Permanent Medication Return Boxes

Nashua River watershed towns in MA with permanent medication return boxes (kiosks) 

TOWN or CITY KIOSK LOCATION ADDRESS
ASHBURNHAM ASHBURNHAM POLICE STATION 99 CENTRAL STREET, ASHBURNHAM, MA 01473
AYER AYER POLICE STATION 54 PARK STREET, AYER, MA 01432
CLINTON CLINTON POLICE STATION 176 CHESTNUT STREET, CLINTON, MA 01510
FITCHBURG FITCHBURG POLICE STATION 20 ELM STREET, FITCHBURG, MA  01420
GARDNER GARDNER POLICE STATION 31 CITY HALL AVENUE, GARDNER, MA 01440
GROTON PUBLIC SAFETY BUILDING 99 PLEASANT STREET, GROTON, MA 01450
HARVARD HARVARD POLICE STATION 40 AYER ROAD, HARVARD, MA 01451
HOLDEN HOLDEN POLICE STATION 1370 MAIN STREET, HOLDEN, MA 01520
LEOMINSTER LEOMINSTER POLICE STATION 29 CHURCH STREET, LEOMINSTER, MA 01453
PAXTON PAXTON POLICE STATION 100 WEST STREET, PAXTON, MA 01612
PEPPERELL PEPPERELL POLICE STATION 59 MAIN STREET, PEPPERELL,MA 01463
PRINCETON PRINCETON POLICE STATION 8 TOWN HALL DRIVE, PRINCETON, MA   01541
RUTLAND RUTLAND POLICE STATION 242 MAIN STREET, RUTLAND, MA 01543
STERLING STERLING POLICE STATION 135 LEOMINSTER RD, 01564. Inters of Rt. 12/190
TOWNSEND TOWNSEND POLICE STATION 70 BROOKLINE STREET, TOWNSEND, MA 01469
WEST BOYLSTON WEST BOYLSTON POLICE STATION 39 WORCESTER STREET, WEST BOYLSTON, MA 01583
WESTMINSTER WESTMINSTER POLICE STATION 7 SOUTH STREET, WESTMINSTER, MA 01473

 

Nashua River watershed towns in NH, and nearby communities, with permanent medication return boxes (kiosks)

TOWN or   CITY KIOSK LOCATION ADDRESS
NASHUA NASHUA POLICE STATION 0 PANTHER DRIVE, NASHUA, NH 03062
MERRIMACK MERRIMACK POLICE STATION 31 BABOOSIC LAKE ROAD, MERRIMACK,   NH
AMHERST AMHERST POLICE STATION 175 AMHERST STREET, AMHERST, NH 03031

Pharmaceuticals: Taking Action to Protect the Commonwealth's Waters

Save Fish Don't Flush - graphic by Nancy TurkleThe NRWA encourages everyone to dispose of unused pharmaceuticals (including veterinary medicines) safely at permanent drop boxes located throughout our watershed. Service is free and anonymous. Watershed locations.   Other locations. Please note that many sites do not accept sharps; see links below for sharps disposal below.

Medicines flushed down the drain or disposed of in our landfills can contaminate our lakes and streams, which can hurt fish and other aquatic wildlife, and may end up in our drinking water.

Did you know?

  • Wastewater treatment plants and septic systems are not designed to remove these contaminants.
  • Some medications, such as hormones and antidepressants, include endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs), which interfere with the reproduction and normal growth of many aquatic species, such as frogs and fish.

You can help with one simple step! Unused drugs deposited at permanent drop box sites are properly disposed of through incineration. Reducing the amount of chemicals flushed down the drain will benefit humans, fish and other aquatic life. Learn more about the impact of prescription drugs on water quality.

Dispose of your unused medications safely, and pass the word to your family, friends, and co-workers. Help to protect our water and our communities!

Massachusetts Environmental Trust logoNRWA's "Pharmaceuticals: Taking Action to Protect the Commonwealth's Waters" project is funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust*. 

