Board and Staff


Executive Director
Elizabeth Ainsley Campbell

Elizabeth Ainsley CampbellElizabeth joined the NRWA as Executive Director in 1994. Under her leadership the Association has become more sophisticated in its watershed approach, has grown in its capacity to protect the natural resources of the watershed, and has launched an award-winning environmental education program for youth and adults. The Association is making significant strides in fulfilling the goals of its long-range “2020 Vision Plan.” Elizabeth has provided oversight on many large projects, including the “Protecting Today’s Water for Tomorrow” multi-year partnership project funded by the U.S. EPA for over $700,000 which garnered more than $400,000 in matching services from three dozen partners. Elizabeth holds a Bachelor’s degree from Radcliffe College in General Studies and a Master’s degree from the University of Michigan in Communications.

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Land Programs and Outreach Director
Al Futterman, MPH

Al FuttermanAl forwards the NRWA’s Greenway Program and Land Protection Program, working with landowners to permanently protect riverfront and other priority properties through conservation restrictions or easements and through acquisition by local land trusts, municipalities, or state and federal conservation agencies. Al participates in numerous collaborations, including the Fitchburg Greenway Committee and MassLIFT. The NRWA serves as Sponsor of the Nashua River Greenway Forest Legacy Program, and Mr. Futterman oversees that effort. Al also assists watershed towns with their Open Space plans and provides educational programs for adults at the River Resource Center. Al has been the NRWA’s Land Programs and Outreach Director since 1999. Al holds a Bachelor’s degree in Rural Sociology from Cornell University, a Master’s degree in Public Health from Boston University, and has done additional graduate study at the University of Massachusetts Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning Program at Amherst.

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River Classroom & Environmental Education Director 
Stacey Billings Chilcoat

Stacey Billings ChilcoatStacey coordinates and implements the NRWA’s “on the water”, canoe-based education programs for youth and adults serving 2000+ participants annually. In this position, she serves as lead environmental educator and river guide on river trips for all ages. She also works with the Environmental Education Director to create and lead “off water” programs including in school and school yard science classes, family workshops, afterschool nature and science clubs, and outdoor adventure hiking programs for young teens. Stacey serves as an educational consultant to teachers, administrators, and schools developing inquiry-based science programs within the Nashua River watershed. She has been the NRWA’s River Classroom Director since 2001. Stacey holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York. She is certified in CPR and Wilderness First Aid, and holds an American Canoe Association Level 3: River Canoeing Instructor Certification.

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Environmental Education Associate 
Mary H. Marro

Mary H. MarroMary coordinates and implements programs for 7,000+ students and adults annually. She has initiated curriculum-based environmental education school programs in Pepperell, Fitchburg, Ayer, Leominster, Ashburnham, and Shirley, MA and in Nashua, NH. Mary serves as Scientist-in-Residence in several schools. Mary has provided professional development and college credit for teachers in several communities, at Fitchburg State University, with the Museum Institute for Teaching Science, and at the NRWA’s River Resource Center. Mary develops service learning projects for schools that provide opportunities for teachers and students to be involved in watershed stewardship. She provides youth programming afterschool, during school vacations and in the summer, and also offers popular programs for the public. Mary has been the NRWA’s Environmental Education Director since 2001. Mary holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Education from Pennsylvania State University and a Master’s degree in Environmental Biology from Antioch New England Graduate School.

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Environmental Education Assistant 
Gaynor Bigelbach

Gaynor BigelbachGaynor grew up, largely outdoors, in Wales, which, paradoxically, led her to a BA in Dramatic Literature. She worked for BBC Television for several years, until life in dark editing suites became too unpalatable.  On arriving in the USA, Gaynor immersed herself in learning about the ecology of eastern forests and waterways. After working as a freelance correspondent for local newspapers, writing about environmental issues, and family outdoor activities, she spent a year at NRWA as their Americorps Service Learning Coordinator. She has been an educational consultant for NRWA for a number of years, in addition to working as a River Classroom Guide, and a Discovery Museum Traveling Science Teacher.

