Document Type


Publication Date



The Taunton River Watershed Study held four successful public meetings in November 2007 to engage the public and listen to the watershed issues that the residents, businesses and municipalities affected, identified as most pressing in the Taunton watershed. Meetings were held on:

  • November 5 (Bridgewater State College),
  • November 8 (Southeastern Regional High School, S. Easton) and
  • November 13 (two meetings, Bristol County Agricultural High School, Dighton).

Horsley Witten Group presented a Powerpoint presentation and provided several handouts to guide the discussion. Participants were asked to join in small group discussions to identify the most important issues facing the watershed, ranging from wastewater to low flow issues in the Taunton River tributaries to education of the municipal boards and staff. The issues that rose to the top in these discussions were:

  • The level of public education and training for municipal boards, commission and commissions;
  • The level of general public education and outreach on environmental issues;
  • The amount of habitat, wetlands, and open space being protected;
  • The extent of inappropriate development; and
  • Water quantity, flow and quality in the rivers, lakes and streams in the Taunton watershed.

The need for education of both the general public and municipal officials on these issues was the overwhelming priority concern at these meetings, and even if this was not identified by a discussion group as the top priority, it came up in discussions as a problem area, and a potential solution for other priority concerns.

Once the full list of issues was identified, attendees discussed potential solutions to address those issues. Solutions included:


  • Mandatory training for local officials
  • Outreach efforts using PSAs on radio and town websites
  • Use a positive message
  • Use good science as a basis for education and awareness
  • Reach kids in high school and younger: science fairs, scouting troops
  • Organize an umbrella educational organization, similar to DEP Wetlands Circuit Rider program, to reach all communities
  • Get people out to experience the river, solicit corporate sponsors and adopt a wetland program

Extent of Inappropriate Development and Habitat Protection:

  • Improve local regulations
  • Improve local enforcement
  • Improve education and training for officials

Water quality and flow in rivers, streams and lakes:

  • Improve aquifer recharge using LID and Smart Growth techniques
  • LID retrofits
  • Find illicit connections in the stormwater system
  • Limit “effective imperviousness” into the NPDES Phase II permits
  • Improve Water Management Act permitting process
  • Provide education and outreach about outdoor water use

Materials from the meetings include:

  • Meeting Announcement
  • Taunton River Watershed Study Public Meeting Presentation
  • Priority of Concerns Worksheet
  • Management Plan Figure
  • Taunton River Watershed Reference Map1
  • Taunton River Water Budget
  • Issues identified by groups in the four meetings