Nashua River reduced for email

The Nashua River Watershed Association wants to call attention to a Public Information Meeting about the Wild and Scenic River project in Dunstable, led by Wild and Scenic River Study Committee members. 

Dunstable Wild & Scenic Public Information Meeting will be held on Monday, April 23, at 6:00 p.m., at the Dunstable Town Hall.

All are encouraged to attend and learn more.  For info about other events related to this project visit www.WildandScenicNashuaRivers.org.

This year at Dunstable’s Annual Town Meeting (May 14th) voters will take up the topic of the Nashua River and its possible designation as a “Wild and Scenic River”. Dunstable has been participating with nine Massachusetts and two New Hampshire towns as part of a Nashua River Wild and Scenic River Study Committee to explore designation of segments of the Nashua River from Lancaster to the New Hampshire border, and all of its two main tributaries, the Nissitissit and Squannacook Rivers, as Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers. The Study Committee has developed a locally-driven, voluntary Stewardship Plan. At Town Meeting in Dunstable, voters will be asked if they wish to accept that voluntary River Stewardship Plan and its recommendation that the Nashua, Nissitissit, and Squannacook Rivers be designated as Wild and Scenic Rivers.

Here are a few facts about the Wild and Scenic project:

What is a “Wild and Scenic River” designation? The designation of “Wild and Scenic River” is a national recognition given under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act that was passed by Congress fifty years ago to preserve rivers in this country that are unique and special. Only rivers that are shown to have ‘outstandingly remarkable resource values’ can qualify for this designation. The outstanding values can relate to biological diversity; recreational and scenic values; and historical and cultural values. Less than one-quarter of one percent of all American rivers are designated “Wild and Scenic”.

Do the Nashua, Squannacook, and Nissitissit Rivers have outstanding value? Yes, is the answer from the Nashua River Wild and Scenic River Study Committee that has been studying the river for the past two and a half years. These three rivers have exceptional biological diversity, and are home to more than a dozen threatened, endangered, or species of special concern, from turtles to mussels to dragonflies, including a notably large population of state-listed Blanding’s turtles. Dunstable’s frontage on the Nashua River is nearly all protected open space. The eleven mile Nashua River Rail Trail runs alongside the river – with a terminus in Dunstable -- and there are many miles of connected trails. Over 8,000 unique visitors annually recreate on the rivers. The area has given rise to many influential conservationists--including Ellen Swallow Richards from Dunstable--and the area experienced a breathtaking insurgence of conservation activities in the 1960s that had lasting impact on the cultural fabric of the region. The “Marion Stoddart Story” & the clean-up of the Nashua River has merited international acclaim & has been a model for watershed groups across the country.

What are the benefits of designation? If the Nashua, Squannacook, and Nissitissit Rivers are designated as a Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers, they will be elevated to a level of national significance. A locally-appointed Stewardship Council will be eligible to receive annual federal funding and technical assistance to implement the voluntary River Stewardship Plan. The three rivers will be protected from adverse federal actions including new dams, and designation could help prevent the potentially negative effects of activities such as in-stream utility line crossings. The designation is meant to empower the local communities to care for and protect their rivers.

What are the costs of designation? There are none. There is no cost to residents of Dunstable, or to the other ten towns. There is no federal taking of land. There is no impact on hunting and fishing. The designation does not stop local development, does not impact local zoning and property rights, and it does not require landowners to provide access to their lands. The Stewardship Committee is made up of local individuals and actions taken are locally driven.

What is in the voluntary Stewardship Plan? The locally-developed, voluntary Nashua, Squannacook, and Nissitissit Rivers Stewardship Plan was developed by the Study Committee with extensive public input. It includes recommendations on how to protect water quality and wildlife habitat, as well as recommendations for how to increase awareness and appreciation of the river and its special attributes. It also contains extensive information on the biological diversity of the area, the recreational use of the rivers, and the historical connections between the rivers and local communities. To view the Stewardship Plan, visit www.WildandScenicNashuaRivers.org.

