Skip to content.
HomeE-ServicesCity GovernmentLiving & WorkingDoing Business
You Are Here: Home > City Government > Departments & Divisions > Public Works & Parks > Water/Sewer Operations > Lakes and Ponds

Lakes and Ponds

Worcester is lucky to have a number of lakes and ponds ideal for swimming, boating and fishing. The City recognizes these "blue spaces" as valuable resources, and strives to maintain the quality of these waters for recreational use and the promotion of economic development. Worcester DPW&P works with the Commonwealth, watershed groups and other local organizations to identify and remediate threats to the quality of our lakes and ponds.

This is your resource for information on Worcester's recreational waters. Check back often to see updates on activities and projects, information on water quality improvement initiatives and opportunities to get involved in your watershed.

Worcester's Water Quality Challenges

Worcester's industrial history, as well as more recent urbanization, poses challenges to maintaining the quality of the water in the City's lakes and ponds. Major threats to our waterways include nutrient loading and invasive aquatic plants.

Nutrient loading is the addition of nutrients, mainly nitrogen and phosphorous, to our lakes and ponds. Excessive nutrients promote the growth of algae and aquatic plants, which can degrade the quality of water. Too much algal growth can decrease the oxygen content of water, leading to die offs of aquatic life. In addition, some algae can be harmful to human health. Invasive aquatic plants can crowd out local species and make it difficult to swim, boat or fish in lakes.

Nutrients enter our lakes in several ways. Runoff during rain events can carry nutrient-rich fertilizers and pet and geese waste into storm sewers or tributaries that empty into our lakes. Malfunctioning septic systems can leach nutrients into adjacent waters and homes and businesses misconnected to the storm sewer rather than the sanitary sewer can also contribute to the problem. Lake Quinsigamond and Indian Lake have been categorized by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection as impaired for nutrient loading, meaning that they are at risk for the abovementioned problems.

Invasive aquatic plants are generally introduced by accident. Seeds or pieces of the plant will hitch a ride on a boat trailer, boots or an animal traveling between waterbodies. Once established, these plants can rapidly reproduce and be difficult eradicate. Coes Reservoir, Indian Lake and Lake Quinsigamond are currently struggling with invasive aquatic plants.

A Proactive, Inclusive Approach to Improved Water Quality

Worcester's situation is not unique in the region, and is common to most urban areas. The City wishes to take a proactive approach to caring for and managing these resources. While long term solutions take time to develop and implement, shorter term management techniques can keep our waterbodies safe and open to the public. The City has already taken proactive steps in the reduction of nutrient and sediment inputs into our waterways, as well as in the management of algae and aquatic plants. The City is now working on a longer-term strategy that includes water quality monitoring, research, collaboration with local organizations and public outreach to develop and implement solutions to the abovementioned problems. Continue to check back to this website for updates on the latest projects and informational sessions.

What YOU Can Do to Protect Our Waters

Check back often to learn more about the challenges that our blue spaces are facing, what the City is doing to mitigate them and how you can help!

Links to Watershed Groups

Watershed groups are nonprofit organizations of citizens advocating for our water resources. Check out the below links to learn more about what these organizations are doing to protect our waters:

City Government
© 2017 | Copyright City of Worcester, MA | All Rights Reserved. | Login | Disclaimer | Site Map