WRRC Projects


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A long term monitoring project to assess the effects of acid precipitation on surface waters in Massachusetts. See article

The UMass Amherst Blackstone River Water Quality Study was initiated in 2004 to develop a watershed management tool for the Blackstone River basin. This effort was funded by the Upper Blackstone Water Pollution Abatement District (UBWPAD) and was conducted with the support of the Cambridge, MA office of Camp Dresser and McKee (CDM), now CDM-Smith.

The study was initiated to enhance the overall understanding of flow and water quality characteristics of the river. The ultimate goal was to develop a tool to evaluate the impacts of waste water treatment plant effluent, the effectiveness of point source control versus non-point source management, and the effectiveness of alternative management strategies on downstream river quality. As part of the study, historical water quality data for the basin was gathered into a database consisting of over 35,000 observations collected by a wide-range of stakeholders.

Additional dry and wet weather monitoring was conducted to supplement available data. While the primary focus of the database is nutrients and dissolved oxygen, it also includes data for chlorophyll, BOD, sediment, bacteria, heavy metals, and physical parameters (temperature, flow, etc.). The Blackstone River Hydrologic Simulation Program-Fortran (HSPF) Water Quality Model was developed for the study.

MassWWP logo

The Massachusetts Water Watch Partnership (MassWWP) provided training and other technical assistance to citizen organizations who conduct water quality monitoring programs on the lakes, rivers, and estuaries of Massachusetts.


arid landscape photo

One of the three 2014 National UCOWR/NIWR/CUAHSI Conference tracks, to provide state-of-the-science concepts and stakeholder input to USDA-NIFA regarding global challenges and opportunities in water-related research, extension programming and education related to food and agriculture. A particular focus will be placed on blue, green and grey water issues related to agriculture.

MASTEP was a "Stormwater Clearinghouse" web site, with a searchable database of verified technical information on stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) to provide information on innovative technologies to BMP users. It was funded by MassDEP until 2014. As it is now out-of-date and no longer funded, we have pulled out the website. We apologize for the inconvenience and suggest looking for similar information in the International Stormwater BMP Database.

The Water Center has collaborated since 2010 with the Center for Educational Software Development, the Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning Department, and the Biology departments of UMass Amherst and UMass Boston on “SeeTrees” project, that uses modern information technology to enhance undergraduate education in field courses focused on plant identification. This is funded under the National Science Foundation’s Transforming Undergraduate Education in STEM (TUES) program.

The Center worked with the Springfield Water and Sewer Commission (SWSC) to provide a better understanding of the overall dynamic sub-watershed yields and water quality loadings to their reservoirs. During the Summer of 2012, UMass assisted SWSC staff with the installation of in-situ sensors at two locations to monitor discharge, temperature and conductivity. This information can be paired with water quality data collected monthly by SWSC staff to determine watershed loadings. We will also be working with SWSC to develop methodologies to infer flow volumes at unmonitored watersheds, based on the continuous data collected at the two in-situ sites. Recommendations for the methodologies, including an overview of their associated strengths and weaknesses, for the SWSC watersheds will be made.

The Water Center is partnering with Trout Unlimited, the USA National Phenology Network and others to develop The River’s Calendar project, a community science program that examines the impacts of climate change on the phenology of our nation’s coldwater riparian areas.

This is a $1.4 million, two-year project to improve the Connecticut River in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont that WRRC is participating in along with the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission with the Connecticut River Joint Commissions, the Franklin Regional Council of Governments, and the US Geological Survey. The project includes:

  • Real-time water quality monitoring with genetic bacteria-source identification,
  • Bioengineering and riparian buffer planting for streambank erosion control,
  • Innovative financing for controlling stormwater and CSOs,
  • Smart growth tools to protect public water supplies, and
  • Low impact development tools to control agricultural runoff.