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Tsongas Announces Signing of Bill She Authored to Protect Nashua River

Monday, Jan. 12 Congresswoman Niki Tsongas was joined by local conservation organizations at the offices of Nashua River Watershed Association in Groton to announce and celebrate passage and signing of the Nashua River Wild and Scenic River Study Act.

Congresswoman Tsongas authored and introduced the legislation and shepherded the bill through the legislative process, securing support from Republican leadership to ensure its passage. The bill was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate in December and signed into law by President Obama.

Nashua River Wild and Scenic River Study Act will take steps toward protecting Nashua River. It authorizes the National Park Service (NPS) to conduct a study on Nashua River and two of its tributaries, Squannacook and Nissitissit Rivers, to determine their eligibility for designation as Wild & Scenic Rivers.

The legislation has been endorsed by eight towns through which the Nashua runs in Massachusetts: Lancaster, Harvard, Shirley, Ayer, Groton, Dunstable, Pepperell, and Townsend. 

During the study process the NPS will work with state and local governments, conservation groups, and concerned residents to develop a conservation plan for the river in order to protect water quality and conserve open spaces. Should the study favorably determine the Nashua River's eligibility as a Wild & Scenic River, legislation to officially designate the river and implement the conservation plan would then be introduced in order to clean up polluted waters around the river, keep drinking water supplies clean, and protect the river for a variety of uses.

"The history and development of the towns and cities in the Third District of Massachusetts has been defined by the many rivers that course through these unique communities. The study initiated by this bill will allow the National Park Service, the Watershed Association, and local governments and stakeholders to work together in forming a plan to protect the Nashua River and ensure that it remains a central part of life and growth in our region," said Congresswoman Tsongas. "In 1999, 29 miles of the nearby Assabet, Sudbury, and Concord Rivers were designated as Wild and Scenic Rivers. Since then, we have seen how this designation can help protect not only the quality of the rivers, but the quality of the recreational activities that they support. It is my hope that the Wild and Scenic designation can be expanded to the Nashua River so we can see the same successes there. This step is essential to starting that process.

"I would like to thank Senator (Elizabeth) Warren and Senator (Ed) Markey for their efforts in the Senate to help usher this bill through the final stages of the legislative process. Also, the local organizations and conservation advocates deserve credit and thanks for their tireless efforts to preserve the Nashua River and all the extraordinary natural treasures located in the Third District."

Groton Herald

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