Gathered under a shelter beside the Wood River on a rainy Monday morning, legislators, town officials, environmentalists and outdoor enthusiasts celebrated the designation of the Wood-Pawcatuck watershed as one of the nation’s Wild and Scenic river systems.
The Wood-Pawcatuck is the first river system in Rhode Island to receive the Wild and Scenic designation, which provides access to federal funds to protect the rivers in the 300-square-mile watershed, including the Beaver, Chipuxet, Green Fall-Ashaway, Queen-Usquepaugh, Pawcatuck, Shunock, and Wood rivers. The watershed is also the sole-source drinking water aquifer for thousands of people in southern Rhode Island and Connecticut.
The product of successful long-term, cross-border collaboration, the initiative began 10 years ago and involved the states of Rhode Island and Connecticut, 12 towns, and members of the congressional delegations of Rhode Island and Connecticut.
This post uses excerpts from an April 8 article in The Westerly Sun by Cynthia Drummond. The entire article, with many more details, may be viewed here.