Early evening on the Nashua River - photo by Cedwyn Morgan

2015 River Report Card

Our volunteer monitors have been collecting and analyzing samples for the past three months. Their most recent sampling day was Saturday, June 20th. The lack of rain and low stream flows were evident in the monitoring results for June (ahead of rains on Father's Day Sunday and storms on June 23rd). With low flow, we see higher temperatures and lower dissolved oxygen levels. We also see conductivity up at almost all sites (less flow, more ions concentrated in the water). We did see an increase in E.coli at many sites, but not as much as would have been seen if sampling had been done after the steady rains on Sunday. The next monitoring date is Saturday, July 18th.

View 2015 River Report Card. Note that the Report opens on the E.coli worksheet, but you can scroll through to the other data worksheets (temp/DO, etc.) at the bottom of the page.

Do you have questions, or would you like more information? Contact Martha Morgan, NRWA Water Programs Director (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) or Kathryn Nelson, NRWA Water Monitoring Coordinator (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ).



Nashua River in Harvard MA - photo by Kristopher Kvenvold

Protecting Harvard's Waterways: NRWA to Expand Water Monitoring in Harvard

Did you know that the 10-mile stretch of the Nashua River which runs through Harvard, including the Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge (Oxbow NWR), is state-listed as impaired by E.coli bacteria? Are you aware that at least one invasive water chestnut plant was removed from that same stretch of river last year? The NRWA will be expanding its efforts to address these issues beginning this summer as part of its project, "Protecting Our Waterways: Aquatic Invasive Surveys and Bacterial Testing in Harvard and the Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge," with funding from the Foundation for MetroWest.

The NRWA currently monitors water quality and stream conditions at one location on Bowers Brook, with sampling once per month over seven months each season. As part of this project, monitoring will be expanded with two to three additional sites in Harvard and at the Oxbow NWR, and samples will be collected weekly during the months of July and August.  The results will be used to create a "River Report Card" that will be posted on NRWA's website, shared with local papers, town and state officials, and the Oxbow NWR. The information will also be used to post alerts to notify the public when water conditions do not meet swimming or boating standards.

Additionally, the NRWA will undertake an aquatic invasives survey of river reaches in Harvard and the Oxbow NWR, hand pulling any water chestnut plants that are located. Early hand removal of individual plants is vital to prevent the aggressive spread of this plant that is responsible for the current 90-acre infestation of the Nashua River in the Pepperell and Groton area. Local residents may be aware of similar efforts undertaken on Bare Hill Pond. NRWA will work cooperatively with the Friends of the Oxbow, and information garnered from the survey will be shared with the Oxbow NWR and the Eastern Massachusetts National Wildlife Refuge Complex, strengthening capacity to undertake a regional approach to water chestnuts.

As part of this project, the NRWA will be looking for volunteers in Harvard to assist with stream monitoring and invasive surveying and removal. Educational presentations will also be made to the public, the first being "Protecting Harvard's Waterways" on March 26th at 7:00 p.m. in Volunteers Hall at the Harvard Public Library.  The public is invited to attend this free presentation to learn more about this project and opportunities for volunteer participation.

Established in 1995, the Foundation for MetroWest is the only community foundation serving the 33 cities and towns in the MetroWest region, connecting the philanthropic interests of donors with demonstrated need in the areas of Family Support, Arts & Culture, Environment and Youth Development. The Foundation has granted over $9 million to charitable organizations and currently stewards more than $15 million in charitable assets for current needs and future impact. Learn more about the Foundation for MetroWest. 

To learn more about this NRWA project, the presentation on March 26th, or to volunteer, please contact Kathryn Nelson, NRWA's Water Monitoring Coordinator, at (978) 448-0299, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .     



Nashua River Wild and Scenic River Study Act Press Conference - photo by Carolyn Perkins

Congresswoman Tsongas Announces Passage of the Nashua River Wild and Scenic River Study Act

GROTON – On Monday, January 12, 2015, Congresswoman Niki Tsongas will host an event to celebrate the passage and signing into law of the Nashua River Wild and Scenic River Study Act at the office of the Nashua River Watershed Association in Groton. Tsongas will be joined by local officials and local conservation organizations and advocates.

Congresswoman Tsongas authored and introduced the legislation and shepherded the bill through the legislative process, securing support from the Republican leadership to ensure its passage. The bill was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate in December and signed into law by President Obama.

The Nashua River Wild and Scenic River Study Act will take steps toward protecting the Nashua River, authorizing the National Park Service (NPS) to advance the process for giving the Nashua River and two of its tributaries, the Squannacook and Nissitissit Rivers, a federal protection designation.

The legislation has been endorsed by eight towns through which the Nashua runs in Massachusetts: Lancaster, Harvard, Shirley, Ayer, Groton, Dunstable, Pepperell, and Townsend.

"The history and development of the towns and cities in the 3rd District of Massachusetts has been defined by the many rivers that course through these unique communities. The study initiated by this bill will allow the National Park Service, the Watershed Association, and local governments and stakeholders to work together in forming a plan to protect the Nashua River and ensure that it remains a central part of life and growth in our region," said Congresswoman Tsongas.

Tsongas is a member of the Natural Resources Committee and has worked to preserve and protect the rivers and waterways in the Third Congressional District. She hosts an annual River Day to highlight the importance of the Rivers in the communities she represents and to recognize the organizations, volunteers and different levels of government working together to sustain and preserve the integrity of these resources.



