Blackstone River Watershed Association
Blackstone River Watershed Association
In This Issue



Member Paddles Are Back!

34th Annual Canoe & Kayak Race

Earth Day Cleanup a Success!

Follow-up to Organic Lawns Coffee & Conservation

Tree Clearing - Volunteers Needed

Employment Opportunity



Bears in Blackstone, Bellingham


Wildlife Webcams

BRWA Online
About the BRWA


Issue 5 May 2010

The average family of four uses between 30,000 to 45,000 gallons of water every six months.

Conservation measures that you can use inside your home include:
  • Fix leaking faucets, pipes, toilets, etc.
  • Install water saving devices in faucets, toilets and appliances.
  • Wash only full loads of laundry.
  • Do not use the toilet for trash disposal.
  • Do not let the water run while brushing teeth or shaving.
Conservation measures to conserve water outside are:
  • Water the lawn and garden in the early morning or evening.
  • Use mulch around plants and shrubs.
  • Repair leaks in faucets and hoses.
  • Use water – saving nozzles.


The BRWA Needs You!
By now, you should have received mailings asking you to join or renew your membership in the BRWA. If you have responded, we heartily welcome and thank you. If not, please act now to show your support for our mission. Your membership is vital to the important work of protecting and restoring the Blackstone River and its tributaries. Even if you haven't heard from us, now is a great time to join. Remember, you can join or renew online using Paypal.

There are also many ways to volunteer your time and talent in support of the BRWA. In addition to the posted volunteer opportunities, we always welcome enthusiastic people to contribute to our programs. A look at our Three-Year Action Plan will give you an idea of the varied opportunities there are to help.


Member Paddles Are Back!
BRWA member paddles at River Bend Farm in Uxbridge, MA are back this year! The first member paddle will be held in conjunction with Canal Fest Heritage Day on June 27, 2010. BRWA members can use canoes for free on Sunday afternoon from noon to 4:00PM.

This is a family friendly event. BRWA members will be around to helpmember paddle_father-son piggyback with putting the canoe into the Blackstone Canal and taking it out. Life jackets are provided for kids and adults. Children can also participate in a scavenger hunt. They will be given a card with photos of flora and fauna of the area and will be asked to match these to what they see while canoeing on the Canal.

Not a member? You can join the BRWA anytime at or join the day of the event.

Member paddles will be held from June through September in conjunction with Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park events. More dates will be announced as they are finalized. Check the BRWA website for updates.
tandem canoe in canal_paddlers waving
Blackstone River and Canal State Park is 1000 acre natural area offering walking and hiking paths, canoe access, picnic areas and a broad expanse of the Blackstone River known as Rice City Pond, which is a great area for watching wildlife.


34th Annual Blackstone River Watershed Association Canoe and Kayak Race
Another year – another great race! This year our challenge was a lack of water in the river and Mother Nature was not kind in providing us the rain Peter Schotanus taking out K1 long Race 2010we requested to fill the river. Still, we had a good turnout - 24 Kayaks and 25 Canoes with 74 paddlers in total from MA, RI, CT, NH and ME. Our fastest kayak paddler coming in at 1:54:10 was Lou Carrier from Stamford, CT. Lou was in a long kayak. Our fastest canoe was a racing tandem at 1:52:15 flown by Kevin Boss of Swansea, MA and Bill Brown of Bridgewater, MA. We had some new faces this year and some long time favorites who have come back. Frank Oleksyk ran solo thisFrank Oleksyk in Kayak K1 Long Race 2010 year for the first time in over 12 years. His 16 year old son abandoned him this year so Frank went to long kayak from tandem canoe. The B class long kayak paddlers are now afraid....very afraid, as Frank turned in a great finish! Ed Halpin and Peter Olson gave the masters a run for their lives. Ed and Peter pretty much wiped out their competition – some much younger competition! Congrats!

Complete Race results are posted here.

Food was provided by The Daily Bread of Whitinsville and it was great. Their desserts were raved about as were their sandwiches. Strawberry shortcake and huge cookies ruled the food this year. Sam Bowen returned with his wonderful music. We look forward to seeing Sam next year as well and you can see Sam locally.

There are so many volunteers to thank! Our biggest thank you goes to Cal Kooistra who is leaving us this year to retire to Florida. We will miss Cal dearly!

We would like to thank all of our volunteers: Ranger Chuck Arning, Bill Paul, Val Stegemeon and the DCR staff at River Bend Farm, Frank Oleksyk, June and Steve Pope, Dona Neely, Sandy Neely, Michelle Walsh, Cindy Janek-Ashwood, Kim Ashwood, Steve MacIndoe, Richard Chiros, Linda Thomas, Jim Plasse, Christian and Michael Potter, Robert Gallerane and Joe Packard from the Wampy Paddlers, Mike Sperry, Jeanne Breton, Tim Nutt, Hal Mahoney, Dennis Ditullio, and and.....I hope I didn’t miss anyone!

We would like to thank our sponsors. Without them this race would not be possible. Our thanks go to: Alternatives Unlimited, Inc. of Whitinsville, Washington Mills of Grafton, Rubber Stamp Company of South Grafton, Temp Flex Cable of South Grafton, Walmart of Northbridge, Atlas Box and Crating Co of Sutton, Goretti’s Supermarket of Millbury, Millbury Savings Bank and John’s Jon of Upton. Please thank them for their support.

