The Nashua River Watershed
Our watershed encompasses 538 square miles of land located in north central Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. By geographic definition of a watershed, all of this land drains into the Nashua River and its tributaries. The watershed stretches south to the Wachusett Reservoir in Clinton, Massachusetts, with the mainstem of the Nashua River running north to Nashua, New Hampshire, where it then enters the Merrimack River which eventually flows into the Atlantic Ocean. Wachusett Mountain, called the “observatory of Massachusetts” by Henry David Thoreau, rises on the western boundaries with watershed lands spreading east to the edge of the I-495 beltway around Boston. Explore a satellite view of our watershed.
All or portions of 32 communities lie within the geographic bounds of the watershed, and are home to approximately a quarter of a million residents. Lying just north and west of metropolitan Boston, our communities range from urban mill towns seeking revitalization to rural communities facing the pressures of rapid development.
With over 70% forest cover, the watershed is ranked by the U.S Forest Service as one of the best in the country for providing clean drinking water. Along with large tracts of forest, the geography also includes ponds, fields, wetlands, and mountains, leading to a diverse population of plants and wildlife including rare and endangered species such the Blanding’s Turtle, the American Bittern, and the Pie-billed Grebe. And, the varied geography offers an abundance of opportunities for recreation.
Our watershed is truly a special place to live, work, and play.