The American Heritage Rivers initiative has three objectives: natural resource and environmental protection, economic revitalization, and historic and cultural preservation. The President subsequently directed federal agencies to establish and implement the Initiative, focusing authorized programs to solve local problems at communities' requests. The initiative creates no new regulatory requirements for property owners or state, tribal, or local governments.

For more information on the American Heritage Rivers Initiative, please go to http://www.epa.gov/rivers/.

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