Blackstone River Watershed Association
Blackstone River Watershed Association
In This Issue


Annual BRWA Earth Day Cleanup

Clean and Green Fair

Water Quality Monitoring Volunteers Still Needed

35th Annual BRWA Canoe/Kayak Race - Volunteers still needed!



Free Solar Power for Mendon

Linking Landscapes for Massachusetts Wildlife

Massachusetts Leads Northeast in Dam Removal Projects


GLOBE at Night

America’s Great Outdoors: A Promise to Future Generations

BRWA Online
About the BRWA


Issue 15 March 2011


Safer, Greener Spring Cleaning cleaning couple
Spring is upon us and with it comes Spring Cleaning. What better time to make the switch to safer, more environmentally friendly cleaning products?

Many commercial, chemical-based products can be toxic to humans and pets, irritating to people with allergies or other health issues or damaging to our environment. In general, products containing highly caustic substances, chlorine, ammonia, phosphates, foaming agents, or “fragrance” are targets for reduced use or replacement. Safer and often lower cost alternatives are available, many of which rely on time-tested combinations of natural ingredients.

For many home cleaning tasks, effective cleaners can be made at home from a few basic ingredients. Recipes abound on the web and in print. The ingredients and compounds may seem old-fashioned but, for many applications, they can be as or more effective than their heavily marketed chemical counterparts.

If something more convenient or powerful is required, safe commercial products are available, as well. Look upon products from the large manufacturers with some skepticism, especially when they make vague ecological claims. This article, How Toxic Are Your Household Cleaning Supplies, lists some of the health and environmental problems associated with chemical-based cleaners and offers some guidance on buying commercial products.

If you have any hints for safer, greener spring cleaning, share them with us. We'll pass them on in later newsletters.


Annual BRWA Earth Day Cleanup - Join Us! Earth Day Graphic

In celebration of Earth Day, the BRWA is sponsoring a river shoreline cleanup on Saturday, April 16, 2011 from 10am to noon. The cleanup will take place in conjunction with Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Park Serve Day and Alternatives Unlimited, Inc. Clean and Green Day.

DCR Park Serve Day Logo Have fun outdoors while protecting your local resources. Join an important venture to cleanup the trash along local riverbanks and make for a cleaner, healthier and more beautiful resource. You can make a difference by volunteering just a couple of hours of your time. This project also meets community service requirements for many organizations.

After the cleanup, pizza and refreshments will be provided for volunteers at Riverbend Farm in Uxbridge.

A Clean & Green Fair (see article below) will follow the cleanup and all are invited.

For more information or to register for the cleanup, send an email to or leave a voicemail at 508-278-5200.


Clean and Green Fair
The Blackstone River Watershed Association and Alternatives Unlimited will be hosting a Clean and Green Fair at River Bend Farm on Saturday, April 16, Noon – 2:00 p.m. Come and learn about easy steps you can take at home to protect the health of our local environment and have some fun! Featured displays will include:
  • Composting 101 – Reuse Your Trash, Save Some Cash
  • Bottle Bill – Why Its Needed
  • Don’t Pollute – Recycle Your Stormwater
  • Children’s Activities – Coloring, Crafts, Educational Materials
  • Free Giveaways

Water Quality Monitoring Volunteers Still Needed
Volunteer Samplers are still needed for the Blackstone River Watershed-wide Water Quality Monitoring Program. Note that two locations have been added to the list of available monitoring sites.

Make a real difference by joining this group of dedicated citizen scientists working to monitor and improve the water quality of the Blackstone River and tributaries. Sampling is done on the second Saturday of each month, from April to November. Volunteers are needed to cover the following sites:
  • Emerson Brook in Uxbridge
  • Meadow Brook in Uxbridge
  • Manchaug Pond inlet in Sutton
  • Manchaug Pond outlet in Sutton
  • Blackstone River in Uxbridge, above Stanley Woolen Mill
  • West River in Uxbridge, off route 16
Email Tammy Gilpatrick or call 508-278-2080 if you can help.

Volunteers are also needed to help at the BRWA Lab/Drop-off location in Uxbridge. At this site, the samples are processed and analyzed by another group of trained volunteers. If you can spare a couple of hours, one Saturday morning a month, please email Field Coordinator Mike Sperry.

The Water Quality Monitoring Program is coordinated by the Blackstone River Coalition. For more information about the Program, visit the BRC website.


35th Annual BRWA Canoe/Kayak Race - Volunteers still needed!
The 35th BRWA Canoe and Kayak Race will be held Saturday, May 21, 2011. The entry form and more information will be available on line shortly at the BRWA website.

2010 racers We still urgently need volunteers to help with
  • publicity
  • setup
  • cleanup
  • entertainment
  • water safety
  • land spotters
  • general help
We are also still looking for a Race Director in Training to "learn the ropes" and take over next year's event.

Come join us! Experience is not necessary! It's a fun event, a fun time and you get a great t-shirt to wear at the race!