What happens after the Town Meeting vote? The nine Massachusetts communities involved in the Study, that adjoin the segments of the Nashua, Nissitissit, and Squannacook Rivers, will all be voting to accept the voluntary River Stewardship Plan and its recommendation to seek Wild and Scenic designation. The towns of Brookline and Hollis in New Hampshire have already voted “yes” on the question. After all eleven towns have voted, it will be up to the US Congress to pass legislation awarding the designation and up to the President to sign it.

Will there by other Public Information Meetings? Yes. There will be a Public Information Meeting in each community that is voting on this question. Those communities include Ayer, Bolton, Dunstable, Groton, Harvard, Lancaster, Pepperell, Shirley, and Townsend. You may attend any one of these meetings. To see a list of dates and locations, visit www.WildandScenicNashuaRivers.org.

Where can I get more information? Visit the Study Committee’s website, www.WildandScenicNashuaRivers.org. You can also contact Al Futterman, Nashua River Wild and Scenic River Study Committee, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or 978-448-0299.

Please share this information with your neighbors and friends in Dunstable. Thank you!

Photo: Nashua River; photo by Cindy Knox Photography.

Nashua River reduced for email

Earth Day Celebration: Will the Nashua, Squannacook, and Nissitissit Rivers Join the 50 Year Success Story of the National Wild & Scenic Rivers Program?

Public Info Meeting and Guided Walk

The public is invited to join in the Nashua River Wild and Scenic River Study Committee’s Earth Day celebration of 50 years of the National Wild & Scenic Rivers program, and the exploration of the possible designation of the Nashua, Squannacook, and Nissitissit Rivers as Wild & Scenic. This will be a two-part program with indoor presentations and videos on the topic of Wild & Scenic Rivers, followed by a guided hike at J. Harry Rich State Forest. Free and open to all.

On Earth Day, Sunday, April 22nd from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., gather at the Nashua River Watershed Association (NRWA) River Resource Center at 592 Main Street in Groton. We’ll begin with a brief presentation on the 50 years of success that the National Wild & Scenic River program has enjoyed, with comments from Jamie Fosburgh, Manager of the National Park Service’s Northeast Rivers Program. We’ll also screen the Park Service’s new short video “River Connections: Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers.” Following that, Julia Blatt, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Rivers Alliance, will talk about the 20 year history of success of the Wild & Scenic Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord Rivers. Next, we’ll screen the short video “Nashua, Squannacook, & Nissitissit Rivers: Wild and Scenic Forever,” and the Study Committee will make a PowerPoint presentation on their 3-year project, that is now culminating with Annual Town Meeting votes in 11 riverfront communities, on the question of designation of the Nashua, Squannacook, and Nissitissit Rivers as Wild & Scenic. Following the Study Committee’s presentation, there will be plenty of time for questions, answers, and discussion. Refreshments will be served.

Following the indoor presentations, there will be a guided walk at J. Harry Rich State Forest, off Nod Road in Groton, a short drive (car pool) from the NRWA River Resource Center. The walk will begin at 3:15 p.m., and last approximately one hour. The trail is generally flat for easy walking; please dress for the weather and for tick season, and wear appropriate footwear. For the comfort of all, no dogs are allowed. Our guides will be Stacey Chilcoat and Nadia Madden, Groton’s representatives to the Nashua River Wild & Scenic River Study Committee.

This free Earth Day celebration is open to all. Residents of the nine Massachusetts communities that will be voting on this question at their Annual Town Meetings are particularly encouraged to attend to learn more. These communities are Ayer, Bolton, Dunstable, Groton, Harvard, Lancaster, Pepperell, Shirley, and Townsend. For Groton residents who will be voting at their Town Meeting on March 30th, this is a convenient local opportunity to learn more. The New Hampshire communities of Brookline and Hollis have already both voted “yes’’ at their Annual Meetings in March.

Pre-registration is not required, but is encouraged for planning purposes. To pre-register, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., NRWA Office Administrator, or call (978) 448-0299. Please indicate if you are attending both parts of the program, or if you are attending only the indoor presentations or only the walk.

