In Worcester, you can find over 20 lakes and ponds that support a variety of recreational activities, including bird watching, walking, swimming, fishing and boating. 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 works with the Commonwealth, watershed groups and other local organization so identify and remediate threats to the quality of our lakes and ponds. We monitor water quality parameters in four of our biggest lakes, work with local scientists and universities to understand the data, create management plans and host educational workshops to help residents better understand the threats to our water quality, and learn how they can improve it.
The annual State of the Lakes presentation will take place on Wednesday February 22, 2023 at 6:15 p.m. live and in person at the Worcester Senior Center. Come and learn about water quality and the exciting initiatives taking place at your local lakes and ponds. Free and open to the public.
The City of Worcester Department of Inspectional Services has lifted the health advisory on Lake Quinsigamond following the sewer overflow on February 6 (Read Press Release). The Lakes and Ponds Program is monitoring water quality for short and long term effects on water quality throughout the lake. Read the Water Quality Monitoring Report.
The Lakes and Ponds Program shares its water quality monitoring data and accomplishments in 2021 at the February 24th event "State of the Lakes: How our Blue Spaces can make Worcester a More Sustainable City".
Fish are important parts of the aquatic ecosystem, both affecting and impacted by water quality. Over time, fish populations have shifted in our local lakes and ponds. The following is a report that compiles available data on how and why these changes have occurred, synthesizing years of data by MassWildlife, local water quality data and surveys by resident anglers to track how fish populations have shifted, where they are now and why. Below is also a presentation that includes a summary of the report's findings, as well as the steps the Lakes and Ponds Program is taking to make sure our fisheries thrive.
The Angler Event Series is an ongoing series of events to highlight the connections between healthy waters and healthy fisheries, celebrate and share the unique fishing opportunities Worcester has to offer and bring the sport of fishing to more people. The series is a collaboration between Tatnuck Brook, Indian Lake and Lake Quinsigamond Watershed Associations, as well as other state and local entities. Check out upcoming and past events at WooAnglerSeries.com.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health issues guidance on the consumption of fish from our freshwater resources.
Worcester's industrial history, as well as 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 to our lakes and ponds. An overabundance of nutrients promote the growth of algae and aquatic plants, which, in excess, can degrade the quality of water, lead to aquatic life dying and difficulty swimming, boating and fishing.
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 sanitary sewers illegally connected to the storm water system can also contribute to the problem.
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. These plants can rapidly reproduce and be difficult to eradicate.
Worcester's situation is not unique in the region, and is common to most urban areas. The City has 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.
Watch these videos to learn more about the health, safety and beauty of our lakes and ponds in Worcester.
October 13, 2022
Blue Space Minute - Boat Cleaning Stations
June 27, 2022
Blue Space Minute - Water Chestnut
March 11, 2022
Blue Space Minute - Litter at Bell Pond
February 24, 2022
The State of the Lakes 2022
February 9, 2022
Blue Space Angler Series 2021 - Introduction to Ice Fishing
January 20, 2022
Blue Space Report - 2021 Cyanobacteria in Worcester
July 19, 2021
Blue Space Angler Series 2021 - Worcester Area Wild Trout Fisheries
June 17, 2021
Blue Space Angler Series 2021 - Tangled in the Weeds
May 5, 2021
Blue Space Angler Series 2021 - The Biology of Fly Fishing
April 27, 2021
Blue Space Angler Event Series 2021 - Nutrient Management, Cyanobacteria and Fish Health
April 20, 2021
The State of the Lakes 2021
April 20, 2021
The State of the Lakes 2021: Bell Pond
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:
This park is located at the summit of Bell Hill, also known as Chandler Hill Park. It features Bell Hill Pond, formerly known as Bladder Pond, which was Worcester's first reservoir/water supply in 1845.
The area around Coes Resevoir (commonly referred to as Coes Pond) consists of 20.79 acres and incorporates five properties including the John J. Binienda Memorial Beach, Coes Park, Columbus Park, the former Fenton Parcel and the former Knights of Columbus.
Indian Lake consists of 193 acres and attracts many visitors each year for a variety of recreational activities including boating, swimming, fishing, ice fishing and much more.
Quinsigamond State Park sits on the shore of Lake Quinsigamond. Take a swim in the lake, or enjoy a picnic while watching the boats sail by.
The WCMC is a group of citizen science volunteers that is working to better understand the diversity of algae and cyanobacteria in Worcester's lakes and ponds.
Sustainability & Resilience
City Hall Room 108
455 Main Street
Worcester, MA 01608
By Appointment: Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.