Taunton watershed map
The Taunton River Watershed is the second largest watershed in the state at 562 square miles and contains 94 square miles of wetlands and 221 lakes or ponds. 700,000 people call the watershed home.

The Hockomock Swamp, at 12 square miles, is the largest wetland in Massachusetts. The Assawompset Pond Complex (APC) - including Long Pond, the largest natural pond in the state - is in the watershed. The APC is a part of the Southeastern Massachusetts BioReserve. This area provides nesting habitat for the bald eagle, spawning grounds for river herring, and water that is provided to over 150,000 residents.

The Taunton River, the first Heritage River in the state, starts in the Town of Bridgewater and receives discharge waters from 18 river systems as it courses through ten communities before ending at the State of Rhode Island's Mount Hope Bay, which is part of Narragansett Bay. Tidal influences reach 18.0 miles inland and a salt-water intrusion reaches 12.6 miles inland, providing unique habitat for fresh and salt-water aquatic, terrestrial, and biological species. The river systems support the most productive river herring spawning grounds in the Commonwealth.

Watershed Priorities

  • Scenic Taunton River view
    Provide each municipality with a Taunton River Watershed sign, installed by the local highway department, for display within their community
  • Re-establish anadromous fish runs for two communities on the Three Mile River and Fall Brook at Massasoit State Park, along with providing educational anadromous fish signage for five communities
  • Hold public forums on the economic value of purchasing lands to control municipal budgets, the introduction of desalinized waters versus extension of the MWRA drinking water system to watershed communities, and development of a land purchase priority system
  • Provide maps to 22 watershed communities that show the location(s) of undeveloped groundwater resources and existing community zoning
  • Develop a Quality Assurance Program Plan for obtaining water quality and flow data from the 25 sub-watersheds

Watershed Success

Two Source Water Assessment Grants have been developed. These grants address water resource and environmental issues for the Robbins Pond sub-watershed on behalf of the Towns of Halifax and Hanson and the City of Brockton. These grants also address issues in the Nemasket River sub-watershed on behalf of the Cities of Taunton and New Bedford and the Town of Middleboro.

Watershed Links

Taunton River Watershed Alliance
Wildlands Trust of Southeastern MA
Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences
Upper Taunton River Wild and Scenic River Study

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