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McGovern, Markey begin push for federal 'Wild and Scenic' designation for Deerfield River

The Deerfield River, which runs from southern Vermont into western Massachusetts, could become part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.

U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern and U.S. Sen. Ed Markey announced legislation to start the process with a study. If eventually approved, an official National Wild and Scenic Rivers designation would bring about $200,000 a year to the watershed.

On Monday morning, standing on a bridge over the Deerfield River, McGovern said the legislation is something hopeful, in the middle of a lot of depressing news.

“It's about making communities like Deerfield a destination point for people from not only all over New England, but all over the country," McGovern said. “I will take care of it in the [U.S.] House and we have to attach it to something that is a must-pass piece of legislation. But we will get this designation, which will enable us to have access to a whole bunch of federal money.”

The funds could go toward improving wildlife habitat and access for fishing and swimming. Local officials said they would feel the benefits of an economic ripple effect.

The nearby Westfield River already has the federal designation.

Jill has been a reporter and host at NEPM since 2005. Before that she spent 10 years at WBUR in Boston, producing The Connection with Christopher Lydon, Morning Edition, reporting and hosting. In the months leading up to the 2000 presidential primary in New Hampshire, Jill hosted NHPR’s daily talk show The Exchange. Right before coming to NEPM, Jill was an editor at PRX's The World.

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