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Senator Shaheen Visits Colebrook and Whitefield to Discuss the Connecticut River Watershed Partnership, Family Health Services and Infrastructure


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(Washington, DC) – Late last week, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) visited Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge in Whitefield to meet with environmental stakeholders and visit the Pondicherry Wildlife Sanctuary following the introduction of her legislation, the Connecticut River Watershed Partnership Act (CRWPA).

“Supporting waterways—like the Connecticut River—provides tremendous economic, environmental and recreational benefits and as climate change increases the severity and frequency of flooding, it’s important as ever to better protect our wetlands and watersheds,” said Shaheen. “I met with stakeholders to hear how my Connecticut River Watershed Partnership Act can help promote and fund restoration and protection efforts in the Connecticut River Watershed, as well as provide vital resources for communities throughout the region.”

“The Connecticut River and its extensive watershed is a key component of the natural, cultural and economic identity of our region,” said Jim O’Brien, Deputy State Director for The Nature Conservancy in New Hampshire. “The Nature Conservancy thanks Senator Shaheen for her leadership in sponsoring the Connecticut River Watershed Partnership Act, legislation modeled in the New Hampshire tradition of leveraging the diverse interests of the public and private sectors for collective action.   By working together to protect and restore the Connecticut River watershed, we are investing in the economic health and resiliency of our communities.”

The Connecticut River Watershed Partnership Act would direct restoration and protection efforts of the 5-State Connecticut River Watershed region and establish a voluntary grant program to facilitate these activities. This collaborative effort will benefit fish and wildlife habitats, protect drinking water sources, enhance flood resilience and help promote access to the Watershed’s public spaces, particularly for excluded and marginalized communities.

Shaheen also toured the new Coos County Family Dental Clinic and their Federally Quality Health Center (FQHC) to highlight the necessity of robust rural health care systems and celebrate the successful expansion of Coos County Family Health in Colebrook.

“Far too often, residents of rural towns are left with too few options for dental and health care treatment options,” said Shaheen. “The work being done at the Coos County Family Health Services facilities is helping to address this issue and expand dental and health care access in New Hampshire’s North Country.”

At the Coos County Family Health Services Dental Clinic, Shaheen discussed the shortage of dental services in the North Country, as well as the efforts being made to address this issue. Shaheen also toured Colebrook’s re-established FQHC. These facilities, like Coos County Family Health, utilize a sliding-scale fee system to ensure no one is left out of health care services, regardless of insurance status. Shaheen consistently advocates on behalf of expanding access to health care in New Hampshire’s rural communities. Following the closure of the previous FQHC, Indian Stream Health Center, Shaheen advocated to the Health Resources and Services Administration to allow for the expansion of Coos County Family Health Services into Colebrook to ensure patient access to care. Earlier this year, Shaheen helped introduce bipartisan legislation that would help build a health care workforce in rural and medically underserved areas by allowing international doctors to stay and practice in the United States following the completion of their residency.

Also last week, Shaheen observed the site of a planned rehabilitation project on Whitefield’s Union Street. Shaheen secured a $1.4 million congressionally directed spending (CDS) award for the project, which will support major infrastructure upgrades, including resolving longstanding drainage problems replacing water mains, reconstructing the roadway, building new sidewalks and adding street lighting.

“I stopped by Union Street in Whitefield today to learn more about the planned rehabilitation project I secured federal funding for, which will drastically improve the safety and usability of this road,” said Shaheen. “Once completed, this project will make a real difference to the residents who use it every day.”