Taunton River Wild and Scenic River Study

April 29, 2004


Present: Nancy, Lou, Bill T., Maryan, Jack, Ray, Jamie, Rachel, Burke, Tim, Francis, Christina, Jasmine, Bob, Bill, Priscilla, Joan, Bill N., Fred SaintOurs


Jim said that we are quickly moving into the time that we will be going to Town Meeting.  We need to get representatives from all towns.  Jim asked if the web page is up to date as part of our outreach. 


I. Approval of Minutes:  March 25 minutes were approved by a unanimous vote.


II.  Events:

In terms of getting the word out for town meetings, we will make a list of upcoming events:


·        May 17th Town Meeting:  community Preservation Act will be considered

·        May 15 Clean up on Johnson’s Pond in conjunction with Firemen’s Fishing Derby;  they will use trash bags – Jim would like to see

·        September –4 or 5th Raynham Pride Day




Fall River

East Taunton

Dighton and Somerset:  Native American Days



TRWA:  June Rivers Month—


Garden Clubs draw people—looking fo speakers.  Ask that Fall Speaker be on Wild and Scenic River be on Somerset


II.I. Fred SaintOurs:  MacroinvertebrateFor last 8 years been doing surveys on streams: documenting insect/invertbrates on our streams. What we find can help us protect river systems.  Fred has surveyed macroinvertebraes in the Winnetuxet and its tributaries for Natural Heritage. 


microivertebrates on small streams.  Insects crustaceans and mollusks.  These spend all or part of life cycle in water.  They depend on running water. Cooler summer temperatures; high DO levels due to turbulence; lower nutrient levels. These are very important ecologically. The species assemblage depends on stream types.

Very few surveys have been done and we don’t know about diversity in the Taunton.  Hot spots are unidentified and therefore unprotected.   Demand for water by humans can hard these species.  DEP has done some random sites and others have been identified by the Living Waters (Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program.)   Other watersheds have done these studies ( Ipswich, Neponset, North River.) 


Human Impacts degrade habitat:  roads, lawns, septic systems and land clearing, transportation, roads, motorboats, pavement and heated runoff, nonpoinnt source pollutants, pesticides and fertilizers, septic systems, increased demand for water, loss of vegetation on banks resulting in a loss of organic material (leaves and branches—base of ecosystem). 


Surveys:  purpose:  documenting diversity and rare species and locate and protect biologically sensitive streams.


How macroinvertbrates can tell you about the health of a river.

If we find a high range of sensitive macroinvertebrates, we know that we have a healthy stream.  We look for diversity:  predators, shredders, grazers.  We look for high richness, low dominance and some rare species.  We also look at the level of human disturbance.  If you find pristine sites, you want to protect land, mitigate drainage and use other techniques.  Each species tells us something about the quality of the stream (range of pollution tolerance) and each has a role in the ecosystem. 



  1. Monitor stream-specialist species
  2. Limit groundwater withdrawal, land clearing and use of chemicals near small spring-fed streams
  3. Involve people to do monitoring; for example, hold events such as our Fourth of July dragonfly counts has been very popular;  these counts can serve as an indicator
  4. Keep records using digital technology.


Answers to Questions:

Other than the Winnetuxet Study, Fred does not know of other surveys in the Taunton.  In general, rivers are only as healthy as its tributaries, so studying tributaries, we learn a great deal about the mainstem.   Because the Taunton is so huge, we would want to scope out the tributaries and turn up sites and rare species that need protection.  We determine location of spring-fed streams by talking with locals.  Bill has farm with lots of spring-fed brooks.  Bob suggested that we do some electroshocking of fish to complement the study. 


Fred is going to do a one-species survey on the Taunton River and could do this on June 12. 



IV.              Budget:

 Bill said that projected revenues committee $316,592 from the Federal Government.  Expenses for projects and salaries and web money, we had $297,815.  Based on projected revenues—two more years of lower—Steve estimated for next fiscal year $55-60,000 of unallocated funds that we could use for projects.  Proposed $49,500.


IV.              Discussion of and votes on potential studies:


  1. Small Tributary Macroinvertebrate Surveys:  $2500

Point Person:  Fred SaintOurs

Volunteers attend to learn about macroinvertebrates.  For the most part, volunteers are excited to do the field work.  They help Fred collect the samples, pick the macros out of the tray and get on-site training.  In the past, Fred has had workshops to show people the macros under the microscopes.  We now have the electronic identification system up and running—picture based  key.  In the end, Fred makes sure that identifications are correct, does the analysis and writes the report.  


