Blackstone River Watershed Association
I break the spirit's cloudy bands,
A wanderer in enchanted lands,
I feel the sun upon my hands;
And far from care and strife
The broad earth bids me forth. I rise
With lifted brow and upward eyes.
I bathe my spirit in blue skies,
And taste the springs of life.
I feel the tumult of new birth;
I waken with the wakening earth;
I match the bluebird in her mirth;
And wild with wind and sun,
A treasurer of immortal days,
I roam the glorious world with praise,
The hillsides and the woodland ways,
Till earth and I are one.
(April in the Hills )
TIP OF THE MONTH
Making Your Voice Heard
We often report on issues or pending
legislation that affect our watershed or national environmental policy.
Within the constraints of the eNewsletter format, we try to bring
these issues to your attention and offer some explanation. We
encourage our readers to study these issues and to contact their
elected officials. Your voice matters.
To determine who your elected officials are, visit:
For information on state legislation, visit:
For a primer on the MA state legislative process, visit:
Legislative “scorecards” can be helpful in assessing the voting record
of elected lawmakers. Here are two that focus on environmental issues
at the national level:
36th Annual BRWA Canoe and Kayak
The Blackstone River Watershed Association will
hold its 36th Annual Canoe and Kayak race on Saturday, May 19, 2012.
This 11 mile event will start at 7 Depot Street in South Grafton, MA.
The race will end at the River Bend Farm Visitor Center in Uxbridge, MA.
Points for the NECKRA and the NE Downriver Championship will be awarded.
After the race there will be live music, food vendors and an award ceremony.
Fin & Feather Sports
has offered a 10% discount to any racer who rents a canoe or kayak
the day of the race.
Registration is between 9:30am and 10:30am
Race begins at 11:00am
The race entry form is available for download from the
To participate or to volunteer please contact Steve Cunningham at
Water Quality Monitoring
Volunteers Still Needed!
Don't miss this hands-on opportunity to improve
water quality in the Watershed! Two sites are still available for Volunteer
Samplers in the Blackstone River Watershed-wide Water
Quality Monitoring Program:
Sampling is performed on the second Saturday of each month, from
April to November.
- Emerson Brook in Uxbridge
- West River, Route 16 in Uxbridge
Tammy Gilpatrick or call 508-278-2080 if you can help.
The Water Quality Monitoring Program is coordinated by the Blackstone
River Coalition. For more information about the Program, visit the
BRWA Supports Nutrient Limits In EPA UBWPAB Treatment Plant Permit.
The BRWA joined 6 other organizations in a
letter of support for the more stringent pollutant discharge limits
at the Upper Blackstone Water Pollution Abatement District (UBWPAD)
plant in Millbury as specified in the [EPA] permit issued in 2008.
The letter is addressed to Patrick King, the settlement counsel in
the mediation process between the EPA and the District over the
pollutant discharge limits for the treatment plant. At issue are
the stricter limits on the amount of Phosphorous and Nitrogen compounds
discharged by the plant into the Blackstone River. Quoting from the letter:
“The Upper Blackstone Water Pollution Abatement District, like other
point sources along the Blackstone River, flushes all of its contents
into the river, and the Blackstone River, in turn, flushes all of its
contents into Narragansett Bay.
“That is why every point source must accept the responsibilities that
come along with being a discharger of pollutants into the water of the
United States”. “We believe that the 2008 permit limits are reasonably
and scientifically-based and should be upheld and implemented as
expeditiously as possible.”
The District and Worcester city officials argue that the permit was
not based on sound science, would do little to improve water quality
and would carry unreasonable implementation and operating cost.
The UBWPAD appealed the EPA permit and the dispute is currently in mediation.
The BRWA applauds the progress made by the UBWPAD in meeting the
requirements of the 1998 Permit within the required 15 year implementation
period. We feel that the requirements of the 2008 permit are achievable,
are based on sound scientific models and are necessary for the continued
improvement of water quality in the Watershed.
The letter was also signed by Blackstone River Coalition, Blackstone
River Watershed Council/Friends of the Blackstone, Massachusetts Rivers
Alliance, Audubon Society of Rhode Island, Northern Rhode Island Chapter
737 Trout Unlimited and Save The Bay.
Soggy But Successful Riverbank Cleanup!
Over 100 volunteers participated in the BRWA
sponsored Earth Day Cleanup on April 22, 2012. The event was part of
Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Park
Serve Day and Alternatives Unlimited, Inc. Clean and Green Day.
Over 70 bags of trash were collected along with tires, electronics
and discarded household items. Cleanup sites included Plummers Landing
in Northbridge, River Road in Uxbridge, Bacon Brook in Uxbridge,
Fisherville Dam in Grafton, Mill River in Blackstone and at the
Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park in Uxbridge. The
volunteers included groups from Uxbridge Cub Scout Pack 25, Uxbridge
Boy Scout Troop 1122, Alternatives Unlimited, Inc., Uxbridge CERT,
Uxbridge Cub Scout Pack 150, Assumption School in Millbury,
Blackstone-Millville Regional High School, Blackstone Valley United
Methodist Church, BRWA members and other individuals interested in
improving water quality.
Special thanks go out to Stop & Shop in Grafton, Koopman Lumber
in Whitinsville, Uxbridge and Grafton and Harry's Famous Pizza in Uxbridge
for their generous support.
