French-Quinebaug watershed map
The French & Quinebaug Watersheds and the Quinebaug-Shetucket River Valley form the Thames River Watershed. The watersheds encompass approximately 1,474 square miles of land area, 251 of which occur in Massachusetts, and include all or part of 13 Massachusetts municipalities.

The French River runs for 21 miles, 14 in Massachusetts, while the Quinebaug River stretches about 65 miles, 19 in Massachusetts. The region comprises the "Last Green Valley" in the megalopolis that stretches from Boston to Washington, DC. As glaciers shaped the earth thousands of years ago, they left geologic and hydrologic patterns that have come to characterize the rustic hill country of the French & Quinebaug Watersheds.

Watershed Priorities

  • Continue to support the expansion of the Federal Quinebaug-Shetucket Heritage Corridor
  • Continue to work with the Massachusetts Quinebaug and Shetucket Rivers Valley Heritage Commission in identifying activities important to maintain biodiversity, promote tourism and economic development, and conserve natural resources
  • Work to improve and restore stream corridors throughout the watershed
  • Assess dams within the watershed for safety and structural integrity
  • Improve stormwater management and reduce nonpoint source pollution to local waterways

Watershed Success

French River before spillway in Perryville
A regional network of trails to enhance watershed education and add tourism opportunities to the area was recently completed. The Grand Trunk Trail connects the town centers of Southbridge and Sturbridge. The Grand Trunk Trail Blazers, headed by Ed Calcutt for the last eight years, dedicated the "Ed Calcutt Bridge" on October 2, 2002. This trail was designated as a National Recreational Trail in 2001.

Watershed Links

Quinebaug and Shetucket Rivers Valley National Heritage Corridor


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