What is a Watershed?
- A watershed is the area of land that drains into a body of water, like a river, pond, harbor or lake.
- A watershed is sometimes referred to as a “river basin,” a “river valley,” or a “drainage basin.”
- A watershed might contain a variety of landscapes, ecosystems, and man-made structures. They come in all sizes and may contain multiple towns, just a few houses, or none at all!
A watershed could include forests – parking lots – mountains – wetlands – hills – streams – apartment complexes – ponds – cities – lakes – businesses – towns – landfills – state parks.
Where is the Neponset River Watershed?
- The River starts in Foxborough, near Gillette Stadium, and ends in Dorchester/Quincy, near the “Rainbow Swash” gas tank by I-93.
- The Neponset River runs for 30 miles through the middle of the watershed.
- Roughly 300,000 people live in the watershed.
Because the Neponset River ultimately flows into Boston Harbor, the Watershed is itself a part of the larger Boston Harbor Watershed, along with the Mystic River Watershed to the north of Boston, the Charles River Watershed to the west of Boston and the Weymouth-Weir River Watershed, which, like the Neponset River Watershed, originates south of Boston.
The Watershed includes parts of 14 cities and towns:
- Hyde Park
Watersheds are “communities connected by water.” Everybody in each community is affected by the water use and water quality of their neighbors.
Currently, the Neponset Watershed suffers from:
- contaminants in both river-bottom sediments and the fish that come into contact with them
- very low water levels during the summer
- obsolete dams that obstruct fish migrations
- high levels of salt from winter road maintenance
- filled wetlands
- exotic, invasive species
What the Neponset River Watershed Association is doing to address these problems:
- strengthening policy to protect the natural resources of the watershed,
- commenting on development proposals to permit better water recharge for our river and underground water supplies,
- boosting towns’ water-efficiency through school programs
- offering rebates for water-efficient appliances,
- managing a water-quality monitoring program (CWMN),
- planning for the construction of stormwater treatment structures,
- guiding abutters’ yard maintenance around a pond,
- releasing biocontrol insects into wetlands to control exotic, invasive plants.