Jim said that this project has longer term implications and can plug gaps for the management plan.  Timeline:  All of the work would be completed by the fall.  The species of interest are out in the end of July and end of August.  If people are interested in identifying macros, we could hold a workshop by the end of August or early September.  It would be a way to involve people.  10 or 12 volunteers for each day.  If small tributaries are identified that are connected to Stream Teams, we could involve the Stream Teams.  It could be an effective media event. 

·        Motion to accept this project.

·        Motion seconded

·        Unanimous support for the proposal.


  1. Synthesis of Existing Data for State of the River Report:  $5000

Point Person:  Bob Davis

Bob Davis said that the funds were for the interns.  He was interested in helping with the report.

Discussion:  If part of this is to have a format to put in data in the future—data base development.  This would be set up into the website.  This would integrate existing data as well. 

·        Unanimous support for the proposal


  1. Cultural LandScape Inventory: $15,000

Point Person: Bill Napolitano

We would have a uniform inventory for landscape.  She has $15,000 from DCR and with this money would be able to hire a consultant to do all ten towns.  Four were completed in the pilot project of DEM.  This project will focus on the river corridor.

·        Motion to accept this project

·        Motion seconded

    Timeline:  we could pull out information for our management plan. 



  1. Rotating Tributary Study:  Up to $14,000 contingent upon workplan accompanies proposal

Point Person:  Kevin Curry

The proposal will expand upon the current work of the Bridgewater State College Water Access Staff t continue 2X month monitoring at existing sites; add transducers to existing sites; consider adding a day; add RIFLS and its development of rating curves and calculate nutrient loads for each site per sample day and to document low flow periods.  The proposal includes adding four or five additional sites on other tribs using volunteers. 


Jim recommended that Kevin and Fred coordinate.  Stream Team members could be involved in both projects.  In First Herring Brook, will be doing macro in terms of RIFLS sites.   Priscilla recommended that macro studies should have integrity.   If enough people are trained, they could do macro sampling and take it to Fred for analysis. 


Jamie would like to see a tighter scope of what he is actually going to do.  A condition of this grant is to get a work plan scope of what he is going to do. 



  1. Stream Team Implementation Awards $8,000

Point Person:  Rachel Calabro

To permit Stream Teams to implement their action plans.  Review committee will make recommendations and the committee had the final vote.  Rolling applications.  Lou would like to serve on the committee.  The review committee will help scope out the project.  We could approve as a committee either at meetings or, in absence of meetings, through email.

·        Motion to accept this project

·        Motion seconded

·        Unanimous acceptance


  1. Water Budgets Study: Up to $8000

Point Person: Joan Kimball

Water Budgets study looks at how water being transferred into and out of subwatersheds. Should be a timeline.  It will be a fall project.  Joan withdrew the proposal until the fall. 


G. Stream Team updates:

·        Forge River Stream Team Kiosk:  both sides done.   Get a proposal in quickly.  $500.

·        Middleboro Stream Team received their award

·        May 4th Segreganset and 3 Mile introduction for Stream Teams.  This Stream Team will be done differently.  Nancy is going to have some non-field work options.  She has met with students in the ACEC study.  Are we definitely going to be doing a mainstem on June 12.  Do we need funding for the mainstem.  In the mainstem, we would use probably the Adopt-A-Stream sheets and get all that information.   We would need the documents prepared for that group.  We would need to designate segments of the river.  Bob brought it up at Board Meeting.

Announcements:  May 8 SEMEC Conference.  Lets bring Wild and Scenic information to that conference. 100 people are signed up.   


Jamie suggested that our committee write to the COE encouraging funding for the study to restore—daylighting—the Quequechan. 


Christine asked if the committee taken a position on the L&G project.  The advocacy groups are working on this, but the committee has not. The Park Service authority on the Little River is not as strong as it is on the Taunton itself.  Jamie is looking in to what he can do.   Our next scheduled meeting is on May 27th.  Outreach committee meeting at 6:00.  We will order in pizza.


Meeting adjourned at 9:40 P.M.