Feds End ‘Blueways’ Program with Connecticut the Last River Standing

The federal government is discontinuing a program aimed at boosting partnerships to protect the nation’s rivers. The so-called “National Blueways System” ends with only the Connecticut River keeping the label.

Patrick Conlon is with Audobon Connecticut. He says the Blueways System was always about communication among government agencies and outside groups. He hopes the feds will someday re-start the program.

“I think that other watersheds will take a look at how this partnership is working. and perhaps say, ‘Well, that’s a Blueway and look at all the good that’s come out of it, maybe you could revisit it,’” Conlon says. “If there’s success in the Connecticut River watershed, other watersheds will also want to continue [the program].”

The U.S. Interior Department says federal agencies had a hard time devoting resources to the partnerships.

The project also caused controversy in Arkansas, where the department was forced to withdraw a Blueway recognition for the White River over confusion about potential regulations.

The feds launched the program in 2012, recognizing those involved in the Connecticut River watershed for their conservation efforts.