Chicopee watershed map
The Chicopee River Watershed - the largest of the 27 major drainage basins in Massachusetts - drains more than 720 square miles of central Massachusetts before joining the Connecticut River in the City of Chicopee.

It includes all or part of 39 cities and towns and a population of almost 200,000 people (based on 2000 U.S. Census data). The watershed has a drainage area of approximately 720 square miles and includes approximately 135 rivers, 842 miles of brooks and streams, and 170 lakes, ponds, and reservoirs that collectively cover more than 48 square miles. It is comprised of three major river systems: the Swift, Ware, and Quabog Rivers that each drain approximately 200 square miles of land. The three rivers join to form the Chicopee River in the aptly named village of Three Rivers.

The Quabbin Reservoir, which is one of the largest man-made reservoirs in the United States, covers portions of seven towns in the watershed. This magnificent reservoir, named after the Native American chief "Nani-Quaben," whose name translates as "well watered place," is one of the most unique features of the Chicopee River Watershed. Its capacity of 412 billion gallons provides pure, unfiltered drinking water to 2.5 million state residents.

Watershed Priorities

  • Lake and pond protection
  • Stormwater impacts and implementation of new Phase II stormwater regulations
  • Mitigation of combined sewer overflow impacts along the Chicopee River
  • Open space protection
  • Expansion of education and outreach efforts in the watershed

Watershed Success

After securing a grant from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, a partnership was forged with the Chicopee River Watershed Council, the Silvio O. Conte Anadromous Fish Research Center, and Consolidated Edison Energy of Massachusetts to construct the first fish passage facility along the Chicopee River, an eelway to be built at the Dwight Dam in Chicopee. This project represents a major milestone in raising public awareness and interest in the health and integrity of the river.

Looking Ahead


canoeing on the Chicopee River
The coming year is sure to be an active and exciting one in the watershed. New partnerships are being formed all the time, and numerous projects are in process that will provide much-needed data from which future restoration and mitigation efforts can be based. The completion of DEP's Water Quality Assessment Report for the watershed, along with the Comprehensive Watershed Assessment Report will guide much of the activity in the watershed and also paved the way for completion of the first 5-Year Watershed Action Plan for the Chicopee.

Watershed Publications

Watershed Links


This information is provided by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Office of Water Policy