Project partners

MA Dept of Conservation and Recreation logoCity of Worcester logoMA Dept. of Environmental Protection logoFallon Health logoMontachusett Public Health Network logo

Links of Interest

US EPA: Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products as Pollutants

MA Dept. of Environmental Protection: Research & Technical Information

MA Dept. of Public Health: Drug Control Program

NH Dept. of Environmental Services: Medicine Disposal Information

NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation: Drugs in Our Waters

Sharps disposal in MA

Sharps disposal in NH

 

*MET grants are supported by the sale of environmental license plates, including “Right Whale and Roseate Terns”, “Leaping Brook Trout”, and “Blackstone Valley Mill”. Proceeds from the sale of the plates to more than 70,000 Massachusetts Residents have funded more than $16 million in grants for environmental projects across the state. To order a license plate, visit your local Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, or log on to www.state.ma.us/rmv.

 

 

Nashua River at Runnels Bridge in Hollis, NH

Sustainability: Working to Protect Water at the Policy Level

Regional issues surrounding water supply, flows in rivers, climate change, and water monitoring trends are important to the future health of our watershed. Along with our hands-on project work, the NRWA knows that it is important to participate in the setting of water policy, to ensure that a sustainable approach to water management is implemented at the state level. NRWA collaborates with state agencies, other environmental organizations and policy groups to stay informed and provide input into pertinent policy and regulatory issues.

  • NRWA is a member of The Massachusetts Rivers Alliance. The Alliance’s mission is to protect and restore rivers across the Commonwealth. Involvement with the Alliance is an opportunity to share ideas, concerns, and information about issues affecting rivers. NRWA has been attending meetings organized by the Alliance focused on how to improve flow protection, through the Sustainable Water Management Initiative (SWMI). SWMI is a multi-stakeholder approach to determining how Massachusetts will allocate water withdrawals in the future. The NRWA is also a member of the Environmental League of Massachusetts.
  • NRWA participates in the Water Supply Citizen Advisory Committee (WSCAC) meetings on water supply and protection in relation to Wachusett Reservoir. The reservoir, the second largest in Massachusetts, was formed when the South Nashua River was dammed early in the 20th century. Water from the Wachusett and Quabbin Reservoirs supply 2.5 million people with water in 61 communities in the Greater Boston area. WSCAC was formed to advise the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) on water resource policy decisions affecting that water supply. NRWA has been advocating for a more naturalized flow to the South Nashua River. The river receives between 3 million gallons per day, the legislatively mandated minimum, and over 100 million gallons per day, depending on the MWRA’s water supply and management requirements. These flows can vary dramatically from day to day and interfere with the development of a natural river ecosystem. Setting an adequate baseline release and moderating increases will improve the habitat for fish and other wildlife along the South Nashua River. NRWA has advocated for a higher minimum flow and a stepped up and stepped down flow management to minimize impacts. NRWA believes that a scientific study of the flow impacts and management requirements would help to clarify what would be optimal for the ecology of the river.
  • One of NRWA’s staff is a member of the NH Rivers Management Advisory Committee (RMAC). The members of the RMAC are appointed by the Governor and Executive Council for three-year terms. The RMAC assists the NH Department of Environmental Services in administering the Rivers Management and Protection Program. Another important responsibility of the RMAC is to advise the Department on the adoption of rules for the protection of instream flow. The RMAC is also responsible for reviewing and making recommendations on plans to dispose of State-owned property along rivers or providing access to them.
  • The NRWA’s Executive Director serves as Vice Chair of the Safe Drinking Water Act Assessment Advisory Committee. The eleven members of the Committee are appointed by the Commissioner of the MA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and include six public water suppliers. In Massachusetts, there are 1,712 public water systems providing clean water to 6.3 million people. The Safe Drinking Water Act Assessment provides funding that helps the DEP’s Drinking Water Program to maintain primacy to implement the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.
  • Our staff attend professional conferences such as “River Monitoring for Climate Change” presented by the MA Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration (formerly, the Riverways Program), and the Central Mass DEP SMART Volunteer Monitoring Summit, held annually. Summit topics have included climate change, monitoring, and river classification. To learn more about water and climate change issues, visit the state sites for Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

For more information on NRWA’s work on water policy, please contact Martha Morgan, NRWA Water Programs Director, at (978) 448-0299, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Squannacook River Rapids - NRWA Archives

Wild & Scenic River FAQs

Who can I speak to about Wild & Scenic Rivers and this proposed Study?
What is a Wild and Scenic River Study?
What would a Study for the Nashua, Nissitissit & Squannacook Rivers entail?
What would Wild and Scenic designation achieve?
Why is the Wild and Scenic River Study itself so valuable?
What is so special about these rivers?
What are the basic steps of the Study and designation process?
What do the Study and designation not do?
If designated, how will the river be managed?
What are the next steps?

