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Turners Fall Power Canal, Connecticut River by Al Braden.jpg


We advocate for clean water, healthy habitats, and resilient communities throughout the entire Connecticut River watershed. From advancing legislation to getting our feet wet gathering data and meeting with concerned citizens in town meetings, our River Stewards are a multi-faceted team of many talents. CRC’s four focus states of NH, VT, MA, and CT each have a dedicated staff member with distinct annual priorities.

CRC’s advocacy includes: 

Long river graphic.

Comments on State & Federal Permits 

Every year there are a range of permits related to development, wastewater, or natural resources that we can influence to be more river-friendly. One of the most significant right now is hydropower relicensing where we have been fighting on behalf of the Connecticut River – and the wildlife and communities it supports – for 12 years. More details here.  

Policy Development

Each of the 4 states we focus on has unique environmental agendas and bills that can benefit or harm our rivers and ecosystems. Our River Stewards advance and promote legislation, including commenting on both state and federal procedural rules, that offers the most sustainable vision of a thriving future for our rivers and watershed communities. 

Community Engagement

Public participation and engagement of local communities are vital in protecting our rivers. We engage with students, conservation commissions, recreation enthusiasts, volunteers, and many others to hear from and represent the public in our shared vision of supporting healthy, accessible rivers for all.  


Collaboration is a core value of Connecticut River Conservancy, which is why our advocacy work relies on partnerships and sitting on a myriad of committees to ensure we have a voice at the table, can identify and fill in resource gaps, and represent the interests of both local human communities and the wildlife we all love.  

CRC’s River Stewards send monthly state-specific emails to keep you informed about the latest river news in New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

Meet the River Stewards

Kate Buckman Connecticut River Conservancy. Woman smiling in sunglasses and red sweatshirt, holding water testing gear and standing in front of a river.
Kate Buckman

New Hampshire

River Steward

kbuckman at

Kathy Urffer Connecticut River Conservancy. Woman smiling in front of the Connecticut River in Vermont.
Kathy Urffer

Director of Policy & Advocacy/ Vermont River Steward

kurffer at

Nina Gordon Kirsch Connecticut River Conservancy. Woman smiling in a blue shirt and backwards cap in front of a lake with trees in the background.
Nina Gordon-Kirsch


River Steward

ngordonkirsch at
413-772-2020 ext. 216

Rhea Drozdenko Connecticut River Conservancy. Woman smiling while holding a jar of water sample and standing in front of the Connecticut River in Hartford CT, cityscape in the background.
Rhea Drozdenko


River Steward

rdrozdenko at
413-772-2020 ext. 203

Closeup of Bellows Falls Dam on the Connecticut River in Vermont by Al Braden.

Hydropower Relicensing

Since late 2012, five hydroelectric facilities in the heart of the Connecticut River have been in the process of renewing their operating licenses in a process known as relicensing. The licenses for two facilities in northern MA and three dams in southern VT and NH will endure for the next 30-50 years and impact more than 175 miles of the Connecticut River. It’s critical that we all speak up NOW in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to influence these operating licenses. 

From the Connecticut River’s headwaters to Long Island Sound, here are CRC’s current advocacy priorities for each state. 

New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, CRC’s 2024 major advocacy foci are hydropower, water quality, migratory fish habitat, and community building. We are collaborating with the VT and MA River Stewards on mainstem relicensing, but also tracking and commenting on permitting processes for numerous hydro projects on NH tributaries.


We are working to expand our volunteer water quality monitoring to more of NH, and collaborating with CRC’s Ecology Planner and state and federal agency staff to expand our knowledge of where migratory fish are found in NH so that we can advocate for increased protection of these waters.


These and other efforts are not possible without collaboration, and we are constantly working to build our partner and member base in NH. Please contact Kate if any of these initiatives pique your interest or if you have questions or concerns about the NH watershed. 

Photo: Connecticut River Falls below Second Lake - by Al Braden

Connecticut River Falls below Second Lake NH by Al Braden. Rushing river with large stones and tall trees along the riverbank.
Vernon Dam in Vermont on the Connecticut River by Al Braden.


CRC is working in Vermont to support climate resiliency policies and funding to protect our rivers and communities.  We are supporting S213 which will address pollution of polystyrene dock floats, protect wetlands and river corridors, and create more appropriate oversight of dams to increase flood resiliency in our communities.


We are continuing to fight for our rivers in the 40-year-long licenses that govern the Wilder, Bellows Falls, and Vernon hydro facilities. We are supporting efforts to reclassify the Whetstone Brook to protect the trout fishery, preserving outstanding scenic and recreational areas on the Williams River, and protecting Roundy’s and Herrick’s Coves in Rockingham.


We are bringing people to the river on guided pontoon boat trips this summer to bolster the opportunities that our recreational economy can provide. 

Photo: Vernon Dam on the Connecticut River - by Al Braden


In Massachusetts, CRC is focusing on bringing awareness to combined sewer overflows, working on the decade+ hydro relicensing projects, eradicating aquatic invasive species, and collaborating with other watershed groups in the Valley to get residents engaged in their local rivers.


The MA and CT River Stewards are working together to educate the public on what combined sewer overflows are, why they happen, and what we can do about it. We are also committed to the FERC relicensing process for Turner’s Falls and Northfield Mountain hydroelectric projects. This federal relicensing process only happens once in a generation and now is our chance to step up and protect our rivers! 

And of course, CRC has ongoing work in MA to remove dams, restore ecological habitats, and help residents prepare for the impending impacts of climate change. 

Photo: The Oxbow in Northampton - by Al Braden

The Oxbow in Northampton MA, Connecticut River, by Al Braden.
Connecticut River in Hartford by Al Braden. Boat moving away from foreground on the river, with trees on the riverbanks and a cityscape in the background.


CRC is working in Connecticut to keep our rivers clean and riverbanks green!


We prevent pollution in our rivers by pushing for laws that ban certain types of plastics like nip bottles, and reduce our reliance on harmful PFAs. We encourage nature-based solutions to climate change including green infrastructure and protecting the vital trees along our riverbanks.  We push for increased funding and attention to aquatic invasive species that threaten our waterways like hydrilla and water chestnut.


We’re working with the Scantic River Watershed Association to create a watershed-based plan for the Scantic River. And as members of the Long Island Sound River Restoration Network (RRN), we advocate for increased funding for stream barrier removal in the region.  

Photo: Connecticut River in Hartford - by Al Braden

Advocacy News

For questions about CRC’s advocacy work, please find the contact information of the River Steward for your state  on our staff page. 

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