Blackstone River Watershed Association
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more.
George Gordon, Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage
TIP OF THE MONTH
Outdoor Exercise in the Summer
As I’m writing this, we are experiencing what
is hopefully the hottest day of the year. In addition, the EPA has
issued a prediction of unhealthy air quality. Perhaps it’s a good time
to remind folks who chose to exercise outdoors (and where better?)
to be aware of heat and air quality conditions and plan their
A check of the local air quality at
can help you plan when to exercise. This is especially important for
people with heart and lung issues, older adults and children as these
groups are affected at lower points on the Air Quality Index scale.
Adequate hydration is always important, but more so as the temperature
rises. Drink before and during exercise and watch for any signs of
In general, exercise in moderation and stay safe when the temperature rises.
- Headache, dizziness, or fainting
- Weakness and wet skin
- Irritability or confusion
- Thirst, nausea, or vomiting
- Extreme fatigue or "jelly legs"
To improve your outdoor workout and the environment, bring along a
trash bag and collect any litter you find along the way. Pause while
running, walking, bicycling or whatever, take in your surroundings, make
a positive impact and set an example for others.
The Watershed & Us
Join us on August 13, 1:30-3:00p, at River Bend Farm,
as we share information on things we can do in our yard and garden to
reduce waste and protect the watershed. In a series of short
demonstrations the BRWA will illustrate how the watershed functions,
how human activity is connected to the health of the watershed and
how we can take simple steps to improve it. We will be offering lots
of tips and strategies that you can easily incorporate in your daily
activities to help protect the environmental resources in your yard
and in your neighborhood including how to:
- 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
- Minimize pollutants that can get swept up with runoff and deposited in local waterways
- Reduce growth of aquatic invasive plants that thrive on chemicals in runoff
- And lots more!
BRWA Education Program Presents Watershed Model
Board member Tammy Gilpatrick and volunteer
Michelle Walsh presented the watershed model program to five fourth
grade classrooms at the H. P. Clough Elementary School in Mendon.
Although it was the last week of school, and extremely warm, the students
were eager to help pollute the model and brainstorm on ways homeowners
can minimize pollutants that can get swept up with runoff and deposited
in local waterways.
On July 20 the BRWA also presented the watershed model to over 70
children at the Northbridge Association of Churches Ecumenical
Vacation Bible School. The daily offering from the children was donated
to the Blackstone River Watershed Association to continue our education efforts.
BRWA River Access Program Update
The Blackstone River Portage at Rice City Pond in Uxbridge has been
completed. Steps now provide easier access for paddlers to portage from
above the dam to either the Canal or the River below the dam.
Construction has also begun to install stone steps at the Plummer's Landing
access site upstream on the Blackstone River.
This work is being done thanks to a US Department of Transportation Trails
Grant that the BRWA has received through the Massachusetts
Department of Conservation and Recreation.
Thanks to 35th Annual Canoe & Kayak Race Sponsors
The BRWA extends it's thanks to the following
sponsors of the 35th Annual Canoe & Kayak Race:
|CALENDAR OF EVENTS
National Cheesecake Day (Mmmmm...cheesecake)
John H Chafee Blackstone River Valley National
Heritage Corridor Ranger Walkabouts Thursday Nights, June - August
Alternatives, Inc. Free Summer Concert Series
Thursday Nights 6pm, July - Sept
8/5 - 8/8
Vinyl Record Day
BRWA Board Meeting 6:30pm 271 Oak St., Uxbridge
International Beer Day
The Watershed & Us - River Bend Farm 1:30-3PM
Smokey the Bear Birthday Celebration-River Bend Farm
BRC Water Quality Sampling
IN YOUR COMMUNITY
Summer Concert Series at River Bend Farm
The Blackstone Valley Heritage Homecoming
Committee's annual summer concert series has begun at River Bend Farm.
The series is presented in partnership with the Department of Conservation
and Recreation and is supported by the towns of Blackstone, Grafton,
Hopedale, Mendon, Millbury, Northbridge and Uxbridge Cultural Councils,
local agencies supported by Massachusetts Cultural Council.
For these outdoor concerts, bring your own lawn chairs or blankets to sit
on while you enjoy the music. Concerts begin at 3:30 p.m. on Sundays, and are free.
July 24: Battle Green Brass Quintet and introducing: Stay Tuned
August 7: Worcester Men of Song
August 14: Heritage String Band
August 21: Jesse Fontaine Trio
August 28: Mark Mandeville and Raianne Richards
For more information, or to check the event status due to weather, please
call the River Bend Farm Visitors' Center at (508) 278-7604.
NPS Study Recommends National Park in Blackstone Valley
On July 18, 2011 the National Park Service released
a Special Resource Study of the Blackstone River Valley. The study was
conducted to determine if sites in the Blackstone Valley would be eligible
for inclusion as a permanent unit of the National Park System.
The study presents three management options. Under management option 1,
no new unit of the National Park System would be proposed. The John H.
Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor would continue
to be recognized as a federally designated national heritage corridor.
The Corridor Commission would continue to have authority and provide
planning support and technical assistance as long as they are authorized
The Corridor was set to be cut off from federal funding in October 2011,
but Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee
on the Interior and Environment that oversees the NPS, secured language
in an appropriations bill for the current fiscal year that extends its
eligibility a year beyond that while Congress decides its fate.
Under management Option 2, the Old Slater Mill National Historic Landmark
District would become a unit of the National Park System.