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Water Programs Director
Martha Snow Morgan

Martha Snow MorganMartha supervises the NRWA’s Water Monitoring Program, including authoring the NRWA’s EPA, MassDEP and NH DES-approved Quality Assurance Project Plan for the Water Monitoring Program. She manages other water quality-related projects, including Bacterial Source Investigations and nutrient investigations, and provides comments and advocacy on issues concerning water quantity and quality as they affect the Nashua River watershed, including NPDES permits, dam issues, water conservation, and land use issues as they affect water. Martha has been the NRWA’s Water Programs Director since 1999. Martha holds a Bachelor of Science in Geology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, an Associate Degree in Animal Science, Stockbridge School of Agriculture, University of Massachusetts, and a Master’s degree in Geological Sciences from the University of Maine at Orono.

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Water Monitoring Coordinator
Kathryn Nelson

Kathryn NelsonKath coordinates seasonal water sample collection with the NRWA stream monitoring teams and supervises laboratory analysis for the NRWA’s Water Monitoring Program. She works closely with Water Programs Director in addressing a wide range of water issues. Kath also coordinates student interns and volunteers who assist with special projects, data analysis, and field work, including the NRWA’s bio-control project to reduce invasive purple loosestrife. Kath has been the NRWA’s Water Monitoring Coordinator since 2006. Additionally, Kath serves as Chair of the Lower Merrimack River Advisory Committee, and is a member of the NH Rivers Management Advisory Committee providing input on stream flow policy and regulation. Kath holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Boston College and a Master’s degree in Regional Planning from University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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Communications Manager
Wynne Treanor-Kvenvold

Wynne Treanor-KvenvoldWynne publicizes NRWA events and programs through press releases, bi-monthly newsletters, monthly e-newsletters, the NRWA website, and various other avenues. She is a member of the staff Development Team, working on online appeals, assisting with event planning and logistics, and supporting individual and organizational membership acquisition and retention efforts. She also works on adult education programming and serves as staff IT support. Wynne has been the NRWA’s Communications Manager since 2000. Wynne holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Paralegal Studies from Winona State University in Minnesota.

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Development Manager
Lauri Johnson

Lauri JohnsonLauri focuses on increasing awareness of and support for the Association from individuals and businesses in the community. She coordinates support from individuals via memberships, annual appeals, and major gifts as well as business and organization membership, sponsorship, and matching gifts. She also supports the Association’s marketing, planning, and outreach activities. Lauri has been the NRWA’s Development Manager since 2002. Lauri holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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Office Administrator 
Kate McNierney

Kate McNierney joined the team in January of 2016. She coordinates the office volunteers, assists with programs, greets visitors, and keeps everything running smoothly. She works closely with the Executive Director and supports the work of the Development Team and Program staff. In addition, she takes on special projects and is currently overseeing the renovation of the NRWA’s River Resource Center. Kate has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology from Dartmouth College.

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Judy Larter, Paul Matisse, and Lucy Wallace, current and past NRWA presidents - photo by Bob Lotz.

Judy Larter, Paul Matisse, and Lucy Wallace, current and past NRWA presidents

Lucy Wallace, Harvard, MA
Lucy served as Grants Administrator for National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, doing wetlands, resource protection and restoration, and land-related grants. She has served as a Member of the Harvard Board of Selectmen, and also served on the Harvard Conservation Commission, Harvard Planning Board, and chaired the Harvard Town Plan Committee. Lucy has been involved with Devens redevelopment planning since the base closure announcement in the early 1990’s. She is a Board member of the Harvard Conservation Trust.



Vice President
Melissa Maranda, Fitchburg, MA
Melissa is a life-long resident of North Central Massachusetts and currently lives in Fitchburg. Melissa is the Senior Vice President and Senior Trust Officer of Rollstone Bank and Trust’s Wealth Management Division. The Bank has offices in Fitchburg, Leominster, Harvard, Townsend, and Worcester. Melissa holds a Law Degree from UNH School of Law, and has extensive non-profit, fund-raising, and sale management experience. In her former position as Director of Gift Planning for the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts, Melissa was with the Foundation during its first decade and provided leadership in raising over $40 million in charitable assets. Melissa volunteers in the community and her interests include many outdoor activities.



Robert Pine, Groton, MA
Bob is a principal and founder of Pine and Swallow Environmental where he is Director of Environmental Planning and Engineering. A Professional Engineer and a Landscape Architect, he has been involved with major landscape development projects throughout the United States and worldwide. He has served as Trustee for the Groton Conservation Trust for over 30 years, as a Director of the Groton Land Foundation, and on numerous Groton town boards and committees. He also served as Chair of the Nominating Committee for the Squannassit and Petapawag Areas of Critical Environmental Concern. 



