Squannacook River photo by Cindy Knox Photography

Could the Nashua, Squannacook, and Nissitissit Rivers Become Wild and Scenic Rivers?

The Nashua River Watershed Association wants to call attention to a Public Information Meeting about the Wild and Scenic River project in Townsend, led by Wild and Scenic River Study Committee members. 

Townsend Wild & Scenic Public Information Meeting will be held on Thursday, April 26, at 6:30 p.m., at the Townsend Public Library.

All are encouraged to attend and learn more.  View a short video (4:46 min.) for a quick overview.   For info about other events related to this project visit www.WildandScenicNashuaRivers.org.

This year at Townsend’s Annual Town Meeting (May 1st) voters will take up the topic of the Nashua, Squannacook, and Nissitissit Rivers and their possible designation as a “Wild and Scenic River”. Townsend has been participating with nine Massachusetts and two New Hampshire towns as part of a Nashua River Wild and Scenic River Study Committee to explore designation of segments of the Nashua River from Lancaster to the New Hampshire border, and all of its two main tributaries, the Nissitissit and Squannacook Rivers, as Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers. The Study Committee has developed a locally-driven, voluntary Stewardship Plan. At Town Meeting in Townsend, voters will be asked if they wish to accept that voluntary River Stewardship Plan and its recommendation that the Nashua, Nissitissit, and Squannacook Rivers be designated as Wild and Scenic Rivers.

Here are a few facts about the Wild and Scenic project:

What is a “Wild and Scenic River” designation? The designation of “Wild and Scenic River” is a national recognition given under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act that was passed by Congress fifty years ago to preserve rivers in this country that are unique and special. Only rivers that are shown to have ‘outstandingly remarkable resource values’ can qualify for this designation. The outstanding values can relate to biological diversity; recreational and scenic values; and historical and cultural values. Less than one-quarter of one percent of all American rivers are designated “Wild and Scenic”.

Do the Nashua, Squannacook, and Nissitissit Rivers have outstanding value? Yes, is the answer from the Nashua River Wild and Scenic River Study Committee that has been studying the river for the past two and a half years. These three rivers have exceptional biological diversity, and are home to more than a dozen threatened, endangered, or species of special concern, from turtles to mussels to dragonflies, including a notably large population of state-listed Blanding’s turtles. Additionally, Townsend is to a great extent the heart of the Squannassit Area of Critical Environmental Concern.  The proposed 3.7 mile Squannacook River Rail Trail will run alongside the river through Townsend. Peaceful and scenic views are afforded from the Squannacook River due to the extent of forested shoreline including the Squannacook River Wildlife Management Area. The coldwater Squannacook is a favorite fly-fishing destination. It is also the site of the Lion Club’s annual canoe race.  The area has given rise to many influential conservationists--including Benton MacKaye and William Wharton--& the area experienced a breathtaking insurgence of conservation activities in the 1960s that had lasting impact on the cultural fabric of the region. The “Marion Stoddart Story” & the clean-up of the Nashua River has merited international acclaim. Noteworthy historic sites--including the restored Spaulding Grist Mill, Reed Homestead, & the Conant House--abound in our area.

What are the benefits of designation? If the Nashua, Squannacook, and Nissitissit Rivers are designated as a Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers, they will be elevated to a level of national significance. A locally-appointed Stewardship Council will be eligible to receive annual federal funding and technical assistance to implement the voluntary River Stewardship Plan. The three rivers will be protected from adverse federal actions including new dams, and designation could help prevent the potentially negative effects of activities such as in-stream utility line crossings. The designation is meant to empower the local communities to care for and protect their rivers.

What are the costs of designation? There are none. There is no cost to residents of Townsend, or to the other ten towns. There is no federal taking of land. There is no impact on hunting and fishing. The designation does not stop local development, does not impact local zoning and property rights, and it does not require landowners to provide access to their lands. The Stewardship Committee is made up of local individuals and actions taken are locally driven.

