Blackstone River Watershed Association
Blackstone River Watershed Association
In This Issue


Green Your Piece of the Earth

Purple Loosestrife

Park Activities at River Bend Farm

Gubernatorial Candidate Forum

Watch for Turtles and other "Road Warriors"

Blackstone Valley Adventure Pack



Blackstone Valley Heritage Markets

Hopedale - Low Water Levels

Outdoor Watering Restrictions


National River Rally

BRWA Online
About the BRWA


Issue 7 July 2010

Safe Disposal of Medicines
It is estimated that each year, approximately 200 million pounds of prescribed medicines go unused. In the home, these drugs present a poison risk for children & teens. Improper disposal either by flushing down the drain or depositing in the trash leads to pollution of lakes & rivers and soil contamination posing a risk to our drinking water supply and to the food chain.

But what to do?

The FDA has a website with a list of drugs that are considered safe for disposal by flushing.

The Federal Guidelines for the Proper Disposal of Prescription Drugs provides a simple disposal method for substances that can’t be flushed.

Avoid contact with the drugs (don’t crush tablets or open capsules).

Perhaps the best approach is to bring unused drugs to a drug take-back program if one is available in your community. The National Community Pharmacists Association has launched a “Dispose My Meds” campaign. They provide a website,, with information on the disposal issue and a list of participating pharmacies (somewhat limited in our area).

If in doubt, your pharmacist or local health agent should be able to answer any disposal questions.



Green Your Piece of the Earth
Join us on August 8, 1:30-3:00p, at River Bend Farm, to learn about simple things you and your family can do to Green Your Piece of the Earth! We’ll have a knowledgeable speakers, hands-on demonstrations, and take-away literature available to show how you can easily:
  • Compost your food scraps and yard debris and get rich, organic soil – for free
  • Use a rain barrel to capture rain water for landscaping – conserve water and save money
  • Adjust downspouts to divert precious rain water back into the ground, not down the storm drain
  • Attract butterflies to your yard by incorporating the right plants in your garden
  • And lots more!
Topic details and times will be posted on the website soon. Come for one, come for all!


A Beauty and a Beast - By Dona Neely
Purple Loosetrife plantA swath of the exotic Purple Loosestrife plants is a beautiful sight to behold. One can be awestruck by the sight of a sea of vibrant long purple flowers shimmering in the sun.

The Purple Loosestrife is a hearty plant, with an extended flowering season from June to September and an ability to spread widely and grow rapidly. One plant can produce as many as three million seeds per year, which have a survival rate of 60-70% and are easily dispersed. Its underground stems grow an average of one foot per year and many new stems emerge from a rootstock established the previous year.

Translation: The Purple Loosestrife plant can rapidly take over any type of wetland area and displace native plant species. Its invasion reduces biodiversity, eliminates food sources, degrades habitats, and chokes waterways.

New establishments of the invasive plant can be managed by pulling the plant and its root system out of the ground in late June or early July, before the flowers go to seed. Cutting off flower spikes (this year’s and last’s) will help minimize its spread and cutting the stem to the ground can help to inhibit growth. Plants and seeds must be properly disposed of – not composted – to prevent their spread elsewhere.

Established stands can be difficult if not impossible to eradicate. Some success is being noted in areas using biological control with the release of a beetle that is its natural enemy, but this process typically requires new releases over multiple years before the Purple Loosestrife starts to recede.

This is one of the plants the BRWA will be targeting with its new invasive plants program. Want to help? Take note of where you see this beast, as the organization will be collecting information to map problem areas. Learn more about how to identify and manage the plants; is one of many great online resources.

You can also join us for our annual pull along the Mill River in Hopedale on Saturday, July 17 – call or email for more details and to RSVP. Don’t fall for this beauty!


Programs Announced - Blackstone River & Canal Heritage State Park
The Blackstone River & Canal Heritage State Park has announced it's Summer 2010 Interpretive Programs. Join Park Interpreter Janita Ducharme at River Bend Farm for these fun, family-friendly events.

Upcoming events:

Henry Lappen (storyteller - "A Passion for Birds") July 18th @ 2:30 pm

Fridays 10:30-11:30 Kidleidoscope Kids Story Hour Nature themed story and activity hour for ages 3-5, Siblings welcome! Free program designed to connect young children and their guardians to the great outdoors. Themed stories followed by an outdoor activity and craft.

Fridays 3:00-4:00 Junior Naturalists Through Stories, activities, and nature hikes, explore life along the Blackstone River and Canal. Ages 5-8.

