LOWER FARMINGTON RIVER AND SALMON BROOK WILD AND SCENIC RIVER STUDY ACT OF 2005 -- (House of Representatives - November 13, 2006)
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Mrs. JOHNSON of Connecticut. I thank the gentleman. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of S. 435, the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook Wild and Scenic River Study Act of 2005. Once passed, the bill will designate a segment of the Farmington River and Salmon Brook in the State of Connecticut for study for potential addition to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. I would like to thank the chairman of the Resources Committee, Mr. Pombo, for bringing this legislation to the floor and for working with me to ensure that this important study can commence promptly.
The bill commissions a feasibility study to evaluate whether the Lower Farmington River and the Salmon Brook qualify as a Wild and Scenic Partnership River within the National Park Service's Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The Lower Farmington River is defined as the 40-mile stretch between the end of the west branch of the Farmington River in Canton, Connecticut, and the Rainbow Dam in Windsor, and the Salmon Brook, an additional 32-mile stretch in the top 12 in the State of Connecticut for diversity of aquatic insects it hosts. The study area crosses both the Fifth and First Congressional Districts. The Farmington River and Salmon Brook's recreational and environmental contributions to our State are well-known and a valuable resource for future generations.
The 14 miles of the Farmington River's west branch, designated as a Wild and Scenic Partnership River in 1994, is a resounding environmental and economic success story. Partnership designation for the west branch has fostered public-private partnerships to preserve the area's environment and heritage while yielding economic benefits to river towns. Its designation has preserved it as a home to trout, river otter, and bald eagle populations; and historic structures still grace its banks. Fishermen, hikers, canoeists, and kayakers enjoy the river year-round.
I hope to see the rest of the Farmington River, as well as Salmon Brook, enjoy similar success. This new initiative is a an ideal way to showcase the whole river's unique cultural and recreational resources. The direct economic impact of the final designation is estimated at $3 million and an additional $9 million in total economic impact from recreational users.
This legislation has broad bipartisan support at the local, State, and Federal level, and I urge my colleagues' support for the bill.
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