Paddling the Squannacook river - photo by Nancy Ohringer

NRWA Receives Two-Year Massachusetts Environmental Trust Grant for Habitat and Paddling Improvements on the Squannacook River

The NRWA is pleased to announce that it has received a $19,000 grant from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust (MET) for a two-year project to address habitat and paddling improvements on the Squannacook River. The Squannacook River is designated an “Outstanding Resource Water” and was recently included in the Nashua River Wild & Scenic Study Act. It is prime habitat for endangered and special species of concern, and is a prized cold-water fishery. It is also a premier paddling destination.

The focus of the new “Habitat Connectivity and Paddling Improvements in the Squannacook River Subwatershed” project is to address issues with river continuity. The free flow of the river can sometimes be negatively impacted at road crossings when the river must go under the roads through culverts. This can impede the movement of fish and wildlife. NRWA staff, who have undergone training, will be assessing stream crossings (culverts) in the Squannacook River subwatershed under the protocols developed by the North Atlantic Aquatic Connectivity Collaborative. Assessments will help to prioritize upgrades for local Departments of Public Works, with upgrades leading to improved habitat and flood resiliency. Additionally, NRWA will facilitate a process with citizens, local officials, and habitat experts in regards to thoughtfully clearing some of the more dangerous woody debris obstacles (downed trees or portions of trees) in the Squannacook River to make the river safer for paddling. Woody debris is essential for aquatic habitat, and this process will balance boating needs with habitat preservation. A “Lessons Learned” Guide will be produced showing the “before” and “after” process of debris management. This project is being supported by a number of partners including the Townsend Conservation Commission, the Townsend Department of Public Works, and the Squan-a-Tissit Chapter of Trout Unlimited.  

MET logoThe NRWA would like to thank MET for funding this project. MET is a grant-making organization that protects and preserves water resources and their related ecosystems throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. MET is supported through the sale of its specialty license plates.  Learn more about the Massachusetts Environmental Trust and the programs it supports. To order a license plate visit your local Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles or log on to

Do you have questions, or would you like more information? Contact Martha Morgan, NRWA Water Programs Director (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Kathryn Nelson, NRWA Water Monitoring Coordinator (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).