Blackstone River Watershed Association
Blackstone River Watershed Association
In This Issue


BRWA Special Member Paddle

Canal Fest at River Bend Farm

Green Electricity and How to Get It



Local Bear Sightings

Mendon Votes For Green Community Designation


Pesticides & Produce

New Consumer Non-Profit Identifies Energy-Effecient Products

National Parks Protection Project

BRWA Online
About the BRWA


Issue 18 June 2011

What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet,
Long live the weeds and the wildness yet.

Gerard Manley Hopkins, Inversnaid


Home Appliance Tips
Here are some home appliance related tips to help save money, energy and water:
  • Use your dishwasher. It’s estimated that using a dishwasher, fully loaded and without pre-rinsing, can save 10-20 gallons of water per day. Also, air drying of dishes instead of heat drying uses half the electricity per load.
  • Tune-up your refrigerator. Clean the condenser coil on the back of the refrigerator at least twice a year. Built up dirt and dust can lead to reduced efficiency. Set the thermostat to maintain a temperature between 38 and 42 degrees F, optimum for protecting food and saving electricity.
If you’re in the market for new appliances, visit the Earth 911 Buyers Guide to Washers and Dryers . Visit the Mass Save website for incentives for purchasing energy efficient appliances as well as tax credit information, technical assistance, and training for homeowners, businesses and professionals. Also look at this issue’s Of Global Interest section for a listing of energy efficient products.


BRWA Special Member Paddlecanoe on the canal
The BRWA will be holding a special Member Paddle on June 26, 2011 from 3pm to 5pm. Join us for a guided paddle starting and ending at the River Bend Farm Visitor Center. The route will take us up the Blackstone Canal, down the Blackstone River, portage at Stanley Woolen and then up the canal to the Visitor Center. The trip is considered suitable for paddlers of all ages with a beginner/intermediate skill level. Paddlers have the option of remaining in the canal, as well. Canoes, paddles, and personal flotation devices will be available. Remember, this is a members-only event. Visit for information on BRWA membership. Don't miss out - join today!


Canal Fest at River Bend Farm
Visit River Bend Farm on Sunday June 26, from 1 – 5 pm and enjoy a day out at the park with live music and activities for all age groups. A concert by the Blackstone Valley Community Concert Band will begin at 3pm. Come visit us at the BRWA table to see what we're up to and how you can help improve water quality in our rivers and streams! Canoes will be available from 1pm to 3pm for members to use in the canal.


Green Electricity and How to Get It - By Maggie Plasse
What if you could buy only green electricity for your home? What if you could reduce harmful emissions from fossil fuels and improve the air quality all over New England? What if you could reduce dependence on foreign oil? Well, you, personally, can do all these things through Mass Energy’s GreenStart program.windmills in Princeton, MA

What is New England GreenStart?
New England GreenStart is a program of Mass Energy, a Massachusetts-based non-profit organization and is offered by National Grid. GreenStart allows you to choose cleaner, healthier electricity right on your regular utility bill and is available to all National Grid residential and small commercial customers. New England GreenStart is a blend of 100% renewable energy resources all located right here in New England. You can choose to match either 100% or 50% of your electricity use with renewable energy sources.

How does it Work?
In New England, everyone is served by a large, interconnected electricity grid, which makes it nearly impossible to deliver energy produced by a specific generator to a specific end-user. So, in order to track generation, the Independent System Operator (ISO) New England, the organization in charge of coordinating the region’s grid, established a system to create, trade, and track certificates that describe electricity generated anywhere on the grid (even if it’s behind someone’s meter). When the certificate comes from a renewable source, like a wind turbine, the certificate represents all of the benefits associated with renewable energy, and is called a Renewable Energy Certificate (REC). Mass Energy purchases and retires these RECs on behalf of its members.
By retiring the RECs, the organization prevents double-counting, ensuring no one else can claim to have used that renewable energy. This is extremely important, and is verified by the system operator . (An independent accountant also checks our accounting to ensure the accounting is accurate.)

The REC recombined with energy from the grid that you buy from the utility then officially becomes green power. Since Mass Energy buys the exact number of RECs to match the amount of electricity you use each quarter of the year, you can be sure that the amount of energy you use comes on to the grid on your behalf from renewable resources.

Green power marketers like Mass Energy aren’t the only ones buying RECs. The utility company had a mandate to get 5% of its electricity from renewables in 2010 and also uses RECs to certify their compliance with the renewable energy standard.With your purchase of green power, you create additional demand in the REC market, which supports new renewable energy projects coming online. So while Mass Energy can’t deliver that electricity to your home, we can ensure that you have the exclusive right to claim that enough renewable energy came onto the grid to cover your electricity use.