Who can I speak to about Wild & Scenic Rivers and this proposed Study?

Answer:  For more information on Wild & Scenic Rivers and this proposed Study, please contact Al Futterman, NRWA Land Programs Director, at (978) 448-0299, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

What is a Wild and Scenic River Study?

Answer:  A Wild and Scenic River Study is a congressionally authorized Study to determine whether a particular river segment is eligible and suitable for designation as a nationally recognized Wild and Scenic River.  The Study is based on the 1968 Wild and Scenic Rivers Act passed by Congress to provide a mechanism to protect and restore the nation's best rivers for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. Presently, 160 rivers have been designated in 36 states, 14 of these are "Partnership" Rivers.

What would a Study for the Nashua, Nissitissit, and Squannacook Rivers entail?

Answer:  A Study would probably take 3 years to finish.  It would be conducted by a Study Committee of local stakeholders including the NRWA, municipal representatives, state and regional experts, and would be supported by staff and funding from the National Park Service.  The Study would focus on the natural, ecological, cultural, historic, scenic, and/or recreational assets of the river.  It could be used to develop a river management plan and locally determined vision of strategies to protect and restore the outstanding resources of the river.  

What would Wild and Scenic designation achieve?

Answer:  Designation would be granted if, and only if, the Study demonstrates both outstanding resources and a local commitment to protect them.  The Study results in a river stewardship plan which establishes a locally-based Stewardship Council to oversee its implementation.  The designation would add federal protection which could ensure any future federally-funded or permitted water resource project would not adversely impact the river.  It could help protect water quality and prohibit new federally licensed dams and harmful diversions.  Designation would qualify these river segments for annual federal funds. (The Study committee would determine where these go.)  Designation would not lead to establishment of a federal park nor any federal acquisition of additional land ownership.

Why is the Wild and Scenic River Study itself so valuable?

Answer:  The Study provides an opportunity for towns to work together for their shared resource at a regional-scale.  It is a vehicle for providing communities with the incentive, structure, expertise, and funding needed to identify the issues and goals and achieve such.  The process is entirely voluntary and locally determined. 

What is so special about these rivers?

Answer:  The river segments under consideration are special because they have:

  • Scenic natural and agricultural landscapes.
  • Recreation including boating, trout stocking, bass fishing tournaments & the Nashua River Rail Trail.
  • Ecological values including biodiversity & habitat.
  • Local industrial & cultural history (e.g.: mill ponds, etc)

What are the basic steps of the Study and designation process?

Answer:  These are the basic steps of the Study and designation process.

  • Prepare a Wild and Scenic Study Report.  Determine eligibility and suitability - is there enough local support to warrant becoming a wild and scenic river? 
  • During the period of the Study, prohibitions against federal permits and projects that might harm the river – e.g. new dams – are temporarily effective, giving the towns a three year "test run". 
  • Identify the issues and threats.
  • Gather community input and establish goals and objectives.
  • Evaluate all existing protection measures like state and local regulations and determine gaps. 
  • Town Meeting votes on whether to request designation or not.
  • If both eligible and suitable, a bill can be introduced into Congress for a Wild and Scenic River designation.

What do the Study and designation not do?  

Answer:  The following is a list of things the Study and designation do not do.

  • The Study and designation do not put land under federal control, require public access to private land, or force any changes in the local process of land-use decision-making.
  • The Study and designation do not create new federal permits or regulations.
  • The Study and designation do not change any existing land uses.
  • The Study and designation do not affect hunting and fishing laws and access to the rivers is not restricted.

If designated, how will the river be managed?

