River Restoration: Streamflow

The Division of Ecological Restoration (DER) works to restore healthy streamflows.

Streamflow is critical to aquatic health. The amount of water that flows through streams and rivers changes naturally throughout the year. This variability in streamflow ensures a variety of physical habitats form within and along a river. For example, spring floods give fish critical access to floodplain wetlands. Moderately high flows move sediment, seeds, and other organic materials through the system. And low flows allow plant species to grow in areas that would otherwise be covered in water. The natural timing of high or low flows also cue many species to make important life cycle transitions, for example, they may trigger fish to spawn or migrate.

Many Massachusetts rivers lack enough water at certain times of year to support aquatic ecosystems, fishing and recreation. DER works to restore natural streamflow. We do this by working with partners to collect high quality streamflow data; to inform and support policy and actions that restore and maintain healthy streamflows; and by managing Priority Projects aimed at restoring natural flow.

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