October Nutrient and Bacteria Data

The nitrate, total phosphorus and fecal coliform results for October have been added to the website’s 2017 monitoring results tracking table.

The nitrate and TP results are the results we watch most closely because these nutrients promote algae and undesirable weed growth adversely affecting water quality and the diversity of aquatic life that can thrive within our watershed. Better water quality equals more aquatic and wildlife diversity and more recreation opportunity on and along our waterways. In other words these are the water quality metrics we want to see improve by better wastewater treatment, improved stormwater management, better fertilizer … Continue reading

MASS RIVERS, TRWA AND EIGHT OTHER GROUPS SUE EPA OVER STORMWATER DELAY

On September 25th The Massachusetts Rivers Alliance, Taunton River Watershed Alliance (TRWA), and eight other watershed groups from across the state filed suit in Boston’s federal district court asking the court to vacate EPA’s one-year delay in implementing the state’s new stormwater permit.  Joining Mass Rivers and TRWA were watershed groups representing the Connecticut; Mystic; Merrimack; Ipswich; North and South; Jones; Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord; and Neponset Rivers.

“Stormwater is the state’s number one pollution problem,” said Mass Rivers Executive Director Julia Blatt, “and this permit is a product of extensive public input as well as eight long years of … Continue reading

August Nutrient Samples In – All Locations Sampled

The August nitrate, total phosphorus, and fecal coliform sampling results have been added to our tracking table and the Water Quality Monitoring Program page of the website.

The results for nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) the pollutants that cause algae blooms and excess aquatic weed growth are worse (higher) than last month. Nitrogen in particular is many times higher than any reasonable instream water quality criterion would allow and many times our nitrate target for concern. Algae blooms and excessive plant growth is currently evident throughout the watershed.

This underscores the need for the wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in the … Continue reading

July Sampling Results In

The July sampling results are in and available at the Water Quality Monitoring Tab above (click on the sample bottles picture on the monitoring program home page).  While not as bad as last year’s dry year we are seeing nitrate values 2 to 3 times the water quality target value of 0.4 mg/l.  This underscores the need for wastewater treatment plants to continue with their programs to upgrade the plants to remove nitrogen and for municipalities, state agencies, and the public to identify ways to control nonpoint (a.k.a. non-wastewater treatment plant) sources of nitrogen.

TRWA Sampling Volunteers Score Another Complete Data Set For May

The TRWA Sampling Volunteers collected another complete data set from all 19 monitoring locations in May.  The results to date for 2017 as well as last year’s results may be found on the Water Quality Monitoring tab.  

Spring due to cold water and high flows generally is the time of year with the highest water quality.  In May the rivers exceeded the nitrate level of concern by a small amount at three locations and a more significant amount at the Matfield River location.  The fact that high flows didn’t cause bacteria problems is very good news reflecting favorably on … Continue reading

TRWA Monthly Volunteer Sampling Began April 11th

On Tuesday April 11th TRWA began the 2017 sampling season. Almost 30 trained volunteers sampled all 19 watershed sampling locations. Despite seasonal high flows and dilution we found elevated nitrogen levels at seven locations in April although levels were substantially lower than the peaks measured during last summer’s drought.  To see our sampling results for 2017 and 2016 click on the Water Quality Monitoring tab at the top of the home page and then the picture of the sample bottles.

The Taunton River carries a high percentage of treated wastewater during the summer. Water quality and aquatic life diversity has … Continue reading

2016 Water Quality Report Card Issued

TRWA issued its 2016 Water Quality Report Card. TRWA monitors 19 locations along the Taunton River and its tributaries. A major concern for the watershed is nutrient pollution from nitrogen. Nitrogen levels in the main stem are often 2-5 times recommended levels and much higher in tributary streams. High nutrient levels fuel algae and rooted aquatic plant blooms limiting biodiversity in the watershed. Currently about 66% of the nitrogen load comes from wastewater treatment plants which are being required to upgrade to remove excessive nitrogen loads from their discharges over the next five years.

Adult Sea Lamprey Sighting on the Nemasket

This past May, a dead adult sea lamprey was observed at Oliver Mill Park in Middleborough. The fish had migrated up the river to spawn on the Nemasket and having completed its life cycle, died and was washed up on the banks. It was 30” long.

sea_lamprey_01

There are two lamprey species native to Massachusetts waters, the American Brook Lampry (Lethenteron appendix) (which is a threatened population in the state) and the Sea Lamprey (Petromyzon marinus).

The fellow found … Continue reading