Fredericka Baytos, Stoughton, MA

Freddie has been with the Deluxe Corporation for over 15 years, most of that time in the position of Corporate Marketing Research Director for the Minneapolis headquartered company, which has a satellite location in Groton, MA. Freddie belongs to professional associations, such as the American Marketing Association. She also volunteers time to assist various community organizations, is an avid hiker, enjoys flower gardening and has a special interest in protecting and restoring natural places. Freddie previously served on the NRWA Board of Directors from 2001 to 2007.



Executive Committee Member-at-Large
Ralph Baker, Fitchburg, MA
Ralph is the Chairman and Chief Scientist of TerraTherm, Inc., an environmental remediation contractor based in Fitchburg.  A co-founder of the firm, Ralph holds a Ph.D. in Soil Physics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, has been an environmental scientist for 40 years, and is an expert in hazardous waste cleanup technology.  He is the author of over sixty-five technical papers and four books.  Ralph was formerly Chair of the Groton Board of Health, and has been a long-time member of the Appalachian Mountain Club. Ralph previously served on the NRWA Board from 2006-2012.



Sue Edwards, Pepperell, MA
Sue is an aspiring illustrator and essayist. She has been a movie maker, a Youth and Community Services Librarian, and she founded Extra Mile Design, a firm she recently retired after 20+ years serving libraries and non-profits with identity programs, marketing campaigns, and websites. Sue is the Executive Producer of several documentaries including “Marion Stoddart: The Work of 1000”, a film about NRWA’s founder. She has been a long-term champion of friends and causes devoted to peace, and to the well-being of people and our planet. She enjoys drawing, dancing, cat-sitting in cities worldwide, and riding her bicycle and Amtrak long distances.



Arthur Feehan, Lunenburg, MA
Arthur is an avid outdoorsman.  You can often find him on a stream fly fishing or taking runs with the family dog through the natural areas the Nashua River Watershed Association has helped to conserve.  He is a firm believer that you protect what you love.  Art is currently a Technology and Regulatory Consultant assisting clients in the financial industry transform their business. Prior to consulting Art held the position of Executive Director at J.P. Morgan Chase Bank where he developed and ran several successful businesses.



Michael Fleming, Leominster, MA
Mike is recently retired from the MA Dept. of Conservation and Recreation (formerly Dept. of Environmental Management).He earned a BS in Forestry (UMass Amherst).He started out as a Forester working on State Forests and Parks land in Essex, Middlesex, & Berkshire Counties, and with private and municipal forest landowners in Worcester County.He then served as the SuAsCo Watershed Team Leader with the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs/MA Watershed Initiative, a broad partnership of state & federal agencies, non-profit organizations, businesses, local officials, and individuals working on watershed related issues, and was appointed as one of two gubernatorial appointees to the SuAsCo Wild and Scenic River Stewardship Council. For 12 years, he served as MA Forest Legacy Program Coordinator, a US Forest Service funded program with a goal to protect important forest resources.



Warren Kimball, Boylston, MA
Warren is recently retired from the MA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP). Warren has a BS in Microbiology (UMass Amherst) and a MS in Environmental Engineering (Northeastern University). Warren joined the DEP in 1972 as one of the original “Water Wrats,” sampling, analyzing, and modeling rivers and lakes. He has served as the head of the Water Quality Standards, Biology, Research and Demonstration Programs. Warren was involved in revisions to the Water Quality Standards for 25 years and wrote the CSO, mixing zone, thermal, toxics & antidegradation policies. As a consultant to EPA, he helped found the Water Quality Standards Academy, assisted with the National CSO Policy & the National Water Quality Assessment Guidance (305 (B) requirements). He has worked with DEP’s Streamflow Task Force, and serves as a consultant to USGS and EPA’s National Water Quality Monitoring Council on subcommittees for the Water Information Services & Volunteer Monitoring.



