Mr. COURTNEY. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Protection Act. I also want to thank my colleague, Congressman JIM LANGEVIN, for his unyielding efforts to introduce, promote and advance this important legislation.
As you know, the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Protection Act would initiate an important first step to potential National Wild and Scenic River designation for portions of the Chipuxet, Queen, Wood, and Pawcatuck Rivers in Connecticut and Rhode Island. Launching a study by the National Parks Service, this legislation could help to verify the outstanding beauty, abundant fisheries, and historic character that these free-flowing rivers currently provide our local communities and put this designated area on a path towards greater preservation.
Connecticut and Rhode Island are home to some of the most diverse habitats and natural resources, including the lands and waters of the Wood-Pawcatuck watershed. As stewards of this pristine 300 square mile area, it is our responsibility to ensure that these natural habitats are preserved and protected for generations to come. Our communities in Connecticut and Rhode Island have joined together to help protect this outstanding resource and preserve the area's biological diversity as well as its seemingly unlimited recreational opportunities. The relationship between the continued health of our local communities and the continued health of these waters is one that cannot and should not be overlooked.
The Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association and the Nature Conservancy have done an outstanding job advocating for the need and passage of this legislation, garnering the support of every town in the surrounding areas. It is evident that this locally-driven priority would benefit greatly from the public-private partnership that the Wild and Scenic designation entails, and I encourage this body to look favorably on this legislation so that a study for potential designation can begin.
I urge my colleagues to cast a vote in favor of H.R. 3388, the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Protection Act.