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 for the Woonasquatucket River Watershed

    Breakwater Preservation Conservancy (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.
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A Note From Breakwater
Preservation Conservancy

    Hello from Breakwater Preservation Conservancy (BPC)!  BPC is an IRS certified 501(c)(3) non-profit located in Rhode Island.  BPC currently operates a mill site in Smithfield, on Stillwater Pond.  BPC acquired Stillwater mill and dam in 2009.  Stillwater mill is the site of 2 distressed stone buildings characteristic of the early American-Industrial Revolution in Rhode Island.  It’s situated on the Woonasquatucket River, about 10 miles outside of Providence.  The entire mill property comprises 26 acres and it contains nearly half a mile of riverfront; as well as a 16-foot tall, quarter-mile long fieldstone dam.

    BPC is currently documenting a conservation easement to hold the land under a land trust.  The Stillwater mill site is an ongoing community project aimed at the renovation of the old mill site and preserving habitat land, in order to: preserve, protect, and interpret resources at Stillwater that exemplify industrial heritage for the benefit of future generations.  The Woonasquatucket Watershed Plan (WWP) has been an effort by BPC co-founder Andrew Bockstael to work towards preserving certain environmental characteristics that make the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Basin a unique and wonderful place.    Continue Reading...


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Text Box: January 31, 2019

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Know Your River! The Woonasquatucket River: Then and Now

    In Rhode Island, there runs the Woonasquatucket River, a 17-mile freshwater river that flows from headwaters in North Smithfield into Rhode Island’s capital city of Providence, where it joins the Moshassuck River to form the Providence River.  The Providence River is an 8-mile-long tidal river that empties into Narragansett Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

    Nationally, the Woonasquatucket River was designated a National Heritage River in 1998.  Its significance dates to the river’s development during the early industrial revolution.  At peak development, the river system was a continuous series of dams, built to power adjacent mill buildings.  In this way, the Woonasquatucket and Blackstone Rivers were once two of the most intensively developed rivers in America.

    In Rhode Island, the Woonasquatucket is a river system with a rich cultural history.  Its early use as a travel route for Native Americans and later colonists predate the mill structures.  As a travel route, three Native American tribes settled in northern RI would walk along the river to get to locations where people could congregate and trade goods.  Early Native American culture would also have fished from the river and used its edges to settle along for protection.

    In Providence, Woonasquatucket River is easily identified as a landmark; as it’s the river that flows underneath the Providence Place Mall.  It’s also a part of the Waterfire lighting; delighting audiences of all ages.  We enjoy this river in many ways: in fishing at Stillwater Pond, in scenic trails and hiking destinations, in birdwatching and photography, in kayaking, in the Woony Bike ride, in conservation events or outings and, of course, in Waterfire festivities.
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