Thank you Mr. Chairman. I am pleased to be a cosponsor of H.R. 1 307, the Musconetcong Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, sponsored by my colleague from New Jersey, Mr. Garrett, with bipartisan support from every member of New Jersey's Congressional Delegation. I want to welcome and thank Susan Dickey for making the trip down from New Jersey to testify in support of this important legislation. Ms. Dickey is Chair of the Musconetcong Advisory Committee, a former Warren County Freeholder, and currently serves as County Surrogate. Ms. Dickey represents the tremendous local support for designating the Musconetcong as a Wild & Scenic River.
The Musconetcong is one of New Jersey's great rivers. The Musconetcong River Valley is a primary source of drinking water, critical fish & wildlife habitat and provides abundant recreational opportunities. Passage of this bill will help conserve working farmlands, historic villages and outstanding natural areas. Its protection is vital to the environmental, social and economic health of the mostly densely populated state in the nation.
The Musconetcong Watershed lies entirely within the broader NJ Highlands region, which supplies drinking water to over half the population of New Jersey. The Highlands region was recognized as nationally significant by Congress last year through passage of the Highlands Conservation Act, which was signed into law by the President a year ago this month. The legislation before us today will help conserve this important region. H.R. 1307 is based upon the Musconetcong River Management Plan, which was created by an Advisory Committee consisting of municipal representatives and members of the Musconetcong Watershed Association, with assistance from the National Park Service. Thirteen local municipalities and three counties have expressed their support for including the Musconetcong in the National Wild & Scenic Rivers System.
I join my colleague, Mr. Garrett, in urging your support for H.R. 1307, to designate the Musconetcong as a Wild & Scenic River, to ensure that it remains a source of clean water, fish & wildlife habitat, scenic beauty and opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors for present and future generations of our densely populated state.