Blackstone River Watershed Association
Blackstone River Watershed Association
In This Issue


An Evening With Owls - BRWA Annual Meeting

BRWA Volunteers Make a Difference!

Blackstone River Revival

Rally For The Valley! Heritage Corridor 25th Anniversary

Blackstone Canal Conservancy Planned Work Day

Charles River Wins International Riverprize



National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Lawmakers File Bills Creating National Historic Park

Upper Blackstone Water Pollution Abatement District Assessed Penalty


Nature Conservancy Interview With Richard Louv

EPA Adds New Mapping Tool to ECHO Database

BRWA Online
About the BRWA


Issue 22 October 2011

The water understands
Civilization well;
It wets my foot, but prettily,
It chills my life, but wittily,
It is not disconcerted,
It is not broken-hearted:
Well used, it decketh joy,
Adorneth, doubleth joy:
Ill used, it will destroy,
In perfect time and measure
With a face of golden pleasure
Elegantly destroy.

Water - Ralph Waldo Emerson


Switch to Recycled Toilet Paper
From the Natural Resources Defense Council:

If every household in the United States bought just one four-pack of 260-sheet recycled bath tissue, instead of the typical tissue made from virgin fiber, it would eliminate 60,600 pounds of chlorine pollution, preserve 356 million gallons of fresh water and save nearly 1 million trees. And the best news is that a four-pack of recycled toilet paper costs about the same as a four-pack of conventional toilet paper.

Click here for more of the story.


An Evening With Owls
BRWA Annual Meeting/Member Appreciation Event

Northern Saw Whet Owl Saturday, November 5 at 5PM
River Bend Farm Visitor’s Center, Uxbridge

To thank our membership for another successful year, the BRWA will feature a Saw-whet Owl banding program by the Lookout Rock Owl Banders. This program will include a presentation introducing us to the smallest owl species in the northeastern US, the Northern Saw-whet Owl, and the contribution the banding project makes to better understand their movements and biology. The evening will include a short business meeting followed by a fall buffet.

Saw-whet Owl perched on Lookout Rock sign
The indoor presentation will be followed by, weather permitting, a banding demonstration at Lookout Rock where you can experience the capture and banding of Saw-whet Owls close up and learn more about them and the techniques used to collect the data.

Space for the banding demonstration is limited so RSVP soon!

Not a Member but want to participate?

Join today by sending a donation via PayPal from or via mail to 271 Oak Street, Uxbridge, MA 01569


BRWA Volunteers Make a Difference! Trash at Blackstone Canal
The BRWA sponsored the Fifth Annual Blackstone Valley Riverways Cleanup on October 23rd. One hundred and five volunteers cleaned along the banks at the Blackstone River and Canal State Park in Uxbridge, Plummer’s Landing in Northbridge, the Mumford River Walk in Northbridge, West River Road in Uxbridge, Rice City Pond in Uxbridge, the Providence Street area in Millbury, and Depot Street in Uxbridge. The volunteers collected 89 bags of trash, one scooter, two tires, a barrel, some wooden pallets and several car parts.

Cleanup volunteers in canoes at Blackstone Canal Our thanks go out to the enthusiastic volunteers from Blackstone Millville Regional High School, Whitin Middle 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. Volunteers with pile of trash bags in a canoe at Blackstone Canal


Blackstone River Revival - Bi-State Conference
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
3:00 to 8:00 pm
Northbridge Town Hall and Alternatives Unlimited

The Blackstone River Coalition and the John H Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor are sponsoring a watershed-wide bi-state conference focusing on future river restoration, water quality improvements and increased recreation. The conference is open to river advocates, local, state and federal agencies and all who care about the river. Come and help shape the future of your watershed.

Fee: $10:00
For more information contact Peter Coffin, BRC Coordinator, at 508-753-6087 or


Rally For The Valley! Heritage Corridor 25th Anniversary 2011 Rally For The Valley Poster

Visit the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor website or call 401-762-0250.


Blackstone Canal Conservancy Planned Work Day
The Blackstone Canal Conservancy is planning a canal work day (a morning actually) on Saturday, Nov. 12. Meet 9 AM at Plummer’s Landing, Church St. Northbridge. The plan is to begin a continuing series of work days with the clearing of the canal towpath between Church Street in Northbridge and the first breach to the south. The towpath (not the roadway on the west side of the canal) is rather clear from Church Street to the sewer line crossing. But, then it becomes rather overgrown to the breach where the river flows into the canal. There is a little litter along the way but most of the hindrance is branches, overgrowth, thorns, and a few fallen trees. Volunteers are needed to clear the brush, small growth, and clear downed trees. If you have loppers, brush cutters (swizzle sticks), work gloves, or bow saws, please bring them. No power tools will be used. Call Dave Barber, 508-478-4918 for more information.