Management option 3 proposes that a new unit of the National Park System
would be created by an act of Congress. The new unit would include specific
nationally significant sites and districts including Old Slater Mill National
Historic Landmark District, Pawtucket, RI, Slatersville Historic District,
North Smithfield, RI, Ashton Historic District, Cumberland, RI, Whitinsville
Historic District, Northbridge, MA, Hopedale Village Historic District,
Hopedale, MA, the Blackstone River and its tributaries and the Blackstone Canal.
The National Park Service has identified Option 3 as the environmentally preferred alternative.
To download a copy of the Special Resource Study, get information about making
comments on the report, and see details about upcoming public meetings on
August 10 and August 16 about the study visit the NPS site at
To find information and ways to support the establishment of a National
Park in the valley, visit
Sewage Spill at Woonsocket Wastewater Treatment Facility
An apparent electrical failure at the Woonsocket
Wastewater Treatment Facility on June 30 caused an overflow of
partially-treated sewage from containment basins about 100 yards from the
Based on information gathered from wastewater staff and known flow rates
into the facility, The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management
(DEM) estimated that a maximum volume of 162,000 gallons of
wastewater could have entered the Blackstone River. However, given the
distance to the riverbank and soil percolation, the actual volume entering
the river may have been significantly less. Because of the potential threat
to public health, DEP used this worst case scenario as the basis of an advisory
against recreational contact along the river in Rhode Island and to avoid fish
consumption. The advisory was in effect until sundown on Saturday, July 2.
It is unclear how much, if any, sewage entered the Blackstone River. DEM
believes that some wastewater did enter the river via a storm drain and
down a river bank. It appears that plant personnel were able to collect
the bulk of the spill. Based on reports from the plant operator,
Veolia Water, Woonsocket Public Works Director Sheila McGauvran believes
no wastewater reached the river.
RI DEM will continue to investigate the incident to determine if any punitive
or corrective action is required and to see what can be learned to prevent future spills.
Source material for this article:
Rhode Island DEM press release
"State, Veolia may be divided over Woonsocket wastewater spill" Valley Breeze 7/13/2011
"DEM And City Disagree On Whether Sewage Entered Blackstone" Woonsocket Patch 7/7/2011
Upton - Sweetwilliam Farm Preserved
Sweetwilliam Farm in Upton has been permanently
preserved as open space and agricultural land. On June 21st, the Town
of Upton purchased 63 acres of the farm and a permanent conservation
restriction will be held by the Sudbury Valley Trustees. An additional
34 acres will remain under private ownership, protected by a conservation
restriction jointly held by the town and the Trustees, and managed as a
community-supported agriculture farm.
This action protects a historic and ecologic resource and preserves it’s
agricultural heritage. It also provides trail corridor between Upton State
Forest and Warren Brook Conservation Area and connects to other open space beyond.
The Sudbury Valley Trustees are still seeking donations in order to raise
funds to cover transaction costs and establish a stewardship endowment.
More information on the preservation of Sweetwilliam Farm can be found on
Sudbury Valley Trustees website.
Northbridge - Polyfoam Agrees To Clean Air Settlement
Polyfoam Corporation in Northbridge has agreed to
strictly limit air pollution emissions from its manufacturing facility
and pay a $127,500 penalty in order to settle claims by the US Environmental
Protection Agency and the US Department of Justice that it violated federal
Clean Air laws.
The federal complaint asserts that Polyfoam miscalculated
and underreported its VOC emissions from at least 2002 to the present and
triggered Clean Air Act requirements for state-of-the-art pollution limits
that the company failed to meet.
Under the settlement, Polyfoam will meet a strict new VOC emission limit
by installing a new pollution control system that will reduce the company’s
VOC emissions by about 85%.
EPA press Release
July 14th article by Michelle Bradley at TheDailyNorthbridge.com
OF GLOBAL INTEREST
Oil Spill-Yellowstone River, Montana
Assessment and cleanup activity continues in
Montana in the wake of the oil spill on the Yellowstone River earlier
this month. On July 1st , a break occurred in a 12-inch pipeline carrying
medium crude oil and owned by ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. Since then, the
complicated process of damage assessment, cleanup plan development and
determination of cause has progressed. The efforts have been hampered
by high flood waters which may have been a factor in the pipeline rupture.
As waters recede, crews are able to better evaluate the extent of
contamination of soil, groundwater and vegetation and wildlife mortality.
As spills go, this one is relatively small but the environmental and financial
costs will be high and were probably preventable. Any time potential
contaminants are brought near precious, vulnerable resources, we gamble
on an “acceptable” risk. As citizens, we must hold corporations, and the
agencies that oversee them, accountable for ensuring that every reasonable
effort is made to improve the odds in favor of protecting our waters.
Here are some links to stories and information on the Yellowstone River Spill:
Montana Official State Website
"Water, air safe after oil spill; EPA says cleanup may take months" KTVQ.com
"Search for oil-soiled wildlife continues along Yellowstone River" Billings Gazette
"Wildlife deaths increase and more crude found in debris piles in Yellowstone oil spill" Billings Gazette
"Montana’s Yellowstone River Oil Spill: The Shape of Things to Come?" onearth
"Cleaning up the Yellowstone River oil spill" American Rivers blog
New Energy Star Initiative
Recognizes the Most Energy-Efficient Products
DOE and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a new
list of the "Most Efficient" Energy Star products. The list represents
the top tier of energy efficient products in several categories. See the
Most Efficient 2011 products on the Energy Star 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
engage, educate and advocate for improved water quality in the Blackstone
River 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.
- 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.
Editor: Michael Sperry firstname.lastname@example.org
Mailing address: BRWA, 271 Oak Street Uxbridge, MA 01569
Phone: 508-278-5200 Web: www.thebrwa.org
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