What is in the voluntary Stewardship Plan? The locally-developed, voluntary Nashua, Squannacook, and Nissitissit Rivers Stewardship Plan was developed by the Study Committee with extensive public input. It includes recommendations on how to protect water quality and wildlife habitat, as well as recommendations for how to increase awareness and appreciation of the river and its special attributes. It also contains extensive information on the biological diversity of the area, the recreational use of the rivers, and the historical connections between the rivers and local communities. To view the Stewardship Plan, visit www.WildandScenicNashuaRivers.org.

What happens after the Town Meeting vote? The nine Massachusetts communities involved in the Study, that adjoin the segments of the Nashua, Nissitissit, and Squannacook Rivers, will all be voting to accept the voluntary River Stewardship Plan and its recommendation to seek Wild and Scenic designation. The towns of Brookline and Hollis in New Hampshire have already voted “yes” on the question. After all eleven towns have voted, it will be up to the US Congress to pass legislation awarding the designation and up to the President to sign it.

Will there by other Public Information Meetings? Yes. There will be a Public Information Meeting in each community that is voting on this question. Those communities include Ayer, Bolton, Dunstable, Groton, Harvard, Lancaster, Pepperell, Shirley, and Townsend. You may attend any one of these meetings. To see a list of dates and locations, visit www.WildandScenicNashuaRivers.org.

Where can I get more information? Visit the Study Committee’s website, www.WildandScenicNashuaRivers.org. You can also contact Al Futterman, Nashua River Wild and Scenic River Study Committee, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or 978-448-0299.

Please share this information with your neighbors and friends in Townsend. Thank you!

Photo: Squannacook River; photo by Cindy Knox Photography.

Nashua River reduced for email

The Nashua River Watershed Association wants to call attention to a Public Information Meeting about the Wild and Scenic River project in Lancaster, led by Wild and Scenic River Study Committee members. 

Lancaster Wild & Scenic Public Information Meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 25, at 7:00 p.m., at the Lancaster Town Hall.

All are encouraged to attend and learn more.  View a short video (4:46 min.) for a quick overview.   For info about other events related to this project visit www.WildandScenicNashuaRivers.org.

This year at Lancaster’s Annual Town Meeting (May 7th) voters will take up the topic of the Nashua River and its possible designation as a “Wild and Scenic River”. Lancaster has been participating with nine Massachusetts and two New Hampshire towns as part of a Nashua River Wild and Scenic River Study Committee to explore designation of segments of the Nashua River from Lancaster to the New Hampshire border, and all of its two main tributaries, the Nissitissit and Squannacook Rivers, as Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers. The Study Committee has developed a locally-driven, voluntary Stewardship Plan. At Town Meeting in Lancaster, voters will be asked if they wish to accept that voluntary River Stewardship Plan and its recommendation that the Nashua, Nissitissit, and Squannacook Rivers be designated as Wild and Scenic Rivers.

Here are a few facts about the Wild and Scenic project:

What is a “Wild and Scenic River” designation? The designation of “Wild and Scenic River” is a national recognition given under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act that was passed by Congress fifty years ago to preserve rivers in this country that are unique and special. Only rivers that are shown to have ‘outstandingly remarkable resource values’ can qualify for this designation. The outstanding values can relate to biological diversity; recreational and scenic values; and historical and cultural values. Less than one-quarter of one percent of all American rivers are designated “Wild and Scenic”.

