Did you miss the Introduction to Birding program with Roger Masse?
Or perhaps you just want to review what you learned!
Click Here to view the Power Point Presentation.
Visit the WPWA Photo Gallery to view a few pictures from this snowy-day event!
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Looking For More Opportunities to Paddle with a Group?
Consider joining Southern New England Paddlers, or SNEP! [pronounced: sn-ee-p]
If you have been thinking of trying kayaking but don't know how to get started, or you are just looking for more opportunites to get on the water with a group, SNEP could be just right for you!
SNEP is a group for new paddlers who whould like to explore a variety of sites in Southern New England while learning and building their skills. Membership is free but they encourage their participants to join, guess who?...the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association!
SNEP paddles are held on Wednesday evenings after most people's work day comes to an end. The group paddles a different location every week all throught he season, travelling around eastern CT and southern RI.
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On May 11, 2011, WILCO Development, LLC began demolition to the longtime WPWA rental property at their Arcadia Road location. The demo is part of WPWA's exciting Phase I changes to their waterfront campus to create a more usable space while improving protection of the river. Read more about this project HERE, and see photographs of the project HERE.
Have you or your neighbors ever used fertilizer on your lawns?
Are you preparing to make your Fall application?
If you can answer yes to any of these questions then please take a moment to read the
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* Did you miss the RI Flood of 2010: A Hydrological Assessment lecture on April 3, 2011? *
* Did you miss the Woodcocks in the Watershed lecture on February 13, 2011? *
The Unprecedented March Flooding of 2010
Other Flood Photos (You will leave the WPWA website)
Natural Resource Conservation Service: Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) The purpose of the EWP program is to undertake emergency measures, including the purchase of flood plain easements, for runoff retardation and soil erosion prevention to safeguard lives and property from floods, drought, and the products of erosion on any watershed whenever fire, flood or any other natural occurrence is causing or has caused a sudden impairment of the watershed. Open the link to read more and find out if you may be eligible for assistance.
Water Quality Data is Going Live
by Elise Torello, WPWA
WPWA has over 20 years of valuable water quality monitoring data thanks to the dedicated sampling efforts of its volunteers. Recently, we have been working hard to make these data available to the public via the internet. Adding spatial context to the data through the use of interactive web-based maps will greatly enhance data use and visualization. Having highly visible and accessible data maps will assist WPWA in getting public recognition and support for their years of effort. However, like many volunteer monitoring groups, WPWA has limited computing capacity, technical ability, and financial resources to develop, host, maintain, and update complex information systems. Thankfully, advances on the World Wide Web have made possible the development of a web-based interactive map and data viewer which meets the needs of groups like ours yet is easy and inexpensive to develop and maintain -- even for a non-computer expert.
The Queen River
Google Earth and other "virtual globe" products including Google Maps, Microsoft's Virtual Earth, Bing Maps, and Yahoo! Maps are widely used and present many advantages for organizations wanting to present their data through an interactive web-based map. They provide frequently updated satellite imagery, aerial photography, terrain, and map data for the entire globe, along with many easy-to-use tools for interacting with the imagery and data. They are supported on multiple computing platforms, include additional data layers, are continually being improved and enhanced, and best of all are free. Finally, there is no software for the user to purchase or install on their web server.
The technology is available to produce user-friendly and developer-friendly web-based mapping applications. For our WPWA project, we developed a Google Maps "My Maps" for our data presentation as we believe that this approach will be the easiest to maintain and expand. In addition, we look forward to Google continuing to enhance their product in the future. Through a survey of likely users of our system, the most common positive feedback we received regarding our Google Maps data portal focused on the context that the aerial imagery, streets, and other landmarks provided to the sampling stations. Users found it helpful to see what kinds of land use were near the sampling stations. Several users simply found the Google Maps data portal to be fun to use.
We are currently presenting our data as a summary data table and bar chart over time for each sampling parameter and each sampling site. These data summary pages are accessed through a "data portal page" for each sampling site; the data portal page is accessed by clicking on a placemark in the Google Map and then clicking on a hyperlink inside the information balloon. Our data portal and data summary pages are all in PDF format to allow them to be conveniently printed and consistently viewed across widespread browsers and computing platforms. Pictures and other site specific information will soon be added to each sampling site.
The ongoing development of our project may include making "raw" data available for download. We are also considering aggregating or summarizing sampling parameter data into environmental quality indicators, environmental health indices, environmental "report cards", etc. Many members of the public, rather than being interested in data tables and plots, just want to know the answers to questions such as "Can I swim there? Can I fish there?" Data summaries can be of great value to scientists and the public but will require much time and consideration on the part of the watershed scientists to determine the most appropriate form of data presentation, perhaps on a site-by-site basis. These summaries, when used in conjunction with Google Maps, can be a powerful and useful tool for scientists and the public to visualize and utilize our valuable WPWA monitoring data. In 2010, we plan to expand our maps to include data collected by our SCC partners.
The Bradford Fish Ladder Project
Bradford Fish Ladder & Portage Repair Project
by Christopher J. Fox, WPWA Executive Director
For more than 6 years, WPWA has diligently worked to repair the fish ladder and portage path at the Bradford Dam. Thankfully, those repairs are now finally complete! In late 2008 the initial repair was completed which included modifying the entrance to the fish ladder and replacing all the ladder's baffles and racks. No formal portage path had existed prior to this project which left boaters at the site to navigate around or over the ladder. Erosion caused in part by this foot traffic was beginning to undermine the footings of the concrete ladder. With an engineered path installed and a fence to keep the public off the ladder, all involved thought the project was complete. Unfortunately Mother Nature had other plans.
