Welcome 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.
MRWC is pleased to announce the first-ever Millers River & Watershed Photo Contest and Exhibition, co-sponsored with the Athol Public Library, where the exhibition will run during the month of October, 2018 before moving to other watershed venues. MRWC aims for the Photo Contest and Exhibition to inspire watershed residents to explore, appreciate and help protect the 50-mile long Millers River and its surrounding watershed of 400 square miles—including numerous tributaries, streams, lakes and ponds.
Click here for the Contest Guidelines. All submissions meeting the guidelines will be judged by noted nature photographers Paul Rezendes of Athol, Bill Fournier of Gardner and Dale Monette of New Salem. All images must be received by the Athol Library after August 17th and no later than 5 pm on Monday, September 24th, 2018. Contact MRWC for more info.
For a map showing the watershed’s boundaries, including all or parts of 17 Massachusetts and 6 New New Hampshire towns (and one city–Gardner), click here.
EPA issues final Small MS4 General Permit to control stormwater statewide.
Following a lawsuit by environmental groups, a long-awaited federal stormwater permit went into effect for MA on July 1. The permit requires municipalities–including Gardner, Winchendon, Templeton, Ashburnham and Westminster in the Millers River watershed–to do more to protect water bodies from polluted storm-water runoff, the state’s top water pollution problem.
“This is a major victory for water quality throughout the Commonwealth,” said Julia Blatt, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Rivers Alliance, which led the lawsuit that was joined by the Connecticut River Conservancy and many watershed groups from the eastern half of the state.
2018 Acid Rain Monitoring (ARM) Project results available
Results from the volunteer ARM project for pH and alkalinity are available here from 138 sites sampled across Massachusetts in April of this year. About a dozen Millers River watershed sites are included. Water bodies are listed alphabetically and the town is identified, so it’s easy to scroll through the list. ARM is run by UMass’ Water Resources Research Center: their results page includes a link to a searchable database extending back to 1983.
Chair City Profile (Gardner)
Gardner produces only a tiny fraction of the furniture it once did, but central Mass native Tracie Pouliot is helping to keep that vital history alive. Read about the Chair City Community Workshop she created in Gardner, where–with a Mass Humanities grant–she launched the Chair City Oral History Series, a collection of reminiscences collected from former employees of Nichols & Stone.
Just Released – MRPC Summary of Recent Brownfield Site Assessments:
Site assessment work has included Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) and hazardous building materials surveys (HBMS), with the goal of establishing site environmental conditions before considering redevelopment or reuse. MRWC serves on MRPC’s Brownfields Advisory Group. To view summaries of the five sites located in the Millers River watershed (Winchendon, Gardner, Royalston, Ashburnham), click here.
Annual Meeting: Highlights – Slide Show
For those of you who missed the 2017 Annual Meeting, or who’d like a closer look at MRWC’s activities, here’s director Ivan Ussach’s powerpoint presentation with the highlights from a very productive year. – Slide Show Link
MRWC Monitoring Map – where we sample! Link
Since 2010, MRWC has monitored over 50 sites across the watershed. Is one near you? Take a look!
MRWC monitoring BUGS out!
Bugs Tell the Story! Aquatic insects are great indicators of stream health. Join a MRWC macro-invertebrate survey to collect these critters, sort them and then identify them.
Volunteers will work in teams to sample several streams in the central and eastern parts of the watershed, as this area is less studied.
So if you are OK with (or love!) bugs and maybe getting a bit wet, join us. To volunteer, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Adopt a Stream! MRWC volunteers are monitoring water temperature and pH along tributaries and streams across the watershed in 2018 View the watershed stream list to see all the streams in the watershed. For more info contact monitoring coordinator Keith Davies at email@example.com.
Athol Wastewater Treatment Plant receives EPA award
The federal EPA has selected Athol’s Wastewater Treatment Plant for a 2016 Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant Excellence Award. The Athol WWTP was recognized by EPA’s New England Office for exceptional operations and maintenance. The plant was one of six facilities in New England acknowledged for exemplary performance during 2016. MRWC offers its congratulations and appreciation to the plant’s crew.
Support MRWC and support our waters!
2018 fundraising campaign underway!
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 moving forward on water quality monitoring and 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!
Link to MRWC NED info page – HERE
NED pipeline project suspended! Opponents remain vigilant!
Become a Blue Trail steward!
Blue Trail happenings: MRWC staff have launched new Blue Trail on the Upper Millers and Otter Rivers
The map for the Upper Millers/Otter River Blue Trail is available. MRWC welcomes volunteers to help care for these trails.
Wish to help? Contact MRWC.
MRWC serving the River Community!
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.
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
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.