Blackstone River Watershed Association
Blackstone River Watershed Association
In This Issue


BRWA Winter Hike

BRWA 2012 Annual Meeting

"The Cost of Clean" Articles

MACOLAP Lake and Pond Management Workshop



Area Towns Review EPA NPDES Draft Permits

Massachusetts Developers to Pay a Fine for Clean Water Act Violations in Uxbridge

Endangered Species Fact Sheets


Cleantech Innovations New England’s-EPA Water Challenge

BRWA Online
About the BRWA


Issue 36 December 2012

Ask Me

Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
what I have done is my life. Others
have come in their slow way into
my thought, and some have tried to help
or to hurt: ask me what difference
their strongest love or hate has made.

I will listen to what you say.
You and I can turn and look
at the silent river and wait. We know
the current is there, hidden; and there
are comings and goings from miles away
that hold the stillness exactly before us.
What the river says, that is what I say.

William Stafford

Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press
"Ask Me" by William Stafford copyright 1977, 1998 by the Estate of William Stafford
Originally published in The Way It Is: New & Selected Poems, Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, MN.


This will be my last newsletter as Editor. After three years, I feel that a new captain is needed to sustain the quality of the publication and improve it’s content. Therefore, I confidently hand over the bridge to Susan Thomas, who is eminently qualified to take command (more so than I ever was).

The goal of the newsletter has been and will continue to be to reach out to our members and the community at large in support of the mission of the BRWA and to provide readers not only with our news, but also with news and information from the local community and the world that affects watersheds and the environment as a whole.

Thank you for your readership, support, and the many kind words over the last three years. Please continue to read, contribute stories, photos, poems and other material, and spread the word about the BRWA and our Watershed.


BRWA Winter Hike

The BRWA will host a Winter Hike, Saturday January 26, 1 pm to 2:30 pm, at Purgatory Chasm State Reservation in Sutton, MA. Join us as we explore one of the lesser known trails in the Reservation.

Susan Thomas, Program Assistant for the BRWA, and Natural History Guide for Mass Audubon at Broad Meadow Brook, will guide us on a scenic hike from the hemlock and oak groves of this magnificent park past wetlands and streams down to “Little Purgatory” – a magical spot often overlooked by visitors who come to view the Park’s famous name-sake chasm. Along the way, Susan will share her knowledge of the plants and wildlife of the area as well as the historical and geological features of this renowned state reservation.

This will be a moderate 1.5 mile hike. The ground is uneven and could be snow covered or muddy depending on the weather. Wear appropriate footwear and bring water.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information or to RESERVE YOUR SPOT, please email or call 508-278-5200.


BRWA 2012 Annual Meeting
The BRWA held it’s annual meeting on December 13. Officers elected for 2013 were:
  • Dona Neely – President
  • Tammy Gilpatrick – Vice-President, Treasurer
  • Mike Sperry – Secretary
President Dona Neely shared a summary of the years accomplishments:
  • Mechanical Harvesting and "Pull-the-Plants" Parties to control Water Chestnuts in Rice City Pond through our Invasive Aquatic Plants Program
  • Expanded our "Watershed and Us" education program reaching more students and elementary schools in the Watershed
  • Added a Winter Hike to our annual recreational events
  • Continued success of our annual Cleanups and Canoe Race
Members shared program and event ideas over a light supper.


"The Cost of Clean" Articles
We call your attention to a recent series of articles that appeared in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette. The articles explore some of the challenges and debates surrounding the cleanup and protection of the Blackstone River and it’s watershed. Also provided are several videos and related information.

See the series at


MACOLAP Lake and Pond Management Workshop

The Massachusetts Congress of Lake and Pond Associations (MACOLAP) is holding it's 26th Annual Winter Lake and Pond Management Workshop on January 26, 8-3 at Worcester State University ($25 for members, $30 nonmembers, $15 Students).

Pre-register online or by phone as soon as possible. See for details, or call 508-429-5085.


1/1 First Day Hike, Blackstone River and Canal HSP, Uxbridge 1pm   info
1/10 BRWA Board Meeting 7pm 271 Oak St., Uxbridge   info
1/12 BCC Workday. 9am at Plummer’s Landing, Church St. Northbridge.   Info from Dave Barber 508-478-4918
1/18 Winnie the Pooh Day  
“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like 'What about lunch?'” more
1/23 National Pie Day (Mmmmm...pie)   info
1/26 BRWA Winter Hike 1-2:30 at Purgatory Chasm   see above
1/26 MACOLAP 25th Annual Winter Lake and Pond Management Workshop 8-3 at Worcester State University  see above
2/9 BCC Workday. 9am at Plummer’s Landing, Church St. Northbridge.   Info from Dave Barber 508-478-4918



Area Towns Review EPA NPDES Draft Permits
The watershed towns of Uxbridge, Northbridge and Grafton reviewed the EPA draft permits issued to their respective wastewater treatment facilities. Most controversial in the new permits are more stringent limits on Nitrogen and Phosphorous. The stricter limits are a response to indications that the predominant impairment to water quality is due to excessive nutrients entering the river from sewage plants, septic and storm water runoff. Here is a link to the official response to the EPA from the Grafton Board of Sewer Commissioners that reflects the concerns of the smaller treatment facilities that discharge into watershed rivers and streams.


Massachusetts Developers to Pay a Fine for Clean Water Act Violations in Uxbridge
Excerpt from a 12/11/2012 EPA News Release

EPA and Albee Realty Trust have resolved a penalty action for discharges of silt-laden storm water associated with development of a seven lot residential subdivision in Uxbridge, Mass., in violation of the federal Clean Water Act. Under the agreement, Albee will pay a penalty of $24,000.

Visit the EPA Newsroom for the full text of the News Release.


Endangered Species Fact Sheets
reprinted from MassWildlife News

Want the facts on endangered species in Massachusetts? Visit MassWildlife’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species web page at Fact sheets for all state-listed birds, fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates and plants have been posted. (Sea turtles and five whale do not have fact sheets.) Each fact sheet includes an image or drawing of the species, a brief description, listing of similar species, habitat preferences, life history, range map, management recommendations and references.



Cleantech Innovations New England’s-EPA Water Challenge
Cleantech Innovations New England is providing awards to teams of up to $130,000 as part of the i6 Green Challenge, funded by EPA in partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Department of Energy. This challenge seeks technologies that offer long-term, resilient, and market-based solutions to the problem of nutrient pollution caused by insufficient wastewater treatment in coastal areas.

Existing septic systems, upon which a high proportion of New England communities depend, are designed to adequately treat bacteria but are not designed to remove nutrients from the wastewater. Of particular concern to coastal communities is nitrogen which is currently expensive to remove with existing septic system technology. The funds will be awarded to develop affordable technologies to reduce nitrogen discharge from septic systems, recover nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium) from wastewater and possibly create energy.

Cleantech Innovations New England is a new, region wide program led by the New England Clean Energy Foundation to accelerate the pace and scale of new clean energy ventures across all six New England states.

For more information on the challenge, visit the Cleantech Innovations New England’s-EPA Water Challenge for InnovateMass website 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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