Text Box: Topics of interest:
Collect baseline data
Arrange a task-group with agencies, and local 
Develop watershed priorities using  public stakeholder input
Begin implementation
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Text Box: Restore, Protect, Conserve
Developing a Watershed Plan and Dam Restoration Strategy for the
Woonasquatucket River Watershed
    Breakwater Preservation Conservancy (BPC) is a nonprofit historic mill operator and an active environmental stakeholder within the Woonasquatucket Watershed.  BPC aims to produce a combined Woonasquatucket Watershed Plan (WWP) and Dam Restoration Strategy (DRS) for the Woonasquatucket River Watershed.  A watershed plan is a way to initiate environmental restoration projects along the Woonasquatucket River, across multiple towns and multiple landowners.  BPC’s proposed WWP integrates seven municipalities, numerous regulators and public stakeholders, to preserve natural resources and cultural assets.

    Within a timeline guided process, the WWP is developed interactively; by means of collecting current data on the watershed along with regulatory input from state and federal agencies, then reporting the condition of the watershed to each of the seven municipalities in a public format.  Stakeholder input is collected in each town and watershed priorities are established.  Finally, an implementation strategy is designed to meet specific environmental targets and over time environmental accomplishments are monitored and assessed.

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allocates specific resources for the development of watershed plans and supports adopting a watershed approach to community environmental planning.  The watershed approach looks at a specific watershed basin because each basin serves as an ecosystem independent of one another.  Each watershed possesses certain characteristics, such as hydrology, that are most closely associated with other points within that watershed.  Regional climate and ecological conditions all exist within a watershed; though frequently there are several types of different habitat within a single watershed.

    Watersheds do not overlap and water from one watershed will never run into an adjacent watershed.  The river acts as an ecological catch-basin for the entire watershed basin’s area; in this fashion, the river water receives pollution from sources throughout the watershed, which wind up in the river before discharging into the ocean.  A watershed plan is different from simply monitoring specific waterbodies and resulting pollution abatement strategies because it addresses the problems arising within the watershed in a holistic manner and also it incorporates active stakeholder involvement in prioritizing concerns and in selecting management.

    There’s two parts to the BPC proposal: the WWP is specifically tailored for environmental and public access outcomes; to preserve habitat, wildlife, clean water and make public access and recreational enjoyment possible.  The second element to the BPC proposal is the DRS; which is a plan to repair, replace, or remove existing dams along the river.  Dams must be evaluated on a case by case basis and evaluations must systematically address each dam on the river.  It is my prediction that we will be keeping some dams, albeit, they must be repaired and updated; while other dams will be removed.  Dams that are kept can be controlled in sync with one another as a way to control flooding in Providence.
Text Box: BPC Homepage
Text Box: January 31, 2019

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