Tennessee Gas Pipeline Issue

The NRWA opposes the proposed route for the Tennessee Gas pipeline in northern MA.  If it is determined that a new natural gas pipeline is essential, the NRWA urges that alternative routes less damaging to the environment be utilized.  See position.


Hike Ashby's Blood Hill & Wijta Properties on Sunday, Nov. 23

TG-Pipeline v15.0 Interactive Map edited by Gerald Couper

Kinder Morgan / Tennessee Gas Pipeline (KM/TGP) Pre-Filing Application for the Northeast Energy Direct (NED) Pipeline with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) 9/15/14--once on FERC eLibrary page, enter the Docket #PF14-22.

Kinder Morgan / Tennessee Gas Pipeline FERC Pre-filing can also be viewed on other sites such as:  No Fracked Gas NED Info

Potential Natural Resource Impacts of Proposed Tennessee Gas Pipeline in the Nashua River Watershed (13 minute video by NRWA intern Elizabeth Wilkey)

Representative Sheila Harrington Memo of 6/30/14


Info on Laterals

In addition to the main proposed pipeline crossing from west to east across the watershed there are three additional proposed smaller and shorter pipeline "laterals" which are part of the entire Kinder Morgan
Northeast Energy Direct project. These laterals are the so-called "Fitchburg Lateral Extension" which runs in a
north-south trajectory off the main pipeline in Townsend into Lunenburg and the so-called "West Nashua Lateral" aka "Hollis" lateral which runs in a south-north trajectory off the main pipeline in Pepperell into Hollis NH. Kinder Morgan's map for their proposed Northeast Energy Direct project also shows a "North Worcester Lateral" which runs through the Boylston and Bolton area. View Kinder Morgan Northeast Energy Direct
Project Location Map.

The NRWA is just as concerned about the potential negative impacts from the construction and existence of the laterals on our important natural resources –including but not limited to Areas of Critical Environmental
Concern, aquifers, Bio Map 2 Core Habitats, conservation lands and other open spaces, hydrology, public water supplies, vernal pools, and wetlands -- as we are about the potential detrimental impacts of the larger and longer main pipeline. In the near future we will create and post PDF maps showing the proposed routes of these two laterals overlaying the above- mentioned resource data layers. We will also continue to research the potential impacts of all aspects of the proposed pipeline, including these laterals, on our ecological resources using best scientific analytic methods, and we will post the results on our website as soon as new information is available.


Flyovers of Nashua River Watershed with Pipeline Route Overlay and Related Aerial Images

These flyover videos show the current proposed pipeline route overlaid over aerial imagery of the watershed.  The related aerial image files correspond to numbered markers (every 3/4 miles) that appear on the flyover videos.

High Level Flyover (3 minute video)

Mid Level Flyover (6 minute video)

Low Level Flyover (11 minute video)

Related Aerial Images
Aerial view marker 1 to 2 Aerial view marker 12 to 13 Aerial view marker 23 to 24
Aerial view marker 2 to 3 Aerial view marker 13 to 14 Aerial view marker 24 to 25
Aerial view marker 3 to 4 Aerial view marker 14 to 15 Aerial view marker 25 to 26
Aerial view marker 4 to 5 Aerial view marker 15 to 16 Aerial view marker 26 to 27
Aerial view marker 5 to 6 Aerial view marker 16 to 17 Aerial view marker 27 to 28
Aerial view marker 6 to 7 Aerial view marker 17 to 18 Aerial view marker 28 to 29
Aerial view marker 7 to 8 Aerial view marker 18 to 19 Aerial view marker 29 to 30
Aerial view marker 8 to 9 Aerial view marker 19 to 20 Aerial view marker 30 to 31
Aerial view marker 9 to 10 Aerial view marker 20 to 21 Aerial view marker 31 to 32
Aerial view marker 10 to 11 Aerial view marker 21 to 22 Aerial view marker 32 to 33
Aerial view marker 11 to 12 Aerial view marker 22 to 23  Aerial view marker 33 to 34


NRWA Natural Resource Maps and Video

Potential Natural Resource Impacts of Proposed Tennessee Gas Pipeline in the Nashua River Watershed (13 minute video by NRWA intern Elizabeth Wilkey)


Aquifer Map

BioMap2 Map

Open Space Map

Prime Farmland Map

Wetlands and Hydrology Map

Zone II Map

In the coming weeks the NRWA will be positing additional information on this page pertaining to the proposed route, the potential environmental impacts in the Nashua River watershed, and the efforts to encourage alternative routes.


Links and Events Relevant to the Topic

The NRWA has not taken a position on all the points made in the materials on these links and events, and may not be in agreement with all the points, but is providing this information to be of service to interested constituents.

Stop the Pipeline Statewide Summit, Saturday, November 15, 2014, 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM at the Montachusett Vocational High School Auditorium, 1050 Westminster Street, Fitchburg, MA

Kinder Morgan Presentation to Meeting Hosted by EOEEA for Environmental Organizations on 6/25/14

Rolling March to the State House beginning July 6

New England Governors’ Commitment to Regional Cooperation on Energy Infrastructure Issues Statement

Presentation Kinder Morgan made to the Pepperell Board of Selectmen on 5/12/2014

Presentation Kinder Morgan made to the Ashby Board of Selectmen Meeting on 4/23/2014

Ashby Town Pipeline Information Meeting (without Kinder Morgan) on 3/29/2014

Nashoba Conservation Trust Website on Pipeline with Maps

MA Pipeline Awareness Network Website

No Fracked Gas in Mass Website