Ray Martino, Hollis, NH
Ray previously lived for many years in Lunenburg, MA. He is the President and CEO of Simonds International in Fitchburg, joining them in 1999 after a twenty year career with The Stanley Works. Ray has an MA in Economics and an MBA from the University of Connecticut. He is active in leadership roles on many Boards, including Vice Chair of Workers Credit Union, Chair of North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation, Chair of Mount Wachusett Community College Foundation and Director of American Knife Manufacturer’s Association, and is a former Director of the Fitchburg State University Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and the University of Connecticut School of Business Board of Overseers. Ray enjoys outdoors activities – including hiking, running, golfing, skiing, and time on his tractor.



John Maynard, Groton, MA
John has been a resident of Groton, MA since 2009. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1965. After a two year fellowship in Nairobi, where he met his wife Penelope (Pepe), he spent his career practicing business law in New York City. He was managing and presiding partner of the firm of Reboul MacMurray Hewitt Maynard from 1974 to 2003, when that firm became the New York office of Ropes Gray. He is an experienced sailor; he and Pepe have spent many summers cruising the coast of Maine. Pepe is an experienced horticuturalist and garden designer. After John’s retirement he and Pepe decided to leave behind the rocky hillside garden they had built together in Westchester County in favor of a more level piece of property overlooking Surrenden Farm, where they have been at work on an ambitious garden. John has been a trustee of the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge MA since 1974.


Daniel Nigrosh, Boston, MA 
Dan is President of Can-Am Machinery of Fitchburg. Since 1988 Can-Am Machinery has been dealing in secondhand papermaking machinery from mill buildings along the North Nashua River. Prior to that Dan worked at a recycled paperboard mill in Hopkinton, New Hampshire. Dan earned a BA in Economics and Political Science from Boston University. Dan is active with the Fitchburg Greenway Committee, The Rodman Ride for Kids, and has been an NRWA member for 20 years. Dan and his wife spend an increasing amount of time at their Westminster, MA property where Dan enjoys Paddle Boarding on Wyman Lake. Dan also enjoys golf, skiing, and cycling.


Thomas Ryden, Pepperell, MA
Tom is cofounder and Chief Operating Officer of Vgo Communications, a start-up company headquartered in Nashua, NH that provides robotic telepresence products to the healthcare, education and business markets.  Tom serves on the board of the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council, a non-profit technology trade association.  He also chairs the association’s robotics cluster.  Tom has an engineering degree from University of Vermont and an MBA from Bentley University.  In his free time, Tom enjoys kayaking on the river with his children.



Gerald Smith, Lancaster, MA
Gerry, along with his wife Janet, have lived on Spectacle Pond for the past three years. They previously lived in Bolton for 24 years. Gerry recently retired; he previously worked in the environmental field as a Freshwater Biologist for some 40 years.  He was the founder and President of Aquatic Control Technology, Inc., a lake management and restoration firm based in Sutton, MA. He was also a Principal and Biologist with IEP Inc., an environmental consulting firm, formerly of Northborough.  Gerry served a three- year term as a Director of the North American Lake Management Society; is a Past-President of the Northeast Aquatic Plant Management Society; and has been active with the MA Congress of Lakes & Ponds since its inception. He enjoys most outdoor activities and particularly fly-fishing. 



William Stevenson, Harvard, MA
Will has been a resident of Harvard since 1997. Will is the Director of Integration and Business Development for SOLitude Lake Management. He holds a Bachelor's of Science in Civil Engineering from Union College, Masters of Environmental Management from Yale School of Forestry, and an MBA from Babson College. He has spent his professional career working in a variety of positions and industries. He serves on the Advisory Council for MassAudubon and the Board of Wildlife Conservation Trust.



Frank Sweet, Boxborough, MA
Frank is a senior executive at AECOM, a global engineering and consulting firm. He has served in a variety of positions including leadership of the Environment Business Line, the Northeast Region and Corporate Operations. Frank also serves on the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, a non-partisan organization which has done extensive public policy work on education, health care, workforce development and infrastructure issues. He served on the Tewksbury Planning Board for 10 years and chaired the town’s Master Plan Committee. Frank Sweet earned a BS in Geology at UMASS Amherst and an MBA at Northeastern University. Frank and his wife Robin have six children and are very active in youth sports. Frank also enjoys most outdoor activities including fly fishing and hiking.



