From 2010-2018 the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association and its partners had been working to get federal recognition of the Outstandingly Remarkable Values of seven rivers in southeastern New England – the Beaver, Chipuxet, Green Falls, Pawcatuck, Queen, Shunock, and Wood Rivers. These amazing rivers offer exceptional recreational opportunities for paddlers, birders, fisherman, and anyone who enjoys scenic waterways. A grassroots group of environmental organizations and local towns in cooperation with the National Parks Service conducted a three year study. The Wood-Pawcatuck Wild and Scenic Rivers Study Committee was made up of town-appointed representatives from Charlestown, Exeter, Hopkinton, North Kingstown, Richmond, South Kingstown, West Greenwich, and Westerly in RI; and North Stonington, Sterling, Stonington, and Voluntown in CT. The partners were Save The Bay, The Nature Conservancy, Audubon Society of Rhode Island, RI Natural History Survey, RI Department of Environmental Management, and CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. During this study the committee documented and reported on the values of these seven rivers, achieving the goal of having these rivers included in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
The Study Committee was responsible for answering two questions:
- What is special about the rivers (identify their Outstandingly Remarkable Values)?
- How are we going to protect the rivers’ values?
In order to do this the Study Committee created the Wood-Pawcatuck Wild and Scenic Rivers Stewardship Plan. This plan documents the values of the rivers and identifies the protections already in place for these values. In addition it has a suggested actions to help protect and improve the values for future generations.
On Tuesday, June 5, 2018 the Study Committee voted to adopt the final version of the Wild and Scenic Stewardship Plan . This version incorporates all the comments received from the twelve towns and two state agencies. Appendix A is the Planning Summary, a report by Mason and Associates, Inc. that is a comprehensive list of the Federal, State, Municipal, and Tribal Plans, Ordinances, and Regulations that relate to the protection of the Outstandingly Remarkable Values of the Rivers. In 2018, all twelve participating towns, RI DEM and CT DEEP enthusiastically voted to adopt the Stewardship Plan. On March 12, 2019 the communities goal was accomplished, these seven rivers are formally designated as Wood-Pawcatuck Wild and Scenic Rivers.
Wood-Pawcatuck Wild and Scenic Rivers Stewardship Council
203 Arcadia Road
Hope Valley, RI 02832
Wild and Scenic Rivers Coordinator: WPWildRivers@wpwa.org