Blackstone River Watershed Association
|TIP OF THE MONTH
great way to lower outdoor water consumption and redirect stormwater is
to install a rain barrel. The roof of a typical 1500 sq ft cape style
house can supply a total of 225 gallons of water with only ½ inch of
rainfall. This water is suitable for all outdoor irrigation purposes.
This is a great example of a centuries old idea that is just as
relevant today. Rain barrels have become mainstream and can be
purchased at many garden centers, big box hardware stores and discount
outlets. Some cities and towns also offer them for sale.
Or you can do as our ancestors did and make your own. Here’s a link to one of many good videos on how to construct and use a rain barrel.
From The Editor
the modern environmental movement began, it was very much a grassroots
effort. The mission was clear and visible. The pollution of the air,
water and soil had reached levels impossible to ignore and people took
Nowadays we are confronted by complex environmental issues entangled in
scientific and political debate. National and international
organizations, staffed by professionals, advocate for the environment
in the highest legislative halls, courts, board rooms and back rooms on
the world stage. It may seem that we are disconnected from the
movement, powerless to affect positive change in the face increasingly
complex issues, and that grassroots advocacy is no longer effective or
relevant. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In this issue, two articles illustrate the fact that the old enemies of
the original environmental movement haven’t gone away. In the first
article, Board Member Steve MacIndoe shows us that litter is still very
much a problem in the watershed and that the accumulated trash is not
only an eyesore and threat to human health and wildlife, but also an
economic burden, as well. Then we link to an article from Peter Coffin
of the Blackstone River Coalition on the subject of stormwater
pollution and the reluctance to deal with it. Stormwater pollution is
the sneakier brother to our older, more obvious enemy - the direct
discharge of chemical waste and human pollutants into the water - but
is just as damaging. Improper storm water management causes pollutants
to be carried to our river in different ways, some obvious and some
subtle. It must be corrected.
As individuals, our efforts in advocating for our river and watershed
are far from irrelevant. Volunteering, involvement in local politics,
educating family and friends, supporting grassroots organizations like
the BRWA and just making good, informed choices all have the power to
change things for the better.
Litter Not Extinct On Our River - By Steve MacIndoe
up in the Blackstone Valley, the story is all too familiar. Native land
was taken by settlers. Natural resources were taken by corporations.
Resources fueled wealth and political power while waste was deposited
into what was once natural resources. This is the history that has
played out not only in the Blackstone River Valley, but all over the
world. This is not only an 1800’s problem, but a current problem. On
Earth Day, with this conflict in the back of my head, I was surprised
to see the opposite.
Early Saturday morning on Earth Day, I pulled into Riverdale Mill. I
was early and beat the group coming out to help clean up along the
river. Although the volunteers weren’t there yet, there were three
others that were there cleaning up the Blackstone River. These were not
volunteers. These were profit driven, employees of one of the last
remaining industrial manufacturing factories right here in Northbridge
The Riverdale Mill is hydro powered and relies heavily on the healthy
flow of the Blackstone River. One of the major obstructions to the flow
of the river is something we see every day; trash. The three full time
employees told me they are out there every day, pulling trash out of
the river that gets clogged in their filter. How much trash? They empty
their 30 yard dumpster once a week. Is it all trash? No. However, after
a recent flood, there were three full time employees spending 8 hours
doing nothing but pulling out debris and trash.
According to Riverdale Mill owner Jim Knott, the amount of trash he
pulls out of the river hasn’t gone down since he started running power
off of the river. He says that they are normally out there every day,
up to six times a day, pulling debris and trash out of the river. With
his restored 1901 turbine and his restored 1935 Westinghouse motor, he
has been fiscally attached to the health of the river since 1985 and
has profited off of the removal of our trash from our river. For me,
this is a new page in our industrial history.
Tempest Around Stormwater
A recent article by Blackstone River Coalition Coordinator Peter Coffin appeared in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette entitled "Tempest around storm water".