Alison Tocci, Shirley, MA
After 30 years in the media and non-profit sectors in NYC, Alison now runs her own consulting company called Meet The Future, LLC based in her home town of Shirley, MA. Previously, Alison was the General Manager of Brooklyn Paper Publications, Publisher of Brooklyn Bridge Magazine, and President CEO of Time Out North America Media. In 2011 she was named President of the City Parks Foundation (CPF), the non-profit arm of the NYC Parks Department where she oversaw a $30m budget and mission to provide free environmental and arts programming in parks throughout the city. While at CPF, Alison launched the first fundraising Candlelight Dinner in Central Park, which raised $1.2m in donations in one night. Alison was Chair of the Waterfront Museum in Brooklyn, NY from 1999 to 2011 and is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer having served two years in Gabon, Central Africa. In 2010, Alison and her husband George Tocci reimagined and successfully revitalized the historic Bull Run in Shirley as a farm-to-table restaurant and live music venue.


 Charles Vander Linden, Groton, MA
Chuck is a co-founder (1981) and partner in the law firm Starr Vander Linden, LLP, which has offices in Fitchburg and Worcester. Chuck graduated from Harvard Law School in 1976, then served as a law clerk for the Honorable Reuben Goodman on the MA Appeals Court. He has been engaged in the practice of law in central Massachusetts since 1977. He served as a member of the Groton Zoning Board of Appeals for 15 years and has been a Trustee of the Groton Conservation Trust since 1984.



Joan Wotkowicz, Townsend, MA
An active NRWA member since the 90's, Joan has volunteered in the water monitoring program and contributed many hours of web site development. She is on the board of directors of Squannacook Greenways, a non-profit building the Squannacook River Rail Trail in Townsend and Groton, and has been a dedicated contributor to the Townsend Meeting Hall Gallery Committee and the Society for Technical Communication. A technical writer and former analytical chemist, she is currently a proposal writer at MorphoTrust, working on identification security technologies such as driver licenses, passports, facial recognition, and fingerprinting. Residing in Townsend near the Squannacook River, she loves to mountain bike, hike, and paddle. Her favorite outings are spending weekends at her cabin in the Berkshires and sea kayaking along the coast of Maine.



Founding Director Emeritus
Marion Stoddart, Groton, MA
Marion Stoddart - Photo by Nancy OhringerMarion is the founder of the Nashua River Clean-up Committee and the NRWA. She has played a key role in the clean up of the Nashua River and the success of the organization. Marion is an active member of the Groton Greenway Committee. She is the former Chairman of the Groton Conservation Commission and the Groton Conservation Trust. Interests include adventure travel, hiking canoeing, kayaking, cross-country skiing, bicycling and tennis.

Gary Hirshberg, Chairman, President, and CEO of Stonyfield Farm   Sandra Postel, Founder of the Global Water Policy Project and Author   Daniel M. Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Photo by Tami Heilemann   Dr. Eric Chivian, Founder of the Center for Health & the Global Environment and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

NRWA’s Annual Meeting Keynote Speakers

The NRWA has had a long line of distinguished Keynote Speakers at our Annual Meetings. Our speakers have included leaders in the field of freshwater resource protection, notable wildlife conservationists and biologists, acclaimed authors, and leaders in the business world. Their work inspires ours, and we hope the reverse is true as well.

2016    Christopher A. Williams, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Geography, Clark University
2015    Robert Zimmerman, Jr., Executive Director of the Charles River Watershed Association
2014    Wayne Klockner, Vice President and MA State Director at The Nature Conservancy
2013    Eric Chivian, M.D., Founder of the Center for Health & the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School, and co-founder of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, recipient of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize, Author
2012    Dave Anderson, Director of Education, Society for the Protection of NH Forests
2011    Daniel M. Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
2010    William Waterway Marks, Author and Water Activist
2009    NRWA 40th Anniversary-- 40 on Our 40th Awards
2008    Akiko Busch, Swimmer and Author
2007    Gary Hirshberg, Chairman, President, and CEO of Stonyfield Farm
2006    Mitchell Thomashow, Environmental Educator and Author
2005    Sandra Postel, Founder of the Global Water Policy Project and Author
2004    NRWA 35th Anniversary—Celebratory Contra Dance
2003    Marion Stoddart, NRWA Founder
2002    Ben Kilham, Wildlife Biologist and Author
2001    Peter Alden, Naturalist and Author
2000    Tom Wessels, Ecologist and Author
1999    NRWA 30th Anniversary Celebration
1998    Arthur Bergeron, Historian
1997    Lyn Billman-Golemme, AICP, Regional Planner

NRWA Archival Photo Gallery

The NRWA has a long and rich history, a story memorably told through images. We invite you to view our archival gallery depicting our river in its most polluted days, as well as the people and projects that led to its restoration and ongoing protection efforts.

