The River and Other Ecosystems Are Connected
How land and how water is treated in the watershed has much to do with the water quality of the river. A vegetated watershed acts as a sponge, absorbing water during storms then filtering and releasing it slowly into the river. The upper Blackstone has a largely urban watershed, so large amounts of heated, polluted water are piped directly into the river with no filtration. Major sources of pollution include runoff from roads and construction sites, lawn fertilizers and failed septic systems. These sources of pollutants are widespread, making it difficult to control them. Natural wetlands and constructed wetlands are our best tools for improving these waters.
Here we have created wetland from an upland area. By removing soil, we provide storage capacity for water during high water to reduce risks of downstream flooding. Native wetland plant species have been added in an effort to make this area function in the same manner as the abutting wetlands. Riverine wetlands provide habitat for numerous animals and benefit water quality by absorbing toxic substances and taking up nutrients that would otherwise cause blooms of algae.