In the article, Peter addresses the problem of stormwater pollution in
our waterways and the overblown controversy over the impact of new EPA
stormwater permits on local cities & towns. Click on the title to
read the full article.
Support the BRWA!
not too late to support the Blackstone River Watershed Association's
membership drive! One hundred percent of our member donations are
invested in programs that support our mission to protect and restore
the Blackstone River and its tributaries. Your tax-deductible
contribution will support the BRWA's educational and outreach
initiatives that are developed to protect the quality of our water,
enhance critical habitat, and promote recreational activities in our
rivers. To learn more about us and how you can show your support,
please visit our website.
Blackstone Valley 101 Opens Window To History Of Industrialization
Computer-Based Learning Program Offers New Perspectives on Blackstone Valley
WOONSOCKET, RI —The John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National
Heritage Corridor Commission has announced the launch a new
Computer-Based Learning program: Blackstone Valley 101. This
interactive media program is designed to teach the general public about
the rich history and cultural significance of the Blackstone Valley,
and its impact on American Industrialization.
“We have a nationally significant story here in the Blackstone Valley.
This program helps us to tell that story using today’s technology”
according to Valerie Paul, Volunteer Coordinator at the Heritage
Corridor. Paul went on to say that “the program is designed to be used
by anyone who wants to learn more about our valley, including long term
residents, newcomers, volunteers, and people who interact with the
public as part of their work.”
Blackstone Valley 101, known as “BV101” by Heritage Corridor staff,
features six chapters about various aspects of the Blackstone Valley,
including: Industry in the Valley, People in the Valley, the Blackstone
River, the Blackstone Canal, the Environment, and The Blackstone Valley
Today. Participants can easily navigate between chapters with the
user-friendly interface and interactive browsing buttons.
At the end of the program, a test challenges the user about their
knowledge of the Blackstone Valley. Participants who score an 85% or
higher on the test will receive a lapel pin with the Blackstone Valley
101 logo, denoting their comprehensive understanding of the Blackstone
To learn more about the program, or to begin taking it, please click here.
First Member Paddle of 2010!
BRWA Member Paddle -- River Bend Farm -- June 27th, 2020
- BRWA members can use canoes for free from noon to 4:00PM.
- Family friendly event
- Canoes, paddles and life jackets are provided for kids and adults
- Childrens scavenger hunt identifying flora and fauna of the area
- Concert starts at 3:30 PM - Concerts in the Park series
|CALENDAR OF EVENTS
June is National Rivers Month info
National Pollinators Week info
Blackstone Valley Community Concert Band-River Bend Farm 3:30PM info
BRWA Member Paddle-River Bend Farm Noon-4PM
BRWA Board Meeting
BRC Water Quality Sampling
|IN YOUR COMMUNITY
Sewage Spill in Hopedale
June 1, 2010 the Milford Daily News reported that sewage from a failed
septic system at the Continuing Care Center in Hopedale, MA was leaking
into the neighboring wetland. The wetland includes a stream that flows
into the Mill River in Mendon. The Mill River ultimately flows into the
Blackstone River in Woonsocket, RI. It is unknown at this time if the
problem has been resolved. Click here for the full text of the article.
|OF GLOBAL INTEREST
iPhone App to Rescue Oiled Gulf Coast Wildlife
Amherst researchers have launched an iPhone App in an innovative
approach to assisting resource strapped Gulf Coast wildlife rescuers by
combining modern technology with citizen science. Here's the full story
EPA Proposes New Permit Requirements for Pesticide Discharges
response to an April 2009 court decision that found that pesticide
discharges to U.S. waters were pollutants, thus requiring a permit, the
EPA has released for public comment a proposed permit aimed at
protecting human health and water quality. More information can be
found in the EPA press release and the Proposed Pesticide General Permit website.
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:
The BRWA eNewsletter is published monthly by the Blackstone River Watershed
Association. BRWA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
- 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.
Editor: Michael Sperry email@example.com
Mailing address: BRWA, 271 Oak Street Uxbridge, MA 01569
Phone: 508-278-5200 Web: www.thebrwa.org
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