OAR's programs combine the organization and planning
of OAR's small staff with the efforts and talents of its members.
A commitment to maintaining and improving the Assabet's
ecological and recreational value drives all of OAR's activities.
OAR prides itself on its numerous accomplishments
and invites you to take part.
Read about OAR's continuing programs or find out
what events are upcoming.
Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring
In 1992 OAR volunteers started a summer water
quality testing program on the mainstem Assabet River - and they've
been out there every summer since. While the methods have changed
over the years, the program's goals have remained the same. To:
- understand long-term trends in the river's
condition; · provide sound scientific information to evaluate
regulatory decisions affecting the river;
- identify problem spots; and
- promote stewardship of the river.
these goals, the last is perhaps the most important. Once you've
been out on the river in the quiet of a Saturday morning, watching
the sun rise, the fish jump, and the duckweed swirling gently in the
current, you start to appreciate the beauty of this river and care
about its survival as a habitat and a resource. And it is people
caring about the river that will ultimately bring about the
political will to make the changes needed to protect the river. (Volunteer
to be a StreamWatcher).
1992 - 2001: read more about OAR's water
quality monitoring program and findings.
2002 onward: this year OAR's program forms
the water quality monitoring portion of StreamWatch.
Annual River Cleanup
|For more info about the recent
river clean up click
Shopping carts. Refrigerators. Rusted firearms.
A Volkswagen. Tons of tires. These are just a few of the many treasures
(?) we’ve pulled out of the Assabet over the years. OAR has sponsored
an annual cleanup
of the Assabet since 1986, and we’re proud of the mountain of junk
we’ve collected from the river (and sent off for disposal in more
appropriate locations!). This popular event drew nearly 200 volunteers in
2001! So plan on joining
us at one of our many sites along the river on September 14, 2002 - and enjoy a pizza lunch afterwards, courtesy of many area
Wastewater treatment plant permits. Large water
withdrawals. Large planned developments in environmentally sensitive
areas. Toxic waste sites. These are just a few of the kinds of issues
we’ve spoken out on recently. OAR’s advocacy work, carried out under
the direction of Policy Director Sue Beede, seeks to improve the
river's water quality and protect its flow in order to enhance the
river's wildlife and recreational value.
OAR analyzes and comments on planned projects and developments,
with the goal of insuring that these projects do not harm the river. OAR has also advocated for a Total Maximum Daily Load
(TMDL) analysis of the Assabet, and various other scientific studies
to determine the river’s carrying capacity for nutrients, and the
flow required to support its wildlife population and recreational
uses. All our advocacy supports our vision of a clean, healthy Assabet
Public Outreach and Education
OAR holds member meetings twice a year, with invited
guest speakers. Recent topics have included a breathtaking slide
show of wildlife in the Assabet headwaters; a historical slide show
of the Assabet in Maynard and Stow; a presentation on biodiversity
in Concord and Lincoln; a slide show about the new Assabet National
Wildlife Refuge; and a presentation about environmental zoning. Recent
speakers have included naturalists, historians, authors, a Wildlife
Refuge manager, a photographer, the Executive Director of the Charles River Watershed
Association, and MA Environmental Affairs Secretary Bob Durand.
Meetings are free and open to the public. The
Spring 2002 meeting will feature the fish of the Assabet River.
Recent programs include an Assabet River photo
contest, a series of four nutrient workshops for municipal
officials, and a nutrient outreach program.
Over the next two years, OAR will be working on StreamWatch,
to assess the major Assabet tributaries for native fish habitat,
monitor their flow, and communicate the results to the public. As
part of this program, OAR will partner with the Mass. Audubon
Society in April 2002 to offer two water
conservation workshops for landowners in the upper watershed.
This year, OAR is also sponsoring a shoreline
survey in the town of Northborough.
OAR staff and volunteers speak at local
schools and civic organizations’ meetings about the river and
OAR's programs to protect and preserve it.
|For more about recreation on the
Assabet click here
OAR sponsors Assabet River canoe and kayak trips
during the warmer months. This year OAR will offer a "RiverQuest"
as part of the Assabet, Sudbury, and Concord Riverfest on June 1st.
We are also bring back several popular outings including a wild
edible plant walk with Russ Cohen, and the River Solstice
As part of OAR’s efforts to "get the green out"
of the Assabet, OAR conducted a "nutrient outreach project" in
2000 and 2001, directed at everyone living in the watershed.
municipal partners (Maynard, Hudson, Westborough, Shrewsbury, Northborough,
and Marlborough), and the Middlesex Conservation District (in the
spring), OAR sponsored town-wide mailings asking people
to switch to non-phosphate automatic dishwashing detergent, refrain
from over-fertilizing their lawns, and clean up after their pets.
OAR also designed and disseminated brochures and displays on this
Learn more about the nutrient
Regional and State River Conservation
OAR is an active participant in a much larger community
of people working to protect land and rivers regionally, and statewide.
OAR staff and volunteers serve on the SuAsCo Wild and Scenic River
Stewardship Council, the state’s Watershed Team, the SuAsCo Community
Council, the Environmental League of Massachusetts, the MA Watershed
Technology Consortium, and the MA Watershed Coalition. OAR staff
and volunteers also serve as advisors on the Assabet Consortium
and on numerous municipal wastewater treatment planning advisory