What Does it Cost?
New England GreenStart 100% costs an extra 2.4 cents/kilowatt-hour (kWh) and New England GreenStart 50% costs an extra 1.25 cents/kWh and 100% of your payments for New England GreenStart can be deducted from your federal taxes if you itemize charitable contributions. Payments for New England GreenStart will appear on your electricity bill as a separate line item. You only have to make one easy payment each month to National Grid, including both your regular electricity charges and your New England GreenStart payment.

By purchasing renewable energy produced from the sun, wind, water and organic matter found right here in New England, you are helping to create and maintain local jobs rather than supporting fuels that come from other parts of the country or the world. GreenStart members increase the total amount of green energy purchased in the state, which creates a demand for more renewable energy technology, causing more wind turbines to be built and other renewable energy.

To sign up for Mass Energy’s GreenStart program or for more information visit

6/25 Great American Backyard Campout   info
6/26 Canal Festival & Concert - Blackstone Valley Community Concert Band 1pm-5pm River Bend Farm, Uxbridge  
6/26 BRWA Special Member Paddle 3pm-5pm River Bend Farm, Uxbridge  
**** July is National Ice Cream Month  
**** John H Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor Ranger Walkabouts Thursday Nights, June - August   info
**** Alternatives, Inc. Free Summer Concert Series Thursday Nights 6pm, July - Sept   info
7/9 BRC Water Quality Sampling
7/14 BRWA Board Meeting 6:30pm 271 Oak St., Uxbridge   info
7/16 Wilds of Worcester - Free Discovery Days Event MA Audubon Broad Meadow Brook Sanctuary   info
7/30 National Cheesecake Day (Mmmmm...cheesecake)  



Local Bear Sightingscross bear cartoon
There have been black bear sightings in the Watershed communities of Grafton, Hopedale and Bellingham. In all cases, a single animal was reported. The mating season for black bears is mid-June to mid-July and they can range as much as 120 miles. Black bears will rarely harm people but may become dangerous if they get too used to humans and human food sources. To discourage bear encounters in residential areas, remove bird feeders, secure trash containers and eliminate any potential outdoor food source. For more information on the natural history of and conflict avoidance with black bears and what to do if you see a black bear, go to the MassWildlife Living with Black Bears web page. This is part of the excellent MassWildlife "Living with Wildlife" series.


Mendon Votes For Green Community Designation
Voters at a Special Town Meeting earlier this month passed several by-law changes that will help qualify the town for Green Community status including:
  • allowing a Large-Scale Ground-Mounted Solar Photovoltaic Facilities (SPF) Overlay District
  • excluding Large-Scale Ground Mounted SPF units from the list of prohibited uses
  • add a Stretch Energy Code chapter to the town's by-laws that mandates that any new residential or commercial construction to be 20 percent more energy efficient than required by current MA Building Codes
Designated Green Communities are eligible for State and Federal energy related grants and can tap into the resources provided by the Green Community Division of the Department of Energy Resources.

For more details of the Mendon Special Town Meeting, see the Town Crier article, “Mendon Becomes Greener”.



Pesticides & Produce
A recently released report may provide guidance for consumers looking to purchase healthy foods. The report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) lists the fruits and vegetables with the highest and lowest pesticide levels. EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce lists the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” fruits and vegetables to help consumers make educated choices about the produce they buy. EWG stresses that fresh produce is still a healthy component of our diets but that we should be try to be selective about the types and sources of the products we consume.


New Consumer Non-Profit Identifies Energy-Effecient Products
TopTen USA, is a new non-profit organization that provides free, web-based rankings of the 10 most energy-efficient products in a wide range of categories: refrigerators, freezers, televisions, computers, vehicles, dishwashers, clothes washers, and monitors. On, visitors will find lists of the 10 best choices for each product category, along with pricing, specifications, local and online retail options, and personalized rebate information. Consumers can use this information to select products that will not only lower their energy bills, but also help to reduce pollution and lessen our dependence on foreign oil supplies.


National Parks Protection Project
The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has launched the National Parks Protection Project. The goal of the project is to show Congress how important our national parks are through photos, videos, stories and a petition drive. The federal government has a responsibility to keep our national parks adequately funded to protect the country’s natural and cultural heritage. The National Park system consumes a tiny portion of the federal budget yet Congress continues to target it for funding cuts. Use this opportunity to share your experiences in your national parks and to remind our elected lawmakers of their responsibility to preserve this resource for current and future generations.


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 engage, educate and advocate for improved water quality in the Blackstone River Watershed; its objectives are to:
  • Engage the public in watershed stewardship activities,
  • Educate members, supporters and watershed residents on watershed protection strategies, 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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