For a list of other upcoming Wild and Scenic public meetings and events in other communities, or to learn more about the project to designate the Nashua, Squannacook, and Nissitissit Rivers as Wild and Scenic, visit www.WildandScenicNashuaRivers.org.

Photo: Nashua River; photo by Cindy Knox Photography.

Summer Eco-adventures for Ages 6 to 14 Years Old

See dates by program below
Based at NRWA River Resource Center, 592 Main Street (Rt.119), Groton, MA

Make your plans now to register for the Nashua River Watershed Association’s popular Summer Eco-adventures for youth. These small group programs are led by NRWA professional educators/naturalists.  Sign up soon; space is limited. 

Wilderness Summer Survival Week for Ages 11 to 14
June 25 – June 28, 2018 (Mon. –Thurs.) 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Challenge yourself in nature with four adventurous, action-packed days of hiking Groton trails through numerous conservation properties, paddling the Squannacook River, developing summer survival skills, and exploring the inner world of our local river, woodlands and fields while making new friends. Outdoor adventure at its best with River Classroom Director Stacey Chilcoat. Program fees are $210 for NRWA members or $240 for non-members.

Animal Adventures: Discover the Creatures of Our Forests, Fields, and Wetlands for Ages 9 to 11
July 16 – July 19, 2018 (Mon. –Thurs.) 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Calling all animal lovers and nature explorers!  From reptiles to mammals, this program focuses on the amazing lives of our local wildlife. Collect fascinating insects, practice summer tracking skills, hike local trails and play animal camouflage games. Discover how our local wildlife has adapted to live and thrive in these three distinct habitants. Program fees are $200 for NRWA members or $230 for non-members.

Wild World of Water Week for Ages 6 to 8
July 23– July 26, 2018 (Mon. –Thurs.) 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Escape the heat of summer with four fun-filled days all about water!  Collect aquatic critters from the Nashua River, make a fresh water aquarium, do water experiments, make mini-boats to race on mini streams, and stay cool each day with lots of water games. Perfect for nature & water loving kids! Program fees are $190 for NRWA members or $220 for non-members.

All programs are based at the Nashua River Watershed Association River Resource Center at 592 Main Street (Rt. 119), in Groton.  Pre-registration is required. Space is limited! To register This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., NRWA Environmental Education Assistant.  

NRWA FSU Grad/PDP Course for Teachers Grades K thru 8

Monday, July 9 thru Friday, July 13, 2018 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 
Based at NRWA River Resource Center, 592 Main Street (Rt.119), Groton, MA

Paddle, hike, and explore a schoolyard while earning graduate or PDP credits thru Fitchburg State University during the Nashua River Watershed Association’s summer course for teachers, “NRWA Watershed Investigations Course: Connecting Watersheds and 2016 MA Science & Technology/ Engineering Standards”.  The course will allow graduate level and/or in-service teachers, grades Kindergarten thru 8, to dissect and apply the new Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Draft Revised Standards. This course, offered through Fitchburg State University/Summer II 2018, will run from Monday, July 9 through Friday, July 13, 2018, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and will be based at the NRWA’s River Resource Center located at 592 Main Street (Rt. 119) in Groton, MA.  Candidates will practice using the publication Nashua River Watershed Investigations for Grades K-8: Connecting Watersheds to the 2016 MA Science and Technology/ Engineering Standards, including 27 lessons ready for classroom use. They will learn through hands-on outdoor science lessons, presentations from NRWA scientists, and collaboration with peers. Candidates will also design a science unit including a self-designed research project with measurable data collection. Outdoor excursions will include a short canoe trip, walks through several forested areas, and explorations in a schoolyard. The cost is $600 for 3 graduate credits from Fitchburg State University, or $400 for 37.5 PDPs.  Space is limited; be sure to register today to reserve your spot. The deadline for registration is June 30, 2018.  To register, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., NRWA Environmental Education Associate.