Protecting the Nashua River Greenway
The Nashua River Watershed Association acts as advocate and advisor for the establishment of the Nashua River Greenway. Conservation of the river’s edge is a priority, as expressed in our founding vision of “sparkling blue water with a ribbon of green alongside it.” NRWA encourages a permanently protected open space corridor along both banks of the Nashua River, its main tributaries, and its smaller streams as well. In rural areas, this Greenway can be a natural buffer (ideally 300 feet wide) to filter pollutants, prevent soil erosion, provide floodways, protect wildlife habitat, and offer outdoor recreation, like riverfront trails. In urban areas, the Greenway can conserve water supplies, increase the value of land adjacent to the Greenway, stimulate downtown revitalization, and provide riverside parks for recreation and public access to the river.
The Association has chosen not to acquire land itself, and has passed a Conservation Restriction Policy. We do work closely with local Greenway committees, landowners, communities, conservation groups, and public agencies to help them protect and improve riverfront lands.
In its first three decades, the Greenway expanded from 2 miles of protected riverfront to 84 miles. In the past decade, that figure has more than doubled to over 174 miles of shoreline that are dedicated to open space. The environmental and economic benefits of the Greenway are being realized. While much has already been accomplished, there is much to be done. View Nashua River greenway map.
To conserve land along the Nashua River and its tributaries, the NRWA promotes the purchase or donation of riverfront lands, conservation agreements with private landowners, and land use controls (zoning, wetlands protection, and low impact development). In addition to promoting Greenway protection, the Association encourages appropriate uses and improvements for lands along the river, such as agriculture, forestry and wildlife management; canoe launches and picnic areas; hiking trails, walkways, and bikeways; and parks and riverfront design in urban areas. To encourage these improvements, the NRWA offers assistance on design projects and management plans for Greenway lands.
A considerable public and private investment has made clean-up of the Nashua River a reality. The Greenway protects this investment while it enhances the use and enjoyment of the river. As water quality continues to improve and as more riverfront conservation lands are connected, the Greenway becomes an increasingly important asset to our communities.