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Organization for the Assabet River
Damonmill Square
Concord, MA 01742

Tel: 978-369-3956
Email: oar@assabetriver.org


OAR Programs

OAR members and friends unload canoes filled with trash by the Assabet's steep banks in Maynard during the the 12th Annual Cleanup in 1998.
On this page

Water Quality
Annual River Cleanup
River Advocacy
Outreach & Education
River Recreation
Nutrient Outreach
Regional Conservation

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.

Of 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 here

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 pizza parlors.


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 River.

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

River Recreation

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 celebration.

Nutrient Outreach

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.

Working with 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 topic.

Learn more about the nutrient outreach program.


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 councils.


Join OAR...

Sun, Feb 9, 2003