Do the Nashua, Squannacook, and Nissitissit Rivers have outstanding value? Yes, is the answer from the Nashua River Wild and Scenic River Study Committee that has been studying the river for the past two and a half years. Our findings include more than a dozen threatened, endangered, or species of special concern including freshwater mussels and a notably large population of state-listed Blanding’s turtles. Lancaster hosts two state-designated “Priority Natural Communities”: a pitch pine–scrub oak and a high-terrace floodplain forest. Also, Lancaster is the heart of the Central Nashua River Valley Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). Over 8,000 unique visitors annually recreate on the rivers with a couple canoe access sites in Lancaster. Additionally, the Nashua River originates in Lancaster at the “Meeting of the Waters”.  The area has given rise to many influential conservationists --including Lee “Bill” Farnsworth-- & the area experienced a breathtaking insurgence of conservation activities in the 1960s that had lasting impact on the cultural fabric of the region. The “Marion Stoddart Story” & the clean-up of the Nashua River has merited international acclaim & has been a model for watershed groups across the country. Noteworthy historic sites--including Mary Rowlandson’s capture site and Fort Deven’s South Post--abound in our area.

What are the benefits of designation? If the Nashua, Squannacook, and Nissitissit Rivers are designated as a Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers, they will be elevated to a level of national significance. A locally-appointed Stewardship Council will be eligible to receive annual federal funding and technical assistance to implement the voluntary River Stewardship Plan. The three rivers will be protected from adverse federal actions including new dams, and designation could help prevent the potentially negative effects of activities such as in-stream utility line crossings. The designation is meant to empower the local communities to care for and protect their rivers.

What are the costs of designation? There are none. There is no cost to residents of Lancaster, or to the other ten towns. There is no federal taking of land. There is no impact on hunting and fishing. The designation does not stop local development, does not impact local zoning and property rights, and it does not require landowners to provide access to their lands. The Stewardship Committee is made up of local individuals and actions taken are locally driven.

What is in the voluntary Stewardship Plan? The locally-developed, voluntary Nashua, Squannacook, and Nissitissit Rivers Stewardship Plan was developed by the Study Committee with extensive public input. It includes recommendations on how to protect water quality and wildlife habitat, as well as recommendations for how to increase awareness and appreciation of the river and its special attributes. It also contains extensive information on the biological diversity of the area, the recreational use of the rivers, and the historical connections between the rivers and local communities. To view the Stewardship Plan, visit www.WildandScenicNashuaRivers.org.

What happens after the Town Meeting vote? The nine Massachusetts communities involved in the Study, that adjoin the segments of the Nashua, Nissitissit, and Squannacook Rivers, will all be voting to accept the voluntary River Stewardship Plan and its recommendation to seek Wild and Scenic designation. The towns of Brookline and Hollis in New Hampshire have already voted “yes” on the question. After all eleven towns have voted, it will be up to the US Congress to pass legislation awarding the designation and up to the President to sign it.

Will there by other Public Information Meetings? Yes. There will be a Public Information Meeting in each community that is voting on this question. Those communities include Ayer, Bolton, Dunstable, Groton, Harvard, Lancaster, Pepperell, Shirley, and Townsend. You may attend any one of these meetings. To see a list of dates and locations, visit www.WildandScenicNashuaRivers.org.

Where can I get more information? Visit the Study Committee’s website, www.WildandScenicNashuaRivers.org. You can also contact Al Futterman, Nashua River Wild and Scenic River Study Committee, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or 978-448-0299.

Please share this information with your neighbors and friends in Lancaster. Thank you!

Photo: Nashua River; photo by Cindy Knox Photography.

Nashua River reduced for email

The Nashua River Watershed Association wants to call attention to a Public Information Meeting about the Wild and Scenic River project in Dunstable, led by Wild and Scenic River Study Committee members. 

Dunstable Wild & Scenic Public Information Meeting will be held on Monday, April 23, at 6:00 p.m., at the Dunstable Town Hall.

All are encouraged to attend and learn more.  For info about other events related to this project visit www.WildandScenicNashuaRivers.org.

This year at Dunstable’s Annual Town Meeting (May 14th) voters will take up the topic of the Nashua River and its possible designation as a “Wild and Scenic River”. Dunstable has been participating with nine Massachusetts and two New Hampshire towns as part of a Nashua River Wild and Scenic River Study Committee to explore designation of segments of the Nashua River from Lancaster to the New Hampshire border, and all of its two main tributaries, the Nissitissit and Squannacook Rivers, as Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers. The Study Committee has developed a locally-driven, voluntary Stewardship Plan. At Town Meeting in Dunstable, voters will be asked if they wish to accept that voluntary River Stewardship Plan and its recommendation that the Nashua, Nissitissit, and Squannacook Rivers be designated as Wild and Scenic Rivers.

