Vibrant, Healthy, free-flowing Waterways in the Blackstone Valley, Treasured by All

Board and Staff


The Blackstone River Watershed Association’s Board of Directors is a group of dedicated individuals that bring a diverse mix of interests and experience to the organization. Please take a moment to read the bios and learn more about these valued representatives.

Joanne HolahanJoanne Holahan (Director, President) has 22 years of middle school teaching experience. Through classroom and hands-on studies of the Blackstone River she introduces her students to Watershed issues. Her students were recipients of the John H. Chafee Heritage Award for their work on storm water pollution and the Secretary of Environmental Affairs Award for Outstanding Environmental Programs. They have participated in the certification the vernal pools, water quality testing and inquiry based studies of the Blackstone River. Joanne emphasizes community service by leading teams of students at BRWA river cleanups. She is an integral part of the BRWA Education Program and has been involved in the Blackstone River Coalition Water Quality Monitoring Program since its inception in 2003. She has a BS in Earth and Space Science from West Chester University and a master’s degree in education from Lesley University.

Joy Trahan-LiptakJoy Trahan-Liptak (Director, Vice President) has been involved in a variety of initiatives and events in the Blackstone Watershed. She has interned for the EPA working with local groups to promote the development of fish ladders in Rhode Island, studied pollutants in indicator organisms and served as a site captain for the Greenway Challenge. She holds a degree in Biology with a concentration in Ecology and Environmental Biology from WPI where her life-long interest in the environment extended to watershed management. She is currently an aquatic biologist for the MA Department of Conservation and Recreation and serves as a founding board member for her hometown’s land trust. Joy likes to spend much of her free time outdoors — hiking, fishing, and canoeing.

Tara NealTara Neal (Director, Treasurer) worked for over 10 years as an application developer and project manager. She holds a Master’s degree in Information Technology from Capella University and a BA in Physics from Wheaton College. Currently she focuses her time on raising her three young children. Tara has an appreciation for the beauty of the waterways in the Blackstone River Watershed and actively contributes to their protection and improvement. She is a volunteer with the Blackstone River Coalition Water Quality Monitoring Program and a frequent participant in BRWA river clean-ups. She enjoys sharing her love of the outdoors with her family, taking her children on nature hikes and encouraging them to explore the wonders of their own backyard.

Ken BedardKen Bedard (Director, Secretary) has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the former Worcester Industrial Technical Institute. He has worked in machine design and project management for many years. Currently he is a Pre-Sales / Applications Engineering manager for a pharmaceutical packaging equipment manufacturer and line integrator. He is an active volunteer of the Blackstone River Coalition as a Water Quality Monitor. Ken is an avid fishermen with a passion for Kayak fishing in our surrounding Lakes, streams and rivers. Ken's purpose to be active with the BRWA is to be part of an organization that is dedicated to improving and preserving the Eco System of the Blackstone River Watershed with the intention that generations of families can enjoy the beauty and natural resources that nature has to offer in our local environment.

Ted BeauvaisTed Beauvais (Director) worked for the US Forest Service for over 36 years as a forest hydrologist, district ranger, program manager and assistant director prior to retiring from headquarters in 2014. He graduated from Colorado State University with a BS degree in Forest Watershed Management. During his career he worked with numerous conservation partners and focused on open space conservation, private forests and their owners, and land use issues. He completed the Kennedy School of Government’s Senior Executive Fellows Program as well as intensive training at Yale and Clemson. Ted is a member of the Society of American Foresters and volunteers at the Harvard Forest, Blackstone River Coalition’s water quality monitoring program, AARP volunteer tax preparation for seniors, and participated in a planning committee with the Blackstone Heritage Corridor in 2016. Ted is concerned about natural resources and their protection and use and the water resources of Massachusetts.

Pieter de JongIn memorium, Pieter de Jong (former Director) We were so fortunate that a rather serendipitous event brought Pieter to the Blackstone Valley from Maryland and, in his semi-retirement, he chose to settle here. He fell in love with the natural beauty and history of the Blackstone River Valley and dedicated his time and expertise as an environmental planner not only to the Blackstone River Watershed Association but also to our partner organizations, the Blackstone River Coalition and the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, Inc.

Through his deep affection for and admiration of the Blackstone River watershed and its history, Pieter understood the need to promote, protect, and care for it. He will be remembered and honored for his generosity of spirit and his commitment to the mission and vision of the Blackstone River Watershed Association, for his active advocacy work and the many hours spent organizing activities like cleanups, paddles, and fishing events that brought people to the river that he loved so much.

We will remember Pieter as we cherish the Blackstone River watershed and all it has to offer. He will remain in our hearts as an exceptional advocate for this unique natural and historical treasure. Please see Pieter’s full obituary and tribute.

© The Blackstone River Watershed Association, 2013