Following the cleanup, volunteers gathered at River Bend Farm Visitor
Center to enjoy pizza and refreshments provided by BRWA. The clean-up
was followed by a Clean & Green Fair presented by Alternatives, Inc
and the BRWA.
“Soak Up the Rain” Campaign
EPA New England is launching the Soak up the Rain
campaign as a call to action to citizens, businesses, and communities to help
manage stormwater, reduce polluted runoff flowing to streams, lakes
and ocean, reduce flooding and create healthier, more beautiful
landscapes. Visit the
Soak up the Rain website for information about the program and
tips, guides and resources that enable you to be part of the solution.
|CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Save The Frogs Day
MA Audubon Work For Wildlife Volunteer Day
National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day
National Teacher Day
National Bike to School Day
BRWA Board Meeting 6:30pm 271 Oak St., Uxbridge
BRC Water Quality Sampling
36th BRWA Canoe and Kayak Race
Blackstone Valley Youth Fishing Tournament 8am - 1pm
Hopedale Pond, Hopedale
IN YOUR COMMUNITY
Greenway Challenge Registration Now Open
Registration for the 2012 UniBank Blackstone River
Valley Greenway Challenge, Saturday, September 29, is now available.
This event is billed as “one of New England's premier adventure races”
where athletes run, paddle and cycle through the beautiful and historic
Registration forms are available
here or visit the
Greenway Challenge website for more information.
National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day
National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day will take place on Saturday,
April 28, 2012 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at participating police stations
and other secure disposal locations. The event provides the public with
an opportunity to anonymously surrender pharmaceutical controlled substances
and other medications to law enforcement officers for safe destruction.
These substances present a poison risk for children and teens and improper
disposal may lead to pollution of lakes and rivers and soil contamination
posing a risk to our drinking water supply and to the food chain.
As we publish, the following area collection sites have been listed:
for the latest collection site updates.
- Cumberland, RI Police Department
- Douglas Police Department
- Hopedale Police Station
- Grafton Police Department
- Northbridge Police Department
- Woonsocket, RI Police Department
- Worcester Senior Center
Outsmart Invasive Species Project Smartphone App
from the CPPA - UMass Outsmart Project press release
Thanks to a new collaboration between the
University of Massachusetts’ Center for Public Policy and Administration
(CPPA) and the state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR),
anyone with a smartphone or a digital camera can help scientists collect
valuable data about invasive species throughout Massachusetts.
Charles Schweik, associate professor of public policy and environmental
conservation at UMass Amherst, and Jennifer Fish, director of DCR’s Service
Forestry program in Amherst, have received a grant from the U.S. Department
of Agriculture to enlist the help of “citizen scientists” to map invasive
species using smartphone technology.
The new Outsmart Invasive Species Project lets people learn about, identify
and report invasive species in their own time, using the Outsmart Invasive
Species iPhone or Android applications, which are available for free through
iTunes and Google Play. But a smartphone isn’t necessary to help collect
and report valuable data. Participants who have digital cameras and access
to the Internet can submit data by registering through the free at
Early Detection and
Distribution Mapping System. All Massachusetts data submitted through
this website, as well as that collected by smartphone users, will be sent
to the Outsmart project team and reviewed by biologists.
Visit the MassWoods Outsmart
Invasive Species Project website for more information.
UMass CPPA press release
Grafton Selectmen To Hold
Public Meeting – Town May Buy Flint Pond Property
The Grafton Board of Selectmen voted to hold a
public meeting on May 1 to discuss using town funds to purchase land
adjacent to Flint Pond. The Conservation Commission, Planning Board and
Board of Assessors recommended that the town exercise its option to purchase
the land under Chapter 61A. The current owner has an offer from a buyer
proposing to develop the land for industrial use. Purchase by the town
could preserve wetland resource areas and provide public access to the pond.
New Landscape Designations for DCR State and Urban Parks
Earlier this month, the Department of Conservation
and Recreation (DCR) Stewardship Council endorsed the final
Landscape Designations under a new Stewardship Plan that establishes
management designations for 311,000 acres of parklands, reserves and
woodlands comprising the state parks system. The three designations are:
For more information visit the
or read the full press release.
- Parklands - Areas primarily managed for public recreation
opportunities, connections to nature, and the protection and appreciation
of natural and cultural resources.
- Woodlands - areas that are actively managed to demonstrate model
forestry, resource protection, sustainable production of timber and
- Reserves - properties representing the least fragmented forested areas
where biological diversity based on ecological processes will predominate
and inform management and conservation efforts.
OF GLOBAL INTEREST
American Rivers Releases
“Banking on Green” Report
In response to the increasing need for communities
across the country to repair or replace failing and outdated stormwater
management infrastructure, American Rivers, the American Society of
Landscape Architects, ECONorthwest, and the Water Environment Federation
recently released the “Banking on Green” report. The report investigates
the cost-effectiveness of green infrastructure and examines how these
practices can increase energy efficiency and reduce energy costs, reduce
localized flooding, and protect public health. The report concludes that,
while traditional (grey) infrastructure was effective in transporting
stormwater away, the practices resulted in increased water pollution and
flooding. The investigation found that many of these problems can be
mitigated by green infrastructure practices, and that the implementation
can be cost and energy efficient.
Download Banking on Green report [PDF].
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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