River Experts to Visit Nashua Watershed (MA, NH)

GROTON, MA, 4/28/2003 – The Nashua River Watershed Association (NRWA) and the Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced today that a team of five experts will be visiting the Nashua River Watershed from May 4 to May 9 as part of a drinking water protection effort funded by the Environmental Protection Agency.

“We’re excited to welcome this group of conservation and drinking water experts to the Nashua River,” said Elizabeth Ainsley Campbell, executive director of the NRWA. “This region of Massachusetts and New Hampshire will be facing intense growth pressures over the next decade, and we need to take action now to protect our drinking water supplies from increased pollution.”

“After a week of intensive briefings, this team will make recommendations to help us identify the most important priorities for drinking water protection in this watershed,” said Kathy Blaha, senior vice president for the Trust for Public Land. “This will be a critical step forward in the effort to guarantee plentiful supplies of clean drinking water in the region.”

Public events throughout the week will offer area residents the opportunity to meet the team, including morning briefings on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday at the Nashua River Watershed Association’s River Resource Center in Groton. On Friday, May 9, at 9:30 a.m. the team will present their findings in a public presentation at the Resource Center. For more information, contact Al Futterman at (978) 448-0299.

Team members include Donna Drewes of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, geologist Michael Heidorn, Roger Monthey of the USDA Forest Service, consultant Jay Sherman, and Matthew Zieper of the Trust for Public Land.

A portion of the Nashua River watershed, including Ashby, Shirley, Groton, Townsend, and Pepperell in Massachusetts and Brookline, Greenville, Hollis, Mason, Milford, and New Ipswich in southern New Hampshire, was selected as one of four pilot sites in the country by the Environmental Protection Agency. All of the communities included in this pilot project are located within the primary watershed of the Squannacook and Nissitissit Rivers, which are important tributaries to the Nashua River. The other three sites are Carroll County, GA, Monmouth County, NJ, and Baltimore County, MD.

A critical component of the pilot programs is the development of computer models and mapping by the University of Massachusetts. These maps, which include data on ground water and surface water, soils, slopes, land use and other key data layers, will be used to identify areas in the watershed that are the highest priority for protection, or will benefit most from restoration or sustainable forestry management.

NWRA and TPL will also be working with the US Forest Service, New England Forestry Foundation, Squannassit-Petapawag Area of Critical Environmental Concern Stewardship Committee, the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, local officials, and water suppliers to implement the pilot programs.

The Nashua River Watershed Association, founded in 1969, is a nonprofit conservation organization whose mission is a healthy ecosystem with clean water and open spaces for human and wildlife communities, where people work together to sustain mutual economic and environmental well-being within the Nashua River watershed. The Association serves 31 communities in central Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. The Association’s main goals include protection of water quality and quantity, careful land use with well-planned development, and watershed education.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit conservation organization conserving land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 1.6 million acres of land in 45 states, including more than 150,000 acres in New England. TPL depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve our land for people mission.