Contact Rosemary Longo-Nutt at or 860/870-9851.


3/19, 3/20 Maple Sugar Days River Bend Farm   info
Tours are open to the public at 11AM are given on a first come first serve basis. The last tour departs at 3:00pm on Saturdays and 2:30pm on Sundays.
3/26 8th Annual Land and Water Conservation Summit - RI Land & Water Partnership   info
3/26 Earth Hour 8:30pm   info
3/26-5/1 National Kite Month   info
4/2 International Pillow Fight Day   info
4/9 BRC Water Quality Sampling
4/14 BRWA Board Meeting 7pm 271 Oak St., Uxbridge   info
4/16-4/24 National Park Week   info
4/16 BRWA Earth Day River Cleanup   volunteer
4/16 Clean and Green Fair noon-2pm   see article above
5/5 Building a Sustainable Future: The Massachusetts Green Communities Act 7pm-9pm Oak Knoll Wildlife Sanctuary   info



Free Solar Power for Mendon
Mendon town officials have been working with DCS Energy based in Connecticut to install solar electric arrays on six municipal buildings in an effort to defray electricity costs to the town.
smiling sun with sunglasses
Through a leasing program with the company and funding from federal stimulus money and renewable energy credits, the panels will be installed at no cost to the town. The project is estimated to save the town nearly $10,000 per year in electricity costs and the system has a life expectancy of 30 years. DCS Energy uses only USA made solar products.

Related articles from the Milford, Mendon, Upton Town Crier and The Milford Daily News:

Free Solar Panels Could Cut Mendon’s Utility Bill
Mendon could get cheap solar energy


Linking Landscapes for Massachusetts Wildlife
The Linking Landscapes for Massachusetts Wildlife program is a partnership between the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW), Department of Transportation (DOT) Highway Division and UMass-Amherst and the Vernal Pool Association in an effort to minimize the impact of the existing road network on wildlife, while improving highway safety. Several opportunities are available for citizen scientists to help gather data for this program.

The Turtle Roadway Mortality Monitoring Program, now in it’s secondturtle crossing sign year, is recruiting volunteers to collect data that will be used to coordinate local turtle conservation efforts. Two information and training sessions will be held Amherst and Westborough. The first information and training session will be held on Saturday, March 26, 2011, from 10am – 12pm at the Notch Visitor’s Center located at 1500 West Street in Amherst. The second session will be held on Tuesday, March 29, 2011, from 7pm – 9pm at the Karl Weiss Educational Conference Building located on North Drive in Westborough. The sessions are free, but pre-registration is required. Interested volunteers can register with DFW’s Dave Paulson at or call him at (508) 389-6366.

Citizen Scientists are also encouraged to provide online, site specific reports on large migrations of vernal pool amphibians for the Amphibian Roadway Crossing Database and on general wildlife roadkills for the Statewide Road Mortality Database.


Massachusetts Leads Northeast in Dam Removal Projects
According to a list released by American Rivers, Massachusetts led the Northeast in the number of dams removed in 2010. Five dams were removed in Massachusetts in 2010 improving public safety and restoring natural river flow and habitat for fish and wildlife. A total of 16 dams were removed in New England and New York including two in Rhode Island. The Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs released a statement celebrating the success in 2010 and the continuing efforts to complete over 2 dozen projects currently underway.



GLOBE at Night
Can You See the Stars? Join thousands of others around the globe hunting for stars during the sixth annual GLOBE at Night event! Take part in this international event to observe the nighttime sky and learn more about light pollution around the world.

The GLOBE at Night program is an international citizen-science campaign to raise public awareness of the impact of light pollution by encouraging everyone everywhere to measure local levels of night sky brightness and contribute observations online to a world map. All it takes is a few minutes to participate between 8-10 pm, March 22 through April 6.

To find out how you can participate, visit the GLOBE at Night website.


America’s Great Outdoors: A Promise to Future Generations
In previous issues of this newsletter, we reported on the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative launched by President Obama to engage the American people in a dialogue leading to the development of a plan for the conservation of our natural heritage. The result of this dialogue, which involved the participation of citizens from across the country, including farmers, ranchers, hunters, anglers, outdoor recreation enthusiasts, parents, teachers, and young people, as well as representatives of conservation organizations, state, local, and tribal governments, historic preservation groups, faith communities, businesses and thousands of young people, is a report delivered to the President in February,2011. The report contains three chapters: Connecting Americans to the Great Outdoors; Conserving and Restoring America’s Great Outdoors; and Working Together for America’s Great Outdoors and also includes a special section, Youth and America’s Great Outdoors: What We Heard from America’s Young People. Each chapter includes goals, recommendations, and actions aimed at realizing “a new vision of conservation for the 21st century“.
family canoeing in the canal
Visit the America’s Great Outdoors website to read the report, look at the input from the nation's citizens, and learn more about the Initiative. The work has only just begun. In the end, it will be up to us to ensure that our vision is realized and that the promise to future generations is kept.


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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