Press Release

Welch, Sanders, and Balint Introduce First Legislation as Vermont Delegation, Take Action to Protect Vermont Waterways

Feb 15, 2023

The Nulhegan River and Paul Stream Wild and Scenic River Study Act key step to ensure waterways remain free-flowing and healthy

WASHINGTON – Senator Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Representative Becca Balint (D-Vt.) today introduced the Nulhegan River and Paul Stream Wild and Scenic River Study Act, taking an important step to protect the ecological, recreational, and economic value of these Northern Vermont waterways.  

The Nulhegan River and Paul Stream Wild and Scenic River Study Act is the first legislation Sen. Welch, Sen. Sanders, and Rep. Balint have introduced as a delegation, following the retirement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) at the end of the 117th Congress. It is also the first legislation Sen. Welch and Rep. Balint have introduced as members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives. 

“Healthy rivers are essential to our state’s ecology and play an important role in our tourism and recreation economy,” said Sen. Welch. “This bill is a critical step to protect the Nulhegan River and Paul Stream. And it’s a good example of our delegation’s priorities for the 118th Congress: from environmental conservation to economic development and affordability issues, this delegation is focused on supporting the state we love and addressing the issues that matter to Vermonters. I’m honored to work alongside Rep. Balint and Sen. Sanders to introduce this legislation and to continue fighting for Vermont values here in Washington.” 

“Vermont’s rivers are some of our most precious natural resources, and we must do everything we can to protect them for future generations,” said Sen. Sanders. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to preserve the Nulhegan River for our children and grandchildren.” 

“Vermonters know the value of preserving our lands and waterways. This bill is an important step toward protecting the Nulhegan River for generations to come,” said Rep. Balint. “In my first opportunity to introduce federal legislation, I’m proud to work with Senators Welch and Sanders to prioritize preserving our state’s natural resources,”  

“The Nulhegan is one of Vermont’s most wild rivers,” said Noah Pollock, a representative of the Vermont River Conservancy. “We appreciate the efforts of Senator Welch, Senator Sanders, and Representative Balint to help authorize a study to better understand the river’s values and to explore community interest in Wild and Scenic River designation.”

A broad coalition of local municipalities, cultural and regional groups, and environmental conservation groups have supported the request for a wild and scenic river study of the Nulhegan River and Paul Stream in recent years, including the organizations listed below.  

To read the bill, please click here


  • Town of Brighton 
  • Town of Maidstone 
  • Town of Bloomfield 
  • Unified Towns and Gores of Essex County (Averill, Avery’s Gore, Ferdinand, Lewis, Warrens Gore, Warner’s Grant) 
  • Abenaki Nation 
  • Northeast Vermont Development Authority 
  • Connecticut River Joint Commission 
  • Native Fish Coalition 
  • Northwoods Stewardship Center 
  • Nature Conservancy 
  • Essex County Natural Resource Conservation District 
  • Vermont River Conservancy 
  • Trout Unlimited 
  • Backcountry Hunters and Anglers 
  • Northern Forest Canoe Trail