Blackstone River Watershed Association
|TIP OF THE MONTH
Reporting Potential Environmental Damage
watershed advocates and outdoorswomen and men, we have both a greater
opportunity and a greater responsibility to report incidents or
conditions that could threaten to damage the environment. Often our
increased environmental awareness can help us observe problems that may
otherwise go unnoticed. Many incidents go unreported because they are
not recognized as abnormal or because the person or agency to contact
Here are some things you may observe and agencies to contact:
If you do report something or if you're unsure of who to call, contact us at the BRWA. We rely on you to help us keep tabs on the Watershed.
- Fish kills
vast majority of the fish kills reported turn out to be natural events,
they may also be the result of pollution or a deliberate or accidental
change in water conditions. They should always be reported to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife.
- Discharge of pollutants into storm drains
The only substance that should go into a storm drain is rainwater.
Sewage, automotive chemicals, solid waste, etc. should not enter the
stormwater system which often leads directly into ponds or streams.
Illicit discharges should be reported immediately to the local
Department of Public Works.
- Discharge of pollutants into streams
Spills or illicit discharge of pollutants directly into streams or ponds should be reported to the MassDEP Environmental Strike Force.
- Asian Longhorned Beetle
The Asian Longhorned Beetle is one of several invasive insects that are
destructive to native forests. For ID information and to report
sightings, go to Beetlebusters.info or Don't Move Firewood.com.
BRWA 4th Annual Blackstone Valley Riverways Cleanup
Volunteers are still needed for the 4th Annual Blackstone Valley
Riverways Cleanup day on October 24th from 1 to 3pm. Cleanup sites include:
- Mumford River - Gilboa Street, Douglas
- Blackstone River - River Road, Uxbridge
- Fisherville Pond - Rt. 122A, South Grafton
- Hopedale Pond - Lake Avenue, Hopedale
Pizza and refreshments will be provided from 3 to 4 pm at River Bend Farm
Visitors Center, Oak St, Uxbridge, MA after the cleanup.
For further info or to sign up, contact Heather Cameron, Outreach Coordinator at (508) 864-6827 or
BRWA Annual Member Appreciation Event and Business Meeting
The BRWA will host its Annual Member Appreciation Event and Business Meeting on Saturday, November 6, 5:30-8:00p,
at the River Bend Farm Visitor’s Center in Uxbridge. The festivities
will feature a dusk-walk along the Blackstone Canal, led by DCR Park
Supervisor Val Stegemoen, who will entertain members with “looney tunes
heard around the campfire near the Blackstone Canal!” Have you heard
about the headless bicycle rider that’s been seen along the Blackstone
and West River paths? Do you know about the haunted mills of Uxbridge?
How about how the Mumford River got its name? This is a “don’t miss”
special opportunity to learn about the (spooky!) folklore unique to the
After the 45-minute walk we will return to the Visitor’s Center for a
cup of hot coffee or cider and our business meeting. The 30-minute
(tops!) presentation will highlight the BRWA’s accomplishments over the
past year and goals for next year and then members will vote in the
organization’s officers and board of directors. The rest of the evening
attendees will enjoy a fall buffet that will include gourmet vegetarian
soup, freshly-made roll-up sandwiches, home-baked cookies, cider
donuts, and apples.
A reminder that this event is for members only, so if you have not yet joined, visit the website at www.thebrwa.org to learn how you can sign up today! We hope you will join us for this special affair. Please RSVP to 508-278-5200 or firstname.lastname@example.org, BY OCTOBER 25 for food planning.
Patrick-Murray Administration Celebrates Funding To Support The Blackstone Valley Bike Path
The MA Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) issued a press release highlighting ongoing design and
construction of the long-awaited Massachusetts section of the Blackstone Valley Bike Path.
Construction is expected to begin on Section 1, Millville to the RI
border, in the spring of 2012. The announcement was made at the
Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park in Uxbridge.
