What we’re doing is working collaboratively to win the Campaign for a Fishable/Swimmable Blackstone River.
Cold Water Fishery Protection
The BRC has received $25,000 from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust grant program to bolster our three project priority areas: 1) support of Year 15 of our award-winning Blackstone River Coalition watershed-wide volunteer water quality monitoring program; 2) focus on MA cold water fishery streams in the Blackstone River watershed where we have long-running monitoring sites; 3) conduct an education and outreach program in the cold-water fishery sub-watershed communities, including the four cwfs in urban Worcester (Tatnuck Brook, Ararat Brook, Coal Mine Brook and Poor Farm Brook), and the 9 cwfs in the mill towns of Grafton, Upton, Sutton, Northbridge, Douglas, Uxbridge (Cold Spring Brook, Centerville Brook, Cook Allen Brook, Miscoe Brook, Warren Brook, Meadow Brook, Emerson Brook, Bacon Brook, and the West River).
Campaign for a fishable-swimmable Blackstone River
In order to marshall the resources to actually clean up the Blackstone River, in 2003 the Blackstone River Coalition launched the Campaign for a Fishable/Swimmable Blackstone River.
To build a roadmap for the Campaign, the BRC is working with federal, state and local agencies, as well as non-profit organizations, academic institutions and businesses to create a bi-state watershed action plan.
To improve water quality to achieve a fishable/swimmable Blackstone River, the Campaign focuses on the following:
- Tackling stormwater and polluted runoff and reducing pollutants washed into the waterways and lowering the volume of stormwater flowing into waterways.
- Implementing more stringent limits on nutrients such as nitrates and phosphates at wastewater treatment plants
- Protecting undeveloped areas, restoring wetlands and riparian areas, protecting cold water fishery streams, encouraging Low Impact Development strategies such as reducing impervious surfaces, increasing infiltration, and planting native species.
- Restoring flow by methods such as:
- breach or remove appropriate dams
- establish fish passages for anadromous species at the four lower-most dams
- Continuing to build a system of river access points to increase opportunities for fishing, canoeing and enjoying passive recreation
Education and outreach
- Developing programs to increase watershed awareness and appreciation and encouraging active stewardship
A two-tiered campaign:
The grassroots level
- Watershed-wide Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Program
- Homeowner’s Guide to Protecting Water Quality in the Blackstone River Watershed — eight fact sheets about reducing impacts from lawns, cars, pets, dishwashers, rooftop runnoff, household hazardous waste and impervious surfaces to waterways.
- Horse Owner’s Guide to Protecting Water Quality in the Blackstone Valley
- Small Farm Owner’s Guide to Protecting Water Quality in the Blackstone Valley
- Rain Gardens help to collect the roof runoff, enhance your landscaping, and infiltrate to ground water.
The business level
- Business owners can join the “In Business for the Blackstone” Program.
Federal, state and local environmental agencies are working collaboratively to help reach our goal of a fishable/swimmable Blackstone River.
- US Environmental Protection Agency
- Army Corps of Engineers
- Natural Resources Conservation Service
- US Geological Survey, National Park Service
- Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management
- Rhode Island Department of Transportation
- Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
- Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
- Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation
- Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game
- Local town governments