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American Heritage Rivers Initiative American Heritage Rivers Initiative

The American Heritage Rivers Initiative


Created by Executive Order 13061 in 1997 to recognize and support local efforts to restore and protect America's rivers and revitalizes river communities and waterfronts. Click here for Hudson River Navigator Reports.


Three complementary goals

Natural resource and environmental protection

Economic revitalization

Historic and cultural preservation

Locally-driven with focused federal assistance


Agencies were directed to establish and implement the initiative through more effective and better-coordinated delivery of existing federal services and resources and through partnerships with State, local and tribal governments and the private sector.


River Selection Process

Based on a competitive nomination process, and a blue-ribbon review panel that made recommendations to the white house, 14 rivers and river segments were select and designated from 126 nominees.  Nominees were received from 46 States and the District of Columbia, supported by nearly 200 Member of Congress, more than 500 mayors, and 21 governors of both parties.  The 14 designees included:


Detroit River (MI)

St. Johns River (FL)

Cuyahoga River (OH)

Lower Mississippi River (LA, TN)

Blackstone/Woonasquatucket Rivers (RI/MA)

Upper Mississippi (MN, WI, IL, MO, IA)

Connecticut River (CT, NH, MA, VT)

Rio Grande (TX)

Hudson River (NY)

Willamette River (OR)

Upper Susquehanna-Lackawanna Rivers (PA)

Hanalei River (HI)

Potomac River (MD, DC, PA, VA, WV)

New River (NC, VA, WV)


River Navigators

Each designated river received a "River Navigator," a federal or federally funded professional who identifies complementary programs and resources to carry out the community's vision for its river and surrounding community(ies).


CEQ Role

A small Federal headquarters coordination team in DC operates under the auspices of the AHRI Task Force, chartered by CEQ.  Federal partner agencies support and actively participate in the AHRI Interagency Committee chaired by CEQ Chairman James L. Connaughton and the AHRI Working Group that both meet regularly.


Hudson River Navigator Reports

Dredging Workbook

AHRI Rivers Map

State of the River Report 2003