Mere days after the December 2008 repair was completed and before any vegetation could be established, a 10 year rain event occurred which inundated the entire site. So fierce were the flows that the ladder itself was totally submerged underwater. The Pawcatuck River knocked down the fence, washed away the fresh topsoil, and destabilized the path. Thankfully there was no ill effect on the ladder improvements but the portage path setback sent WPWA back to the drawing and fundraising table.
A design more respectful of the river's power was created by WPWA and funding was secured from the USDA's NRCS and the US Fish & Wildlife Service to implement the new portage plan. The recent work included bordering (or armoring as we call it) the path with large boulders and crushed stone and replacing the fence with grating that covers the entire ladder and prevents anyone from accidentally falling into the workings of the ladder.
Instead of working against Mother Nature, we are now working with her. Over the coming years we expect her to flood the site again and bring in sediment that will serve as the catalyst for natural vegetation to once again cover the site. But underneath that vegetation will be a stable engineered path built to withstand even the most extreme flooding events. The next time you're portaging around the Bradford Dam, WPWA hopes you'll never know we were there!
Our goal is to provide you safe public access to our rivers by implementing projects that appear to be as all natural as possible. We hope these photos will help give you a better understanding of the project and we will bring you more photos and information over the coming weeks when the project is 100% complete. So keep close tabs on this blog and your local newspaper! See the latest newspaper article on WPWA’s press page.
Upper Pawcatuck River Fish Passage Restoration Project
by Christopher J. Fox, WPWA Executive Director
Upper Pawcatuck River Fish Passage Restoration Project was awarded funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to support Rhode Island river ecosystem restoration efforts in the Pawcatuck and Ten Mile Rivers. The grant, administered through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, was awarded to the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (RICRMC) and will allow Wood Pawcatuck Watershed Association (WPWA) and its partners to complete construction at the Lower Shannock Falls and the design and construction activities at the remaining two upstream barriers at Horseshoe Falls and Kenyon Mill Dam.
Restoring Diadromous Fish to the Pawcatuck River: WPWA is working with local, state, federal, and private partners to provide fish passage and restore the river to more natural conditions in the upper Pawcatuck River and its watershed. Completion of the project will allow river herring and other migratory fish (e.g., American shad, American eel, and brook trout) access to spawning and rearing habitat in the upper Pawcatuck, Beaver, and Usquepaug Rivers, as well as the glacial lake that is Worden Pond.
In 2007, the engineering firm of Milone and MacBroom, Inc., completed a fish passage feasibility study to consider fish passage alternatives at the Lower Shannock Falls, Horseshoe Falls, and Kenyon Mill dams. Following this extensive study, removal of the Lower Shannock Falls Dam and Kenyon Mill Dam was recommended by the firm, and construction of a Denil fish ladder at the Horseshoe Falls Dam was recommended due to its historic and aesthetic significance. WPWA is currently working to implement dam removal at the Lower Shannock Falls Dam in mid 2010 and is preparing to initiate design at the remaining two barriers.
Project Benefits: Fish passage in the upper Pawcatuck will restore the river to a more natural condition by,
- Allowing migratory fish access to approximately 1300 acres of upstream spawning and nursery habitat within the upper Pawcatuck watershed, including Worden Pond valuable for alewife spawning.
- Increasing food supply for many recreational and commercial fish species, including striped bass, bluefish, and summer flounder
- Restoring river connectivity for resident fish, wildlife, and people
- Restoring a more natural floodplain and riparian (riverbank) habitat
- Providing additional flood storage area
- Improving recreational fishing, boating and wildlife viewing opportunities on the river
- Removing financial burdens and liability for dam owners (in the case of removal)
- Contributing to maintaining or creating jobs through engineering, design, and project implementation
- Pawcatuck River Fish Passage Restoration (PDF format) (1441kb)
- Fish Passage from a Fish's Perspective (PDF format) (5696 kb)
Lower Shannock Falls Removal: WPWA is partnering with the Town of Richmond to remove this degraded dam in Shannock Village. Following removal (scheduled for summer 2010), Richmond will construct the Knowles Mill public park bordering the dam removal site. The park will provide various recreational opportunities including fishing and boating access in addition to memorializing the history of the site with interpretive signs.
Horseshoe Falls Fishway: WPWA has entered into a contract with the engineering firm of Fuss & O’Neill to complete design and construction of a structural fish ladder at the Horseshoe Falls Dam. Conceptual plans include a Denil fish ladder on the southeast side of the river with a façade that will blend with the beauty of this regionally recognized dam. Potential dam repair will be evaluated during design and the project is supported by the dam’s owner.
Kenyon Mill Dam Removal: WPWA is preparing to enter into a contract with an engineering firm to complete design and construction of a dam removal project at the Kenyon Mill Dam. WPWA is thoroughly investigating any potential impacts to the project site and associated upstream and downstream water resources before selecting a final design. The dam is owned by Kenyon Industries who are in support of the project. The preferred project design for the Kenyon Mill Dam removal will result in no significant negative effects on upstream water resources, including Worden Pond, or the fish and wildlife that rely on it. Additional alternatives, including a rock ramp or other river channel modifications, will be evaluated as necessary. Specifically, WPWA and its partners are investigating potential effects on:
- Upstream water resources, including wetland resources and Worden Pond
- Rare, threatened, or endangered plants or animals
- Historic resources
- Private and municipal wells
- River flow rates
- Fire suppression needs (in coordination with Kenyon Industries, the Richmond-Carolina and Charlestown Fire Departments)
- Recreational impacts and benefits
Partnership Effort: The overall project is a collaborative effort between local, state, federal and private agencies, including:
Please direct any project questions to Chris Fox, Executive Director, Wood Pawcatuck Watershed Association at
(401)539-9017 or firstname.lastname@example.org.