Here are a few facts about the Wild and Scenic project:

What is a “Wild and Scenic River” designation? The designation of “Wild and Scenic River” is a national recognition given under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act that was passed by Congress fifty years ago to preserve rivers in this country that are unique and special. Only rivers that are shown to have ‘outstandingly remarkable resource values’ can qualify for this designation. The outstanding values can relate to biological diversity; recreational and scenic values; and historical and cultural values. Less than one-quarter of one percent of all American rivers are designated “Wild and Scenic”.

Do the Nashua, Squannacook, and Nissitissit Rivers have outstanding value? Yes, is the answer from the Nashua River Wild and Scenic River Study Committee that has been studying the river for the past two and a half years. These three rivers have exceptional biological diversity, and are home to more than a dozen threatened, endangered, or species of special concern, from turtles to mussels to dragonflies, including a notably large population of state-listed Blanding’s turtles. Dunstable’s frontage on the Nashua River is nearly all protected open space. The eleven mile Nashua River Rail Trail runs alongside the river – with a terminus in Dunstable -- and there are many miles of connected trails. Over 8,000 unique visitors annually recreate on the rivers. The area has given rise to many influential conservationists--including Ellen Swallow Richards from Dunstable--and the area experienced a breathtaking insurgence of conservation activities in the 1960s that had lasting impact on the cultural fabric of the region. The “Marion Stoddart Story” & the clean-up of the Nashua River has merited international acclaim & has been a model for watershed groups across the country.

What are the benefits of designation? If the Nashua, Squannacook, and Nissitissit Rivers are designated as a Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers, they will be elevated to a level of national significance. A locally-appointed Stewardship Council will be eligible to receive annual federal funding and technical assistance to implement the voluntary River Stewardship Plan. The three rivers will be protected from adverse federal actions including new dams, and designation could help prevent the potentially negative effects of activities such as in-stream utility line crossings. The designation is meant to empower the local communities to care for and protect their rivers.

What are the costs of designation? There are none. There is no cost to residents of Dunstable, or to the other ten towns. There is no federal taking of land. There is no impact on hunting and fishing. The designation does not stop local development, does not impact local zoning and property rights, and it does not require landowners to provide access to their lands. The Stewardship Committee is made up of local individuals and actions taken are locally driven.

What is in the voluntary Stewardship Plan? The locally-developed, voluntary Nashua, Squannacook, and Nissitissit Rivers Stewardship Plan was developed by the Study Committee with extensive public input. It includes recommendations on how to protect water quality and wildlife habitat, as well as recommendations for how to increase awareness and appreciation of the river and its special attributes. It also contains extensive information on the biological diversity of the area, the recreational use of the rivers, and the historical connections between the rivers and local communities. To view the Stewardship Plan, visit www.WildandScenicNashuaRivers.org.

What happens after the Town Meeting vote? The nine Massachusetts communities involved in the Study, that adjoin the segments of the Nashua, Nissitissit, and Squannacook Rivers, will all be voting to accept the voluntary River Stewardship Plan and its recommendation to seek Wild and Scenic designation. The towns of Brookline and Hollis in New Hampshire have already voted “yes” on the question. After all eleven towns have voted, it will be up to the US Congress to pass legislation awarding the designation and up to the President to sign it.

Will there by other Public Information Meetings? Yes. There will be a Public Information Meeting in each community that is voting on this question. Those communities include Ayer, Bolton, Dunstable, Groton, Harvard, Lancaster, Pepperell, Shirley, and Townsend. You may attend any one of these meetings. To see a list of dates and locations, visit www.WildandScenicNashuaRivers.org.

