On July 27, 1998, Vice President Al Gore designated the Connecticut River one of 14 American Heritage Rivers. The American Heritage River program was designed to restore the historic, economic, and environmental viability of some of the nation’s most important waterways. Since the 1998 designation, the Connecticut River has seen a number of improvements, including greater control of industrial run-off, the completion of new sewage treatment plants, and the implementation of erosion control and bacteria monitoring plans.
The Connecticut River Watershed is New England’s largest watershed, covering 11,000 square miles through four states. The river itself is 410 miles long and runs from northern New Hampshire to the Long Island Sound. Its waters powered the mills and facilitated the transportation that promoted the growth of New England industry, but years of neglect and pollution filled the Connecticut River with sewage and industrial waste.