Stemming from our 2019 State of the Blackstone Watershed Workshop, we launched the Blackstone River Needs Assessment Project with funding from EPA’s Southeast New England Coastal Watershed Restoration Program in December 2019. The Blackstone River flows from Worcester, Massachusetts Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island, providing half of the freshwater input to the Bay and regionally important intact forests and cold-water fisheries. The birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and once one of the most polluted waterways in the nation, the Blackstone began its comeback 50 years ago thanks to new environmental policies and determined local efforts. Consequences of legacy pollution, degraded riverine habitat, and growing urbanization remain. The Blackstone River Needs Assessment Project brings together partners from across the watershed to continue healing the river by collaboratively identifying needs that once addressed can help local partners bridge from problem to solution. The primary desired outcome is an actionable, consensus-based needs assessment that is a catalyst for more projects that improve the water quality, native habitat, and resilience of the watershed. We expect to complete the needs assessment and support materials for several priority projects by March 2021.

We are working with partners across both Rhode Island and Massachusetts, from local watershed groups, municipalities, to state and regional level organizations. If you are interesting in joining the mailing list or attending a meeting please email info@nbep.org