Vincent Tamagna was appointed as the "Hudson River Navigator" in September 2003 and has spent over a decade advocating, promoting and preserving the Hudson River Valley. As a long time river enthusiast and Chairman of the Putnam County Legislature, Vinny was directly involved from the beginning in having the Hudson River designated one of America’s fourteen American Heritage Rivers. Vinny’s experience at the time he assumed the position of Navigator allowed him to immediately get to work, through a grant to the Hudson River Valley Institute at Marist College.
Nearly two decades of experience in government has enabled Vinny to focus on environmental issues, preservation and economic development, the core mission of the American Heritage Rivers Initiative (AHRI). The Hudson River Navigator also serves as President of AHRI and is in process of establishing the American Heritage Rivers Alliance, an independent nonprofit board with principle representatives from the American Heritage Rivers. Though the federal dollars have sunset for this program it is an ongoing mission of the Alliance to establish program authorization. It is the feeling of the Alliance that the leveraged dollars, local community engagement and lack of burden on the federal government all gives merit to a program that has been a success for over a decade.
Current work includes advocacy for federal program authorization for the American Heritage Rivers, continued promotion and engagement in the White House initiatives for Save America’s Treasures and Preserve America, through the Council on Historic Preservation. As the Hudson River Navigator, Vinny prepared and submitted an application for Putnam County's designation as a "Preserve America" community. Thanks to his efforts, Putnam County was selected and Vinny received the award on behalf of the county from former First Lady Laura Bush, in a ceremony held at the White House. In 2010 Vinny was a staunch advocate for and actively promoted an initiative to keep National and State parks open in the face of budget cuts, and has supported Congressman Maurice Hinchey’s initiative to establish the Hudson River Valley region as a unit of the National Park Service.
Some of Vinny’s past achievements include assisting in the development of the twelve Patriot Gardens and the establishing of the Hudson River Valley Lighthouse Coalition. He has worked actively to revitalize, preserve and protect the character of many communities in the Hudson River Valley.
In fulfilling his mission of agricultural preservation, Vinny has been instrumental in the development of a local food network. By working with the Lower Hudson-Long Island Resource Conservation and Development Council and partnering with the USDA and the NYS Department of Agriculture he initiated "Fresh Off the Barge" which brings fresh New York State agricultural products to consumers via a barge on the Hudson river. The Hudson River Navigator often laments that the river corridor should be used as an active transportation corridor and could relieve road congestion and improve air quality. The Federal Department of Transportation is exploring the opportunities that exist and in 2010 invested in an agricultural transport initiative.
Vinny was also the Founder of the Lower-Hudson/Long Island Resource Conservation and Development Council and has been an advocate for the protection of the environment balanced with economic development/smart growth and tourism. The Hudson River Navigator has hosted conferences for the Hudson River Boat and Yacht Clubs and worked with the American Cancer Society and The American Lung Association on an Air Quality Conference for the Hudson River Valley. He also was a participant in the White House Conference on Travel and Tourism and served on the New York State Y2K Task Force.