Answer:  The river will be managed in accordance with a mutually-agreed upon River Stewardship Plan and its recommended priorities implemented by a Stewardship Council.  Designated Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers receive annual appropriations from Congress to assist in implementing their plans (~$170,000). Wild and Scenic status often leverages additional funds.

What are the next steps?

Answer:  H.R. 5319, the Nashua River Wild & Scenic River Study Act, needs to be heard by the Natural Resource Committee in the House of Representatives. If voted out of Committee, it needs to be voted on by the full legislature.

 

Dam in Fitchburg, MA

River Continuity: Dams and Culverts

Our rivers and streams once flowed naturally and freely through the landscape. Human development necessitated the building of dams to control water supplies and harness their power. Road construction for our transportation systems meant stream crossings, frequently accomplished by the use of culverts rather than bridges. These interruptions to the natural flow of the river impact aquatic life, and attempts, such as the building of fish ladders, have been made in the past to reduce that impact. NRWA’s river continuity projects focus on examining existing man-made features that fragment our waterways, determining their current usefulness, and seeking methods to modify them that will allow our river ecosystems to return to a more natural state.

Dams

Hundreds of dams dot the landscape throughout the Nashua River watershed, remnants of industries long abandoned. A handful of the dams, mostly on the Nashua River Mainstem, include hydropower operations that actively generate power. Dams create small ponds and lakes, offering recreational opportunities and a link to a way of life from days gone by. An increasing number of dams, however, are falling into disrepair and are becoming a burden to dam owners liable for damages if the dams fail. Municipalities and private dam owners have to make the difficult decision regarding whether to repair, replace, or remove a dam. All three options are very costly, and the deliberations regarding the repair and continued upkeep, or removal of any dam involve ecological, safety, political, economic, and cultural issues.

NRWA’s policy regarding dam removal is to consider each on a case-by-case basis. Not every dam is destined to be removed. There are dams, however, that have reached their useful life, are expensive to rebuild, provide no ecological benefit, and in fact are a hindrance to the improvement in the overall stream ecology. Dams disrupt a river’s natural course and flow, raise water temperatures in the downstream reaches from the dam, and disrupt river continuity, resulting in isolating populations of fish and wildlife and their habitats within a river. Restoration of the natural flow to a river often results in the rebound in the diversity of aquatic life to a stream that supports the native species that depend on a free-flowing riverine system to survive.

Links to dam resources:
MA Office of Dam Safety
Division of Ecological Restoration
NH Dam Bureau

Culverts

Culvert on brook in Fitchburg, MARiver and stream road crossings can be barriers to fish and wildlife movement if they are undersized, installed incorrectly, or are damaged from erosion and settling. Culverts can become “perched,” requiring fish to jump up into the culvert, which they often cannot or will not do. In addition, each year thousands of turtles and other wildlife are killed when they choose not to use an undersized culvert and instead attempt to cross a road.

NRWA hosted a stream continuity training session in the summer of 2009 organized by the Squann-a-Tissit chapter of Trout Unlimited and conducted by MA Riverways. Participants learned methods for conducting a stream continuity inventory. The goal of the continuity assessments was to identify crossings that are barriers to fish and wildlife passage and to help set priorities in restoring stream habitat in the Nissitissit and Squannacook watersheds. Project partners included NRWA, Friends of Willard Brook, O.A.R., the Pepperell and Townsend Conservation Commissions, MassWildlife, and the U.S. Geological Survey. More on the Massachusetts River and Stream Continuity Project.

In 2011, with generous support from the Stephen F. Quill Family Foundation, NRWA was able to take part in restoring connectivity along native reproducing brook trout habitat in Gulf Brook in Pepperell. The project was a partnership among the Massachusetts Outdoor Heritage Foundation, the Division of Fish & Wildlife, the Frank Nims Family Trust, the Greater Boston and Squann-a-tissit Chapters of Trout Unlimited, and the Town of Pepperell. The two new open (natural)-bottomed culverts replaced two old pipe culverts, which will allow brook trout the freedom of movement from the upper reaches of Gulf Brook to the Nissitissit River.

For more information on the NRWA’s river continuity projects, please contact Martha Morgan, NRWA Water Programs Director, at (978) 448-0299, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..