With a heritage of continental glaciers and centuries of settlement, rivers of New England and New York begin on the heights of the Adirondack, White, Green, Berkshire, and Longfellow Mountains. Owing in part to the ancient work of ice, waterfalls and rapids highlight these delightful paths, from the roar of Niagara to the splash of whispering brooks in shaded hemlock gorges. Native brook trout survive in remote enclaves, and wild Atlantic salmon persist, though struggle, in seven northern streams.

Winding through a uniquely historic and scenic landscape, these rivers draw millions of admirers from eastern cities.

They come to postcard-perfect villages of the Shepaug and Housatonic, to rapids of the Hudson, and to saltwater estuaries such as the Connecticut—where kayakers can paddle for miles at the edge of the megalopolis.

River exploitation began in this region with dams blocking salmon as far back as the 1600s, and streams through industrial belts were once polluted with textile dyes of every color. But now the river conservation movement is strong. Antiquated dams have been removed on rivers as large as Maine’s Kennebec.

Hundreds of cleanup and restoration milestones grace this region that boasts more watershed stewardship organizations than anywhere else—whole citizen armies dedicated to reclaiming the best of their rivers.

Key Issues

For years, American Rivers has led the effort to protect and restore the rivers of the Northeast by spearheading efforts to remove dams across the region on rivers including the Penobscot, Kennebec, and throughout the Connecticut River watershed.

These efforts, along with our work to reform dam operations, have restored hundreds of miles of rivers, improving conditions for fish and wildlife, recreation, and local economies. We have also been instrumental in securing Wild and Scenic River protections for rivers including the Taunton, Sudbury, Assabet, Concord and Farmington rivers.

Today, the Connecticut River Basin is one of American Rivers’ priority river basins. We are working to remove outdated dams, ensure clean water and leave a legacy of healthy rivers for future generations.