If you have historic pictures, newspaper clippings, or other material that you would like to share with the NRWA and its supporters, please contact Wynne Treanor-Kvenvold, NRWA Communications Manager, at (978) 448-0299, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

NRWA Historical Highlights

The restoration of the Nashua River launched the Nashua River Watershed Association into an international spotlight, a prime example of collaboration to accomplish a goal for the betterment of all society. The Association’s leadership and approach to protecting natural resources through a watershed approach, protecting both land and water throughout the region, continues to be recognized by federal, state, and local governmental leaders, as well as by leaders in the fields of environmental protection and environmental education.

Historical Highlights by Decade

 1960s  Hold your nose! Nashua River ahead  1960s  Marion Stoddart leads drive to clean up the Nashua River


  • Nashua River Clean-up Committee (NRCC) formed by Marion Stoddart and others
  • US Congress passed Clean Water Act in 1965
  • The North Nashua River in 1966 reached a septic condition and would not support life except for sludge worms
  • Petition and signatures and a bottle of dirty Nashua River waters presented to Massachusetts Governor Volpe and legislators
  • Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall, Senator Ted Kennedy, Governor Volpe, and Lt. Governor Richardson visited the Nashua River and met with citizens
  • Massachusetts Clean Water Act signed into law
  • NRCC successfully pushed to raise the River Classification from “U”, unsuitable for the transportation of waste, to “B-“, suitable for all uses including fishing, swimming, and boating

Wastewater treatment plantMine Falls Canal in Nashua NH - Photo by Walter Remeis


  • Nashua River Watershed Association founded on October 16, 1969
  • Petition with 13,000 signatures sent to President Nixon, Governors Sargent and Peterson, Congressmen and Legislators seeking assurance that federal monies be appropriated to help with the construction of waste water treatment plants
  • Nashua River selected for the $15 million River Basin Demonstration Project (Nashua River Program) by the New England Region Commission
  • Mine Falls Canal Park purchased by the City of Nashua with Land and Water Conservation Grant
  • Nashua River Watershed Association’s office established at Fort Devens with donated space and staff time
  • Hydrology and Water Resources Study of the Nashua River watershed completed and published
  • First Plan for the Nashua River watershed published
  • $1 million of the Model River Demonstration Project money spent to construct major sewer interceptors in Nashua, NH
  • US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) formed. Goal set that all US waters be fishable and swimmable by 1983
  • Squannacook-Nissitissit Sanctuary Act passed in 1975
  • The US Fish & Wildlife’s Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge established in 1974
  • West Fitchburg and East Fitchburg Treatment plants began operation
  • Squannacook Task Force organized
  • Project CURB (Clean Up Our River Banks) and the Groton Conservation Commission coordinated effort and established the Petapawag Canoe Launch site
  • Pepperell Treatment Plant began operations
  • Bolton Flats Wildlife Area established in 1977
  • Lancaster Greenway Committee helped assemble the 412 acres of the Cook Conservation Area

 Squannacook River in Townsend, MA - Photo by Bill Conaway J. Harry Rich State Forest on the banks of the Nashua River in Groton, MA - Photo by Robin Hebert


  • Lane-Comerford Conservation Area acquired in 1979 for wildlife habitat to mitigate the loss of flood plain with construction of I-90
  • First Nashua River Canoe Guide published and first Canoe Race held
  • The first state-owned Tree Farm in the nation, J. Harry Rich State Forest in Groton, acquired by Department of Environmental Management in1981, with efforts from Rich Tree Farm Task Force
  • NRWA Office relocated to Main Street in Fitchburg after 11 years at Fort Devens
  • Nashua River Greenway Management Plan and the Squannacook and Stillwater River Protection Plans completed. All three rivers designated by the Commonwealth as Scenic Rivers
  • Acid Rain Monitoring (ARM) began in 1983 and the NRWA was district coordinator for the statewide volunteer effort
  • NRWA received the Environmental Merit Award from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1984
  • Dam in Mine Falls Park in Nashua converted to hydroelectric dam with fish lift
  • United Nations honored NRWA Founder Marion Stoddart, naming her to the “Global 500 Roll of Honor”
  • Clinton Wastewater Treatment Plant started construction, Leominster Wastewater Facility completed and Ayer Wastewater Treatment Plant began advanced treatment
  • Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) began acquisition program in 1986 in Wachusett subwatershed
  • Monoosnoc Brook Greenway Project began with public and private partnership of the city, state, and Searstown developers brought together by NRWA
  • The Stillwater Task Force established in 1988

