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.river swish

Millers River Plein Air events return — join the fun!

Artist: Bruce Dean

MRWC and the Athol Public Library are pleased to sponsor the 2nd Annual Plein Air (outdoor) Workshop and Art Show. The free workshop, with artist Tom Kellner, will take place Saturday, May 5th at 9 am near the Birch Hill Dam picnic area in South Royalston–contact Tom at tomkellner12@gmail.com with questions and to register. The Library will accept works on May 31st and June 1st for a June exhibition. Details to follow soon! Event Flyer Link   


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

Ron Amidon w/bear cub Worcester T&G

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

The evening’s guest speaker was Templeton resident Ron Amidon, who was appointed  commissioner of the Mass Department of Fish & Game by Governor Baker in July. Ron is an avid sportsman and conservationist, and offered a great perspective on watershed issues. Thanks Ron! We had a great turn out too!


 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!

Sampling sites list.

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 watershed@millersriver.net



July 8th was Inaugural Paddle on the UM/LO BT!

MRWC “launched” the Upper Millers/Lower Otter River Blue Trail, Saturday July 8. Paddlers experienced the part of the trail from Baldwinville to Birch Hill Dam. The 5.5 mile trip was quite pleasant and the weather held out! MRWC shared the near final trail guide and is now moving forward to mount trail signage in the area. This trail is quite rustic and wild with a few beaver dams and such to occasionally carry over. The area is a great place for exploration and quiet adventure. GO BLUE TRAIL!

mrwc-5-8-17-UMLO guide


This year MRWC sampled bacteria  every other Thursday morning from sites on the Millers and Otter Rivers,  see data at: http://www.connecticutriver.us/site/content/sites-list    look on map above Quabbin.


Adopt a Stream! MRWC  volunteers are monitoring water temperature and pH along tributaries and streamsacross the watershed. See program info link: MRWC Adopt a Stream 2017  View the watershed stream list to see all the streams in the watershed. For more info contact monitoring coordinator Keith Davies at watershed@millersriver.net.

Adopt a Sample/Site – support our Bac-T sampling program – Details here: MRWC adopt a sample 2017 

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.

Making the Millers River Blue Trail accessible

MRWC has joined with the Town of Athol and access-dockthe Friends of the Alan E. Rich Environmental Park in purchasing and installing an accessible canoe/kayak dock on the Millers River in Athol. This dock will compliment the similar dock in Orange, improving access to the 6-mile Millers River Blue Trail. The plan is to install and open this dock Summer 2017.

Support MRWC and support our waters!

 2017 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!


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.



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.


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!

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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

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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.