The Blackstone Canal Conservancy has been established as a voluntary group to educate the public about the canal and to work towards the preservation of its remains, which are quite extensive. It is intended that the conservancy will work with the federal Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, the Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park in Massachusetts, the Blackstone River State Park in Rhode Island, and other local parks and with associated groups such as the Blackstone River Watershed Association.


Charles River Wins International Riverprize
Congratulations to our colleagues at the Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) for the awarding of the 2011 Thiess International Riverprize, one of the world’s most prestigious environmental prizes, to the Charles River. The award was in recognition of the transformation of the river from national disgrace to one of the cleanest urban rivers in the US, due in great part to the efforts of the CRWA. The environmental award recognizes, rewards and supports those who have developed and implemented outstanding, visionary and sustainable programs in river management, according to the International River Foundation.


10/29 National Prescription Drug Take Back Day   info
---- November - National Family Stories Month  
11/5 BRWA Annual Member Appreciation Event and Business Meeting 5:00 PM  
11/10 Rally for the Valley 6pm-7pm BVNHCC HQ, 1 Depot Square, Woonsocket, RI   info
11/12 BRC Water Quality Sampling
11/12 BCC Workday. 9am at Plummer’s Landing, Church St. Northbridge.   see article
11/15 America Recycles Day   info
11/16 Blackstone River Revival - Northbridge Town Hall & Alternatives, Whitinsville   see article
11/17 National Homemade Bread Day   Mmmm, Bread



National Prescription Drug Take Back Day
Many local towns will be hosting a drug take-back day on Saturday, October 29, from 10am to 2pm, in conjunction with National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Area towns include Cumberland, Douglas, Grafton, Millbury, Northbridge, Sutton, Upton and Woonsocket. Improper disposal of prescription drugs is a major health, safety and environmental issue. Visit the DEA National Take Back Initiative website to locate local collection sites and find drug disposal information. The drop-off is anonymous; “no questions asked”.


Lawmakers File Bills Creating National Historic Park
Lawmakers from Rhode Island and Massachusetts filed legislation to create a new national park unit within the Blackstone River Valley. In the House of Representatives, cosponsors U.S. Representative David Cicilline (D-RI), Richard E. Neal (D-MA), James McGovern (D-MA), and James Langevin (D-RI) introduced legislation to create the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park. In the Senate, a bill was introduced by cosponsors Senator Jack Reed, D-RI, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI, Senator John Kerry, D-MA, and Senator Scott Brown, R-MA.

The Park would be comprised of sites and districts in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts including the Blackstone River and its tributaries; the Blackstone Canal; the non-contiguous nationally significant historic districts of Old Slater Mill in Pawtucket; the villages of Slatersville (in North Smithfield) and Ashton (in Cumberland) Rhode Island; and Whitinsville and Hopedale in Massachusetts.


Upper Blackstone Water Pollution Abatement District Assessed $20,000 Penalty to Resolve Clean Water Act Violations
from MassDEP

The Upper Blackstone Water Pollution Abatement District (UBWPAD), located in Millbury, has been assessed a $20,000 penalty by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to resolve two violations of the Surface Water Discharge Permit regulations that occurred last year at the facility's outfall to the Blackstone River.

The violations resulted from a fish kill in the Blackstone River that was determined to have been caused by operational errors resulting in an overfeed of disinfection chemicals in the UBWPAD's discharge into the Blackstone River. A further investigation of the incident also revealed that a previous fish kill had occurred in May of 2010 and it was due to the same problem. The UBWPAD agreed to upgrade the facility's chemical feed monitoring system to prevent future overdoses, and to implement additional training programs.

Click here for the full MassDEP Press Release.



Nature Conservancy Interview With Richard Louv
View a discussion with famed journalist and author Richard Louv where he answers questions about Nature-Deficit Disorder, getting kids outside, and the importance of nature in a modern world. Louv is the author of eight books about the connections between family, nature and community, including Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder and The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder. Louv is also the founding chairman of the Children & Nature Network.

Watch the Interview


EPA Adds New Mapping Tool to ECHO Database
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the release of a new mapping feature in EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) database. As part of EPA’s ongoing effort to improve transparency, the EPA and State Enforcement Actions Map will allow the public to access federal and state enforcement information in an interactive format and to compare enforcement action information by state. The map will be refreshed monthly to include up to date information about enforcement actions taken.

Use the Enforcement and Compliance History Online database to look up enforcement information where you live. ECHO helps you search EPA and state data about inspections and enforcement actions taken to address violations of air, water, and waste laws at over 800,000 regulated facilities.

Visit ECHO at


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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