The Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Division of Water Supply Protection, Office of Watershed Management (DCR-Watershed) manages approximately 25,000 acres in the Ware River watershed, encompassing the towns of Barre, Hubbardston, Oakham, Phillipston, Princeton, Rutland, and Templeton. Click here to see a map of the Ware River Watershed . This land is part of the unfiltered public drinking water supply system that provides high quality drinking water to over 2.5 million people in 50 Massachusetts communities, including several in the central part of the state.
While DCR-Watershed manages this watershed primarily for water quality protection, drinking water supply, and environmental resource protection purposes, these vast areas are also used by the public for recreation. The Public Access Management Plan is a tool used by DCR-Watershed to meet Federal and State regulations that require proper management and adequate control of public access and recreation on these water supply lands. DCR-Watershed has begun the process to update the 2000 Ware River Watershed Public Access Plan.
The Ware River Watershed
Often overshadowed by the Quabbin and Wachusett Reservoirs, the Ware River watershed is an important piece of the drinking water supply for Greater Boston and the Chicopee Valley. Located between the Quabbin and Wachusett Reservoirs, this is the land and water which drain to the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority’s diversion facility on the Ware River in Barre and then travels underground through the Quabbin Aqueduct to either the Quabbin or Wachusett Reservoir.
Approximately 23,000 acres of land were initially taken by the state in the 1930s to protect the watershed area in conjunction with the work in the Swift River Valley that created Quabbin Reservoir. West Rutland Village, Coldbrook Springs in Oakham, and White Valley in Barre were cleared of all farms, factories and homes, along with Rutland State Prison. In all, 350 homes and businesses were displaced.
Public Survey and Input
The Ware River Watershed Advisory Committee, a legislatively mandated advisory group, has been asked to be part of the early update work as well as one of the major liaisons between the public and DCR-Watershed.
DCR, with input from Ware River Watershed Advisory Committee, conducted a survey throughout the first half of 2009 to help determine the public’s knowledge, opinions, and suggestions related to the rules and regulations concerning Office of Watershed Management lands in the Ware River watershed. Ware River Watershed Public Access Management Plan Survey Project
If you would like to contact DCR-Watershed on issues concerning the 2009 Ware River Watershed Public Access Plan Update, please call (413) 323-6921 x306 or send an email to: email@example.com.