Nashua River Watershed Association Nashua River Watershed  Association & The Massachusetts Watershed Initiative
Massachusetts Watershed Initiative
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Executive Summary
Issues and Needs
Summary of Specific Watershed Issues
Making the Watershed Connection
Watershed Perspectives
Sub-basin Profiles & Maps
Bowers/Nonacoicus River
Catacunemaug River
Fall Brook
Falulah/Baker Brook
Flag Brook
Flints Brook
James Brook
Monoosnoc Brook
Mulpus Brook
North River Main Stem
Nissitissit River
North Nashua River
Phillips Brook
Quinapoxet River
South Nashua River
Squannacook River
Still River
Stillwater River
Unkey Brook
Wachusett Reservoir
Wekepeke Brook
Whitman River
Action Plan Matrix
Recommendations by Category
  Recommendations by Town
Recommendations by Sub-basin
  Community Locator  
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  Reading Room  
Executive Summary

The primary goals of recommended actions in this Five Year Action Plan are to:

  • Maintain the high level of water quality in the tributaries and return degraded waters to their designated uses pursuant to State Water Quality Standards.

  • Protect and manage in-stream flow and groundwater resources throughout the watershed to provide high quality drinking water supply sources and aquatic and riparian habitat.

  • Support local growth planning efforts and encourage careful land use with well-planned development in order to protect priority land areas for forest, agriculture, habitat, water resources and recreational values.

The Five Year Action Plan (hereafter referred to as "the Plan") is intended to serve as a working document to assist stakeholders and guide agencies in directing staff and resources. By outlining specific strategies to mitigate priority watershed problems it will promote integrated watershed natural resource protection or improvement. The environmental priorities identified in this comprehensive Plan may be used to focus local and regional regulatory decision-making and to target state grant programs and other resources such as educational and technical assistance programs.

The Plan is organized on a sub-watershed or sub-basin basis: there are 22 distinct sub-basins in the larger Nashua River watershed.1 The Plan is addressed to a wide public audience in addition to resource managers. Major components in the Plan's creation include stakeholder participation, community involvement and public review. The public has participated in identifying problems and their possible solutions, and will help implement the recommendations.2 It should be noted that the Commonwealth's funding priorities are increasingly tied to the 5 Year Watershed Action Plan.

This Five Year Action Plan is a product of the former Massachusetts Watershed Initiative (MWI) Nashua Team: a collaboration of watershed interests consisting of state and federal environmental agencies, municipal agencies, non-profit associations, citizens, and other interested parties.3

When the MWI Nashua Team was first formed, the Team reviewed the Nashua River Watershed Association's 2020 Vision Plan for the Nashua River Watershed and embraced its goals. The Team noted the strong benefit to the team of building on the planning and extensive work of both the NRWA and the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) in the basin to date. The Team also recognized the relevancy of the plans developed by the area's Regional Planning Agencies, noting the recent work of the Regional Planning Agencies in Massachusetts and New Hampshire to develop a growth management plan for its Nashua watershed towns.

With the passage of the 1972 Clean Water Act and citizen efforts, the waters of the Nashua River have significantly improved. The Nashua has, within a few decades, gone from one of the worst rivers in the nation to a river whose restoration is now considered a model for other rivers. But ongoing effort is required to keep the river system healthy. Indeed, a large percentage of the basin's water bodies are still impaired by pollution and do not meet water quality, aquatic indicators and other standards.


1 See Sub-Basin Profiles and Maps or Community Locator
2 Four public forums were held in 4 groupings of sub-basins; namely:
1) Nissitissit & Squannacook Rivers;
2) Wachusett Reservoir;
3) North Nashua River;
4) Main Stem Nashua River.
3 A complete list of MWI Nashua Team participants is included in the About Us section.

See the Reading Room Reference Material section for a record of public input.

See Watershed Maps to locate your town within the above noted aggregate sub-basins.


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