Blackstone River Watershed Association
Blackstone River Watershed Association
In This Issue


36th Annual BRWA Canoe and Kayak Race

Water Quality Monitoring Volunteers Still Needed!

BRWA Supports Limits In EPA UBWPAB Plant Permit.

Soggy But Successful Riverbank Cleanup!

New England “Soak Up the Rain” Campaign



Greenway Challenge Registration Now Open

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

Outsmart Invasive Species Project Smartphone App

Grafton Public Meeting To Buy Flint Pond Property

New Landscape Designations for DCR State and Urban Parks


American Rivers Releases “Banking on Green” Report

BRWA Online
About the BRWA


Issue 28 April 2012

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.

Archibald Lampman (April in the Hills )


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 Race

racers on water 2011The 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 and Feather logo
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 race website.

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:
    happy scientist
  • Emerson Brook in Uxbridge
  • West River, Route 16 in Uxbridge
Sampling is performed on the second Saturday of each month, from April to November.

Email 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 BRC website.


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!
Young volunteers loading a trash bag
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.
Group of Riverbend Farm volunteers posing with collected trash
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.


New England “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.


4/27 Arbor Day   info
4/28 Save The Frogs Day   info
4/28 MA Audubon Work For Wildlife Volunteer Day   info
4/28 National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day   see article
5/8 National Teacher Day   info
5/9 National Bike to School Day   info
5/10 BRWA Board Meeting 6:30pm 271 Oak St., Uxbridge   info
5/12 BRC Water Quality Sampling  
5/19 36th BRWA Canoe and Kayak Race  
5/20 Blackstone Valley Youth Fishing Tournament 8am - 1pm Hopedale Pond, Hopedale   info



Greenway Challenge Registration Now Open Greenway Challenge Logo
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 Blackstone Valley.

Registration forms are available here or visit the Greenway Challenge website for more information.


National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day
The bi-annual 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:
  • Cumberland, RI Police Department
  • Douglas Police Department
  • Hopedale Police Station
  • Grafton Police Department
  • Northbridge Police Department
  • Woonsocket, RI Police Department
  • Worcester Senior Center
Click here for the latest collection site updates.


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:
  • 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 provide recreation.
  • Reserves - properties representing the least fragmented forested areas where biological diversity based on ecological processes will predominate and inform management and conservation efforts.
For more information visit the website or read the full press release.



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:
  • 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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