Thursdays 2:00-3:30 Junior Rangers Ages 8-12. Looking for a summer adventure? Join us each week as we discover wildlife and take a look at the history in our own back yard! Pre-registration is required and program numbers are limited. Programs run rain or shine and be prepared to spend time outside! Earn your DCR Junior Ranger Badge and certificate. Runs July 15-August 19. Call 508-278-7604 or email to register. Free.

The July Calendar of Events and other information is posted here.


Gubernatorial Candidate Forum on Energy and the Environment
On June 29, the Environmental League of Massachusetts hosted a gubernatorial candidate forum on energy and the environment. The candidates appeared sequentially offering opening remarks followed by Q&A from a panel and the audience. If you want to hear what Governor Patrick, Green-Rainbow candidate Jill Stein, Independent candidate Tim Cahill, and House Minority Leader Brad Jones (serving as a surrogate for Republican Candidate Charlie Baker) had to say about environmental issues in Massachusetts, the video is available online at


Watch for Turtles & Other "Road Warriors"Turtle Crossing Sign
Turtles can still be found crossing our area roads. If you encounter a turtle in the road and want to help:
  • Be sure that it is safe to do so without risking harm to yourself or others.
  • Always move the turtle in the direction it was heading.
  • Don't relocate turtles from the general area where you found them.
  • Report rare species to the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program
Click here for more turtle information and conservation tips.

Click here to report turtle sightings, nesting areas and roadkill hotspots.

To report the demise of other wildlife “road warriors”, click here.
This data is critically important for the reduction of road impact on wildlife and improvement of public safety.


Blackstone Valley Adventure Pack
The John H. Chaffee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor is offering Blackstone Valley Adventure Packs as a fun way to explore the history, environment and cultural heritage of the valley. The packs are available for rental of up to 5 days from several area organizations. Click here for more information.




Purple Loosestrife Pull - Hopedale  info
7/17 Celtic Festival-Indian Ranch  info
7/18 Harry Lappen-Storyteller, River Bend Farm
7/25 Concert-Small Planet Band, River Bend Farm 3:30PM  
7/25 BRWA Member Paddle-River Bend Farm 12:30-4PM  
8/8 Smokey the Bear Birthday Celebration-River Bend Farm  
8/8 Green Your Piece of the Earth Talks & Demos-River Bend Farm 1:30-3PM  
8/12 BRWA Board Meeting
8/14 BRC Water Quality Sampling
8/15 Concert-Worcester Men of Song, River Bend Farm 3:30PM  
8/15 BRWA Member Paddle-River Bend Farm 12:30-4PM  



Blackstone Valley Heritage Markets
The season has finally arrived for farmer's markets to return to the Valley. Take the opportunity to "Buy Local" at the Douglas Farmer's Market, the Grafton Farmer's Market, the Daniels Farmstead at Southwick Hill, Blackstone, the Alternatives Heritage Market in Whitinsville and other area locations. For more information, visit

The BRWA will be participating at the Grafton Farmers Market on Thursday July 29th and the Douglas Farmers Market on Saturday August 21st. Be sure to stop by and say hello.

Low Water Levels at Hopedale Pond
A dispute has arisen in Hopedale over low water levels at Hopedale Pond. Residents of the area reported extremely low water conditions to town officials in late June. Upon investigation, the town concluded that some issue related to the dam that controls the water level, either the improper installation of the boards or a breach. The owner believes lack of rain is the cause for the low water despite near average rainfall in June. Here are three related articles from the Milford Daily News.

Hopedale Pond running low
Dam owner: Lack of rain to blame for low water level
Diver may get to the bottom of Hopedale water mystery

We'll report any further developments. Hopedale Pond is a part of the Mill River Watershed.


Outdoor Water Restrictions
The following Watershed communities have restrictions on outside watering. The list may not be complete. Click on the town to see the details. top


National River Rally
The River Network held its annual National River Rally in May. The keynote speaker, Nancy Stoner, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Water at EPA, urged river conservationists to support the following national efforts:
  • reducing stormwater discharges from new development and redevelopment
  • provide input on four major new drinking water protection strategies
  • help establish a framework for Florida to develop "restoration standards" for impaired waters through new numeric nutrient water quality standards for lakes and flowing waters
  • support the America's Commitment to Clean Water Act currently pending in the U.S. House of Representatives that offers important opportunities to reverse the effects of court rulings over the past decade that have weakened our water protection laws.
For more information on the River Network and the National River Rally, visit

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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