Blackstone River Watershed Association
Blackstone River Watershed Association
In This Issue


BRWA Annual Member Appreciation Event and Business Meeting

Watershed Education en espanol

Another Successful Riverways Cleanup!

More Challenges to EPA Wastewater Permit



Upton offered grant for Sweetwilliam Farm


DOE Home Energy Scoring Program

BRWA Online
About the BRWA


Issue 11 November 2010


Family Stories Month
November is National Family Stories Month. Take this opportunity to share your experiences in nature with those close to you. Recall the moments in your lives that connected you with the natural world. Invent "tall tales" with children to be told again and again. Open your family's senses to the small things around them and pass on your appreciation, awareness and joy of the gifts nature has to offer.


BRWA Annual Member Appreciation Event and Business Meeting

The BRWA held it’s Member Appreciation Event and Annual Meeting on November 6. Members were treated to a walk along the canal led by led by DCR Park Supervisor Val Stegemoen telling strange stories from the Blackstone Valley along the way. The walk was followed by a short business meeting and light dinner. During the business meeting, the Board of Directors election was held with two new members, Joanne Holahan and Bill Dausey elected to three-year terms. The election of officers was also held resulting in the re-election of Dona Neely as President and Tammy Gilpatrick as Vice President/Treasurer and the election of Mike Sperry as Secretary.

During the meeting, BRWA president Dona Neely highlighted the accomplishments of the previous year and announced the priorities for the coming year which include:
  • increasing educational outreach activities with special focus on school programs
  • rollout of the new campaign to identify and manage aquatic invasive plants
  • conducting a new stream team survey
In her address, Dona stressed the importance of member involvment and that the BRWA welcomes volunteers to help with the development and execution of these programs. Contact us to learn how you can help shape the future of the BRWA as we continue to protect and enhance the Blackstone River.


Watershed Education en espanolMaggie Plasse, Watershed Model and Spanish Immersion Students
On October 24th, the BRWA partnered with the Mendon schools' Spanish Immersion Program to present a program about watersheds to students from kindergarten through 5th grade. The program was conducted entirely in Spanish by BRWA board member, Jim Plasse.

A plastic watershed model was used to demonstrate how pollution from stormwater, motor oil, gasoline, fertilizer and animal waste eventually finds its way to rivers and streams. Students learned that trees, plants and other vegetation filter the pollutants thus preventing them from entering the waterways. The students learned not only how a watershed works but also many new Spanish words as well.

The Spanish Immersion Program is offered by The Mendon-Upton Regional School System as a dual-language program model teaching students regular academic subjects using a second language.


Another Successful Riverways Cleanup! 3 Volunteers with pile of trash bags
The BRWA sponsored the Fourth Annual Blackstone Valley Riverways Cleanup on October 24th. One hundred and ten volunteers cleaned along the banks of 2 rivers and 3 ponds in 5 towns: Gilboa Dam area in Douglas, Fisherville Pond in South Grafton, Hopedale Pond in Hopedale, Rice City Pond in Uxbridge, the Blackstone River in Uxbridge and the Mumford River in Whitinsville. The volunteers collected 86 bags of trash, 27 tires, 3 chairs, 4 sofas, 2 mattresses, 2 rugs, a glass shower door a TV and construction debris.

Cleanup volunteers from Assumption School Our thanks go out to the enthusiastic volunteers from Community of Caring, students from Blackstone Millville Regional High School, Nipmuc Regional High School and Assumption School, Mendon Girl Scouts ,Alternatives Unlimited Inc., and many other individuals who improved the condition of the watershed. Student volunteers at River Rd in Uxbridge


More Challenges to EPA Wastewater Permit
Claiming that the EPA’s limits on pollutant discharge at its sewage treatment plant in Millbury are "without scientific basis" and that the treatment plant can’t make its water any cleaner without spending up to $200 million, the Upper Blackstone Water Pollution Abatement District is planning to appeal the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in August of 2008.

The permit imposed stricter limits on allowable nitrogen levels and a phased-in reduction of phosphorus levels in water discharged by the plant into the Blackstone River.

Last month we reported that the Conservation Law Foundation had filed an appeal claiming that the limits put on nitrogen levels are not sufficient to meet state water quality standards.


12/4 Uxbridge First Holiday Night  info
12/9 BRWA Board Meeting



Upton offered grant for Sweetwilliam Farm
The town of Upton may receive a $500,000 grant to help with the purchase of a portion of Sweetwilliam Farm. The grant is from the Massachusetts Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity (LAND) Program which helps local communities acquire land for natural resource and passive outdoor recreation purposes.

The Open Space Committee proposed that the town purchase 60 acres of the 92-acre farm and that 27 acres would be protected by a conservation restriction and remain under private ownership. Additional funding would come from the town’s Community Preservation Act (CPA) fund.

Recently the Board of Selectmen voted to remove the article allocating the CPA funds for the purchase from the special Town Meeting warrant. They felt that the amount was too significant for the special Town Meeting and proposed that it be taken up at the annual Town Meeting in May. This may be too late to take advantage of the available grants. The organization Friends of Sweetwilliam Farm is currently collecting the required 200+ signatures on a petition to force a special town meeting to address the issue.

The following links provide more information on the issue:
Sudbury Valley Trustees
Town of Upton
Milford Daily News 11/10/2010
Milford Daily News 10/25/2010



Vice President Biden Launches DOE Home Energy Scoring Program
On November 9, Vice-President Biden launched the Department of Energy (DOE) Home Energy Score pilot program. The program is designed to provide homeowners with a quick, reliable, low-cost assessment of a home’s energy efficiency and to provide recommendations for potential energy savings.

Based on data collected in a brief home walk through by a trained auditor, homes receive a home energy score between 1 and 10. Using a digital form and standardized online DOE scoring tool software, the assessment can take under an hour. The score is adjusted by region and house size allowing for a fair comparison to similar homes. In addition to the score, a list of potential energy upgrades and specific improvements is provided along with estimated savings, payback period and greenhouse gas emission reductions.

To learn about the program, see a sample copy of the Home Energy Score and get more information on how it is calculated, visit the Home Energy Score 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:
  • 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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