 Senator Kennedy speaks overlooking the Oxbow RefugeA River Ran Wild by Lynne Cherry tells the story of the clean-up of the Nashua River


  • Prevent Pointless Pollution Program began alerting citizens to non-point sources of pollution and their prevention
  • Clinton Wastewater Treatment Facility completed
  • Children’s book about the Nashua River and its environmental history, A River Ran Wild by Lynne Cherry, published in 1992. It went on to win numerous awards including ABA’s Pick of the List, NCSS-CBC Notable Children’s Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies, and selection as a PBS Reading Rainbow book
  • New Hampshire Shorelands Protection Act passed in 1991
  • National Geographic visited the NRWA in 1992 and featured a story on the restoration of the Nashua River in its special Water issue devoted to fresh water in North America
  • NRWA began its volunteer water quality monitoring program in 1992
  • Governor William Weld helped celebrate the official opening of the NRWA’s River Resource Center in Groton, purchased in 1993
  • Environmental Education began at the River Resource Center and watershed curriculum was developed and taught in schools throughout the watershed
  • Fort Devens closed as US Army Base. NRWA helped develop Re-Use Plan
  • The 1995 to 2020 Vision for the Nashua River Watershed was published
  • 12,900 acres in the Nashua River watershed’s heartland designated as the Central Nashua River Valley Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC)
  • Restoration of riverbank in Howard Park helped by the Squannacook Task Force, Town of Townsend, AmeriCorps, and NRWA volunteers
  • Massachusetts State Legislature passed the Rivers Protection Act on July 31, 1996. The Rivers Act provides protection for over 9,000 miles of riverfront in Massachusetts
  • NRWA’s Communities Connected by Water program was initiated
  • NRWA had key role in developing the Massachusetts Watershed Initiative, which became widely acclaimed as a model for protecting and restoring the nation’s waterways
  • NRWA launched its first website

1999-2009 River ClassroomProtecting forests to protect water quality - Photo by Joan Wotkowicz