Conservation Law Foundation Challenges EPA Wastewater Permit to Restore Water Quality in MA & RI
Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) has filed an appeal in federal court
alleging that the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System
permit granted to the Upper Blackstone Water Pollution Abatement
District is in violation of the federal Clean Water Act. The permit
issued in August 2008 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
allows nitrogen levels in treated water released by the plant of 5
milligrams per liter. The CLF challenge states that the limits put on
allowable nitrogen levels are not sufficient to meet state water
According to the CLF press release (September 28, 2010), “The Upper
Blackstone Water Pollution Abatement District is one of the largest
wastewater treatment facilities in New England, serving Worcester, MA
and several surrounding communities. The facility discharges over 50
million gallons of nitrogen-laden water every day into the Blackstone
River, which flows south through Massachusetts into the Rhode Island
portion of the Blackstone, then the Seekonk River, and ultimately
Narragansett Bay. Excessive nitrogen has caused severe degradation of
all the impacted water bodies, including toxic algae blooms, widespread
loss of eel grass meadows – critical habitat for fish and other marine
life – and even massive fish kills.”
The full text of the CLF press release can be found here.
Also see a recent article in the Providence Journal.
New England EPA Chief Urges Including Runoff Prevention in Road Design
at the Blackstone River User’s Conference, last month, Curt Spalding,
EPA Regional Administrator for New England, urged the use of methods of
building roads and parking lots that would protect rivers from
contamination by runoff and increase the ability of areas around rivers
to absorb heavy rains.
Check out this Providence Journal
|CALENDAR OF EVENTS
October - National Energy Awareness Month info
4th Annual Blackstone Valley Riverways Cleanup
BRWA Annual Member Appreciation Event and Business Meeting 5:30-8PM RSVP
BRC Water Quality Sampling
America Recycles Day
|IN YOUR COMMUNITY
Spaulding R. Aldrich Memorial Recreation Area Dedicated
Sunday, October 3, a dedication ceremony was held for the Spaulding R.
Aldrich Memorial Recreation Area, in honor of a dedicated public
servant and past president of Blackstone Valley Heritage Homecoming,
Inc. The Recreation Area is located in Northbridge, on Church St.
Extension, between the Blackstone River and Blackstone Canal. The
ceremony included the unveiling of the dedication sign, remarks by
Senator Richard T. Moore, and a reception at the Heritage State Park
Visitor’s Center at River Bend Farm.
Spaulding Aldrich was a former BRWA board member. Current board member
Maggie Plasse remembers “He knew a lot of history about the Blackstone
Valley, Northbridge in particular. If we had questions about past
issues in Northbridge, Spaulding always knew the answer and a story to
go with it.”
The Recreation Area is a fitting remembrance of his dedication to the town of Northbridge and the Blackstone Valley.
|OF GLOBAL INTEREST
Charting New Waters-A Call to Action to Address
U.S. Freshwater Challenges
Johnson Foundation at Wingspread issued a call to action aimed at
heading off a national crisis in water quality and supply. The report,
Charting New Waters: A Call to Action to Address U.S. Freshwater
Challenges, is the result of a 2-year collaboration of representatives
from business, non-governmental organizations, agriculture, academia,
government, foundations and communities. The goal of the effort is to
ensure the sustainability & resilience of our nation’s freshwater
Quoting from the reports Executive Summary:
“Our growing population and changing environmental conditions are
driving the nation toward inevitable and difficult freshwater
The Summary lists four reasons for immediate action:
The Foundation offers national leaders several recommendations summarized briefly below.
- Healthy and livable communities need clean and adequate freshwater;
- Reliable freshwater supplies are critical to U.S. economic security;
- Freshwater ecosystems have intrinsic value and are fundamental to our natural heritage
and economic well-being; and
- Ecosystems can experience abrupt, nonlinear change.
The report was released last month and was presented to the Obama
Administration at a meeting of federal agencies convened by the White
House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).
- Improve coordination of management across scales and sectors
- Enhance effectiveness of existing regulatory tools
- Promote efficient, environmentally wise water management, use and delivery
- Ensure decision making is based on sound science and data
- Employ a long-range adaptive approach to planning and management
- Account for the full cost of water, and invest in sustainable water infrastructure
- Educate the public about challenges and solutions
- Develop and validate methods for freshwater ecosystem services markets
For a copy of the full report and more information, visit the Johnson Foundation Charting New Waters 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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