Where can I get more information? Visit the Study Committee’s website, www.WildandScenicNashuaRivers.org. You can also contact Al Futterman, Nashua River Wild and Scenic River Study Committee, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or 978-448-0299.

Please share this information with your neighbors and friends in Dunstable. Thank you!

Photo: Nashua River; photo by Cindy Knox Photography.

NRWA FSU Grad/PDP Course for Teachers Grades K thru 8

Monday, July 9 thru Friday, July 13, 2018 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 
Based at NRWA River Resource Center, 592 Main Street (Rt.119), Groton, MA

Paddle, hike, and explore a schoolyard while earning graduate or PDP credits thru Fitchburg State University during the Nashua River Watershed Association’s summer course for teachers, “NRWA Watershed Investigations Course: Connecting Watersheds and 2016 MA Science & Technology/ Engineering Standards”.  The course will allow graduate level and/or in-service teachers, grades Kindergarten thru 8, to dissect and apply the new Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Draft Revised Standards. This course, offered through Fitchburg State University/Summer II 2018, will run from Monday, July 9 through Friday, July 13, 2018, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and will be based at the NRWA’s River Resource Center located at 592 Main Street (Rt. 119) in Groton, MA.  Candidates will practice using the publication Nashua River Watershed Investigations for Grades K-8: Connecting Watersheds to the 2016 MA Science and Technology/ Engineering Standards, including 27 lessons ready for classroom use. They will learn through hands-on outdoor science lessons, presentations from NRWA scientists, and collaboration with peers. Candidates will also design a science unit including a self-designed research project with measurable data collection. Outdoor excursions will include a short canoe trip, walks through several forested areas, and explorations in a schoolyard. The cost is $600 for 3 graduate credits from Fitchburg State University, or $400 for 37.5 PDPs.  Space is limited; be sure to register today to reserve your spot. The deadline for registration is June 30, 2018.  To register, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., NRWA Environmental Education Associate.  

Summer Eco-adventures for Ages 6 to 14 Years Old

See dates by program below
Based at NRWA River Resource Center, 592 Main Street (Rt.119), Groton, MA

Make your plans now to register for the Nashua River Watershed Association’s popular Summer Eco-adventures for youth. These small group programs are led by NRWA professional educators/naturalists.  Sign up soon; space is limited. 

Wilderness Summer Survival Week for Ages 11 to 14
June 25 – June 28, 2018 (Mon. –Thurs.) 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Challenge yourself in nature with four adventurous, action-packed days of hiking Groton trails through numerous conservation properties, paddling the Squannacook River, developing summer survival skills, and exploring the inner world of our local river, woodlands and fields while making new friends. Outdoor adventure at its best with River Classroom Director Stacey Chilcoat. Program fees are $210 for NRWA members or $240 for non-members.

Animal Adventures: Discover the Creatures of Our Forests, Fields, and Wetlands for Ages 9 to 11
July 16 – July 19, 2018 (Mon. –Thurs.) 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Calling all animal lovers and nature explorers!  From reptiles to mammals, this program focuses on the amazing lives of our local wildlife. Collect fascinating insects, practice summer tracking skills, hike local trails and play animal camouflage games. Discover how our local wildlife has adapted to live and thrive in these three distinct habitants. Program fees are $200 for NRWA members or $230 for non-members.

Wild World of Water Week for Ages 6 to 8
July 23– July 26, 2018 (Mon. –Thurs.) 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Escape the heat of summer with four fun-filled days all about water!  Collect aquatic critters from the Nashua River, make a fresh water aquarium, do water experiments, make mini-boats to race on mini streams, and stay cool each day with lots of water games. Perfect for nature & water loving kids! Program fees are $190 for NRWA members or $220 for non-members.

All programs are based at the Nashua River Watershed Association River Resource Center at 592 Main Street (Rt. 119), in Groton.  Pre-registration is required. Space is limited! To register This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., NRWA Environmental Education Assistant.