Well folks – another year come and gone but race planning for next year has started. We’ll see you May 21, 2011 – same time, same place but hopefully with more water in the river!! We’ll be looking for volunteers to clean the trees and debris in the spring as well as work pre-race and on race day. Thank you all – we appreciate your participation!


Earth Day Cleanup a Success!
The BRWA sponsored an Earth Day Cleanup on April 24, 2010 in partnership with Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) 4th Annual Park Serve Day.

One hundred and fifteen volunteers participated in the cleanup along the banks of the Mumford River in Uxbridge, the Blackstone River in Douglas, Northbridge, Uxbridge and Millbury, at the Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park in Uxbridge, and Purgatory Chasm State Reservation in Sutton. The volunteers included students from Blackstone-Millville Regional High School, members of the Church of the Nazarene in Uxbridge, members of Boy Scout Troop 25 in Uxbridge, Cub Scouts and Brownies, friends of the Tender Beauty Foundation, local geo-cachers, families, BRWA members and other individuals interested in improving water quality.

Governor Patrick with students Earth Day 2010 Twelve students from Blackstone-Millville Regional High School (BMRHS) and their teacher Mr. Tim Johnson worked at Purgatory Chasm State Reservation spreading mulch along-side Massachusetts governor, Deval Patrick as part of the Park Serve Day activities. The governor congratulated the students for their volunteer efforts and shook each ones hand. Other BMRHS students worked at a canoe access site on Rte. 122 in Uxbridge doing some repairs to the boat launch due to damage caused by the recent flooding.
Cal, Steve & a pickup load of trash
The 115 volunteers collected over 100 bags of trash, a television, 25 tires, a sofa, an empty 50 gal. barrel, a bicycle frame, wheel and tire, two large hoses and construction debris.

Following the cleanup volunteers enjoyed pizza and refreshments at River Bend Farm Visitor Center in Uxbridge, MA.
Earth Day Cleanup 2010 Group Photo
More Clean Up photos and articles can be found on the BRWA website.


Follow-up to Organic Lawns Coffee & Conservation
As a follow-up to our first Coffee & Conversation event, Organic Lawns: Help Your Lawn Go "Green", we're sharing some valuable information.

By “greening” your lawn and gardens, you prevent the pollution from fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides from flowing into the stormdrains and streams of the Blackstone Watershed while making your yard a natural and safe place for you, your family, your pets, and your neighbors to enjoy. Learn more from these 10 tips.

For more good information:
MassDEP Lawns & Landscapes In Your Watershed
Lawn Care Academy Understanding Organics and Organic Lawn Fertilizer


Tree Clearing - Volunteers Neededdowned trees near towpath
Numerous trees have fallen across the river between Goat Hill Lock and Plummers Landing in Northbridge. This has made the river impassable and is causing the water to be diverted off its natural path. Want to help clear the way? Contact Cal Kooistra at to learn about Saturday work parties being organized.


Employment Opportunity
Are you looking for an exciting opportunity to work for the organization that is working to protect and improve the Watershed? BRWA is now searching for an Outreach Coordinator. Click here. for a position description




May is American Wetlands Month  info
**** June is National Rivers Month  
6/10 BRWA Board Meeting
6/12 BRC Water Quality Sampling
6/27 Canal Fest Heritage Day-River Bend Farm  
6/27 BRWA Member Paddle-River Bend Farm Noon-4PM  


Bears in Blackstone, Bellingham
Earlier this week, an adult black bear and two cubs were seen at the Hartnett Middle School in Blackstone resulting in a lockdown of the school. Two days later, a teenage black bear was spotted raiding a bird feeder in Bellingham. Black bear population has increased steadily in Massachusetts over the past 40 years and sightings, though rare, are not unprecedented in the Watershed. Black bears will rarely harm people but may become dangerous if they get too used to humans and human food sources. To discourage bear encounters in residential areas, remove bird feeders, secure trash containers and eliminate any potential outdoor food source. For more information on the natural history of and conflict avoidance with black bears and what to do if you see a black bear, go to the MassWildlife Living with Black Bears web page. This is part of the excellent MassWildlife "Living with Wildlife" series.



Wildlife Webcams
One of the the benefits of the World Wide Web is the availability of web connected cameras or webcams. Users have set up webcams for a variety of purposes, one of which is the live viewing and monitoring of wildlife. This gives us the opportunity to get a glimpse of wild or exotic creatures we would otherwise never see and to observe their behavior in a relatively natural setting. Listed below are links to a few bird webcams. Feel free to share your favorite wildlife cams with the editor and we'll publish them in a future newsletter.

Channel Islands Live Bald Eagle Webcam

Biodiversity Research Institute (Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Osprey, Loon, Finch)

Hummingbird Nest Cam (California)

Wild Birds Unlimited Owl Box Cam

Views & opinions expressed in linked websites do not necessarily state or reflect those of the BRWA.


Your input is crucial to this eNewsletter. If you have a local watershed-related story, information of interest to our subscribers, or comments about this publication, drop an email to the editor.

The Blackstone River Watershed Association (BRWA) has a mission to enhance and preserve the Blackstone River system and its watershed; its objectives are to:
  • Educate members, supporters, watershed residents on watershed protection strategies,
  • Engage the public in watershed stewardship activities, and
  • Improve the water quality and esthetics of the Blackstone River Watershed’s water bodies.
The BRWA eNewsletter is published monthly by the Blackstone River Watershed Association. BRWA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Editor: Michael Sperry
Mailing address: BRWA, 271 Oak Street Uxbridge, MA 01569
Phone: 508-278-5200  Web:

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