Millers River Watershed CouncilWelcome to the Millers River Watershed Council!

MRWC has the goal of helping people discover what makes the Millers River and its tributaries a natural treasure, one you can enjoy and help protect. MRWC welcomes your input.river swish

Saturday, September 24th: Source-to-Sea river cleanup – Volunteers needed 10 am – noon (rsvp requested)

MRWC is pleased to be a part of this year’s Source-to-sea river cleanup. Our team will focus along Dorsey Road in Erving–a beautiful road stretching from the Millers River’s confluence with the Connecticut River beneath the French King Bridge and running north along the Connecticut towards Northfield. Our main targets will be the larger, bulky items (tires, furniture, etc.) along the steep river banks directly north of the bridge–and so we especially welcome those hearty enough to collect debris along the steeper banks. We also welcome those who might prefer to collect along the flatter areas by the road.

All volunteers should plan on being at the parking lot on Dorsey Road, located by the pedestrian bridge on the Millers River, by 10 am. Traveling west on Route 2, Dorsey Road is the last left turn before crossing the FK Bridge. Volunteers are also invited to the 8:45 am prep meeting that morning at the Great Falls Discovery Center in nearby Turners Falls for cider, donuts and safety tips:  #2 Avenue A, just over the Gill-Montague Bridge on the right.

Speaking of safety: The following tips are recommended to ensure a comfortable Cleanup:

  1. Clothing that can get dirty or wet.  (Due to poison ivy along the river, long pants and sleeves are recommended).
  2. Closed-toed boots or sturdy shoes (most groups stay dry).
  3. Sunglasses, a hat with a visor, and sunscreen are recommended for sun protection, raincoat and boots are recommended for wet weather.
  4. A full water bottle. Be a model of sustainability! Bring your own reusable water bottle.

Support MRWC and support our waters!

th 2016 fundraising campaign underway!

Ever vigilant, MRWC continues to be ready for any movements on the withdrawn NED pipeline proposal, while we develop and promote several recreational Blue Trails across the watershed. We are also working on economic revitalization projects as part of the MRPC’s Brownfields Advisory group… and more!

Please take a moment now to support this work as generously as you can. You can donate online via the website homepage (the upper right “MAKE A DONATION” button) –using PayPal or a credit card; or send a check to MRWC at 100 Main Street, Athol, MA 01331. THANK YOU!

Saturday, September 24th – Source-to-Sea river cleanup

Save the date: We expect trash cleanups at one or more locations in the Millers R. watershed, including Dorsey Road in Erving and Northfield. If you know of an area needing attention, and are willing to help organize a local cleanup, please let us know. We’ll have details in the September newsletter.

Link to MRWC NED info page – HERE 

NED pipeline project suspended! Opponents remain vigilant!


May 15th:  paddle and/or hike the Otter River Conservation Area

Logo for Otter River Blue Trail

MRWC was very pleased to partner with the City of Gardner, Peak North America and the Freedom Way National Heritage Area on a morning paddle at the beautiful and wildlife-rich Otter River Conservation Area, southern terminus of the Otter River Blue Trail. For info click here. There was also an afternoon hike at the Cummings Conservation Area, which straddles the Otter River downstream; for info click here. We had a great day!


A volunteer samples the Millers River for bacteria by Ivan Ussach

A volunteer samples the Millers River for bacteria

Is it Clean? 2015 Monitoring Completed! MRWC has completed another successful Bacteria  sampling season along our Blue Trails. You can review results at our partner site: connecticutriver.us. Our sites run across northern MA.

We are also winding down our weekly stream temperature sampling at numerous sites.


Stormwater/LID Workshops

Pervious pavement at Orange Riverfront Park by Ivan Ussach

Pervious Pavement at Orange Riverfront Park

MRWC has been partnering with FRCOG on a series of three free public workshops addressing stormwater management for towns in the Franklin County half of the watershed. The EPA-funded program focuses on using low impact development (LID) techniques to reduce pollution and flooding and recharge groundwater.
To learn more the next events and participate, please click here.



2014 Bacteria Report  MRWC has released both the FULL and SUMMARY report for our 2014 Bac-T sampling program. Another good year for our rivers!

 2015 Bac-T sampling needs funding support. Consider Adopt-A-Sample!

2014 Stream Temperature Reports: MRWC volunteers monitored 24 streams for thermometertemperature in 2014 and MRWC operated 18 long term temperature data loggers across the watershed. Our Volunteer Report presents their data and the Logger report present the temperature profiles of the deployed probes. MRWC will be working with scientists to review the data closely.

Bugs tell the story!  MacroInvertebrate Sampling. Aquatic Insects are great indicators of stream health. The type and quantity of a given Katherine and Sarah Web2imageinsect can tell us how healthy a stream, river or brook is. MRWC initiated a new sampling program and visited 3 stream sites this fall. Thanks to our volunteers the pilot year of this effort was a fine success! Report is Available – here.

MRWC has joined with groups and individuals across the state to oppose the gas pipeline project proposed to be built across MA’s northern tier–including nine watershed towns from Montague to Ashburnham. Why? To learn more click here.

Cummings paddle stop upstrm2

Become a Blue Trail steward!

Blue Trail happenings: MRWC staff prepares new Blue Trail for Upper Millers and Otter Rivers

The draft map for the Upper Millers/Otter River Blue Trail is available for review as we seek input to refine our second Blue Trail. MRWC is working with the Birch Hill Dam staff on a new access launch there and the Town of Winchendon has improved the launch on River St. The City of Gardner also is assisting with access off Airport Rd for the ORBT. Go Blue Trail!


TW3bCouncil took action with 2014 Stream Monitoring Programs! 2014 season closes. We Monitored 2 dozen sites for streams temperatures, 9 sites for bacteria, established 2 stream flow monitoring stations, sampled 3 streams for macroinvertebrate populations. We got a lot done thanks to volunteer help on these efforts.

Bottles for Sample Collection2015 Adopt a Sample Campaign BEGINS!

MRWC needs support to move forward on our 2015 bacteria sampling efforts – so consider adopting a sample for a $25 donation or $150 for the season. Details.




MRWC serving the River Community!

river swish

There’s more:

Rain Garden Pocket Guide available: published by the Massachusetts Watershed Coalition, this full-color guide is full of photos and illustrations that make building a rain garden simple, fun and affordable.

what is a rain garden?

As a Partner in MWC’s Billion Gallons a Year (BGY) Stormwater Reduction Campaign, MRWC will provide a free copy of the Guide to  watershed residents and businesses, while they last. Please contact MRWC to request a copy of the Guide. A modified pdf version of the Guide is also available for download. Contact us

river swish

Blue Trail The adventures continued in 2014!

Millers River Blue Trail Guide available. MRWC has released the official Millers River Blue Trail guide in (2) versions, a $3 waterproof edition and a complimentary non-waterproof version. A number of local retailers are carrying the waterproof guide while the complimentary copy can be found at the Athol & Orange public libraries.