  • Both the cities of Fitchburg, Massachusetts and Nashua, New Hampshire drafted community development plans that make the Nashua River the focal point of their urban riverfront revitalization
  • In 2000, the Massachusetts Riverways Program presented the Fitchburg Stream Team with an Adopt-a-Stream award for its work to protect riverside greenways along the North Nashua River in Fitchburg
  • “River Classroom” canoe-based environmental education program, originally developed by Nashoba Paddler, transferred to the NRWA in 2001. NRWA now puts 1,800 students on the river each year
  • Squannassit and Petapawag Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) designated in 2002, the two largest ACECs in the Commonwealth to date, with Squannassit covering 37,450 acres and Petapawag covering 25,630 acres in the communities of Ashby, Ayer, Dunstable, Groton, Harvard, Lancaster, Lunenburg, Pepperell, Shirley, Townsend, and Tyngsboro
  • The Squannacook-Nissitissit Rivers combined sub-basin served as one of four sites nationally to merit a Source Water Stewardship Project, brought to the watershed by Trust for Public Land with their funding from the federal Environmental Protection Agency
  • Nashua River Watershed Five Year Action Plan 2003 to 2007 drafted by the NRWA in partnership with the Massachusetts Watershed Initiative’s Team in the Nashua River watershed
  • 265-acre Pepperell Springs property on Gulf Brook, a tributary to the Nissitissit River, which is a major tributary to the Nashua River, successfully preserved by a coalition of partners including Pepperell residents, the Trust for Public Land (TPL), the Nashoba Conservation Trust, the Nissitissit River Land Trust, and the Town of Pepperell. Key funding of $1.383 million came from a Forest Legacy Program grant. NRWA co-chaired the Pepperell Springs Preservation Project
  • “Fund for the Future” capacity- building program began
  • NRWA’s partnership with the J.R. Briggs Elementary School in Ashburnham chosen as one of the five schools in Massachusetts to implement a "Environment in an Integrating Context" curriculum
  • NRWA and three partner organizations, Beaver Brook Association, New England Forestry Foundation, and the Trust for Public Land, awarded a multi-year Targeted Watershed Initiative grant of $770,192 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – one of only fourteen awarded nationwide in 2004—for the NRWA’s "Protecting Today's Water for Tomorrow" project to proactively combat threats to drinking water in the Squannacook-Nissitissit sub-basin
  • The Nashua River Rail Trail completed and opened for public use
  • Education staff and programs, River Classroom and Scientist-in-Residence won multiple awards for “Excellence in Environmental Education” from the MA Executive Office of Environmental Affairs
  • Protection of 360-acre Surrenden Farm in Groton protected ¾ miles of Nashua River greenway as a result of a partnership project led by the Trust for Public Land, the Groton Conservation Trust, and others
  • Electronic cataloguing of the contents of the Bill Farnsworth Conservation Clearinghouse began in 2007
  • NRWA’s Smart Growth Circuit Rider worked with the Massachusetts towns of Ashby, Groton, Pepperell, and Townsend, and the New Hampshire towns of Mason, Greenville, New Ipswich, Hollis, and Brookline on writing or revising bylaws, ordinances, and town plans for the purpose of better protecting water resources
  • 1,162 students participate in Monoosnoc Brook Poster Contest at MBGP "Environmental Art & Music Festival" at Fall Brook Elementary School in 2008
  • Devens Open Space and Recreation Plan 2008 to 2013 drafted by NRWA
  • USDA awarded NRWA a Forest Innovation Grant to apply strategies learned from the EPA Targeted Watershed Initiative grant to 11 towns and lands in the southern portion of the watershed
  • In 2008, the NRWA began managing a multi-year project to eradicate invasive water chestnuts from the Pepperell Pond impoundment of the Nashua River under a grant from the MA Department of Conservation and Recreation to the Town of Pepperell
  • EIC program that began at one school with 2 teachers in a single grade grew to include all teachers in grades 1 through 5 at J.R. Briggs Elementary in Ashburnham, and expanded to Fall Brook Elementary in Leominster
  • Over 1 mile of the Squannacook and Nashua Rivers’ frontage at their confluence in Shirley was permanently protected
  • Fitchburg protected two riverfront properties by creating parks, the 2-acre downtown Riverfront Park and the Steamline Trail Park which protects ¾ mile of North Nashua River frontage. In 2009, the City permanently protected a third riverfront property, with a proposal to create Gateway Park, with grant funding from the Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs. Active partners in that project included Mayor Lisa Wong and the City of Fitchburg, the Fitchburg Greenway Committee, the Nashua River Watershed Association, the North Central Charter Essential School, and particularly the North County Land Trust and The Trustees of Reservations
  • ExtraMile Design produces a documentary biography on NRWA founder Marion Stoddart called Work of 1000
  • “Nashua River Greenway” Forest Legacy Area, the largest such area of the half dozen in Massachusetts (over 420,000 eligible acres), designated as eligible for the Forest Legacy Program, a partnership between participating States and the USDA Forest Service focused on identifying and helping to protect environmentally important forests from conversion to non-forest uses
  • By 2009, NRWA worked on seven Forest Legacy projects (two of which were multi-tract) which will protect over 3,000 acres with a federal contribution of nearly $8 million

NRWA provides hands on outdoor science programs for youthControlling purple loosestrife through the release of Galerucella beetles


  • Fitchburg Greenway Committee, of which NRWA was a founding member and active participant, received The Trustees of Reservations 2010 Conservationist of the Year Award
  • National Geographic’s Written in Water: Messages of Hope for Earth’s Most Precious Resource (2010) contains an essay on the Nashua River cleanup by Marion Stoddart
  • NRWA’s Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring program began its 20th consecutive year in 2012. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts uses NRWA’s monitoring data to create its MA Water Quality Assessment Report, and the State of New Hampshire uses NRWA’s data in its Volunteer River Assessment Program
  • NRWA providing environmental education programs to over 10,000 children and adults each year
  • Bio-control project using Galerucella beetles to control invasive purple loosestrife in watershed wetlands begins