On December 6th, 50 PIE-Rivers partners and friends gathered for the partnership’s annual meeting where the 2016 drought was the focus. Held at the Newbury Town Library, the partnership’s meeting brought together non-profit and municipal and state officials and volunteers. Ipswich River Watershed executive director Wayne Castonguay and Parker River Clean Water Association’s past president George Comiskey summarized restoration activities over the past year, reviewing highlights from the 2016 focus areas: land conservation, stormwater education and support, river and stream continuity, and water conservation.
In addition, recognizing the significance of the drought over 2016, three guest presentations reviewed the impact of the drought on 2016 activities and looking ahead to 2017. Gabby Queenan, Policy Specialist at the Massachusetts Rivers Alliance, put our region’s experience in a state-wide context, describing the MA Drought Management Task Force’s actions. A “Drought Warning” declaration, the last step before “Drought Emergency” status, has been in place in the northeast region since August. Gabby also described efforts underway to revise the state’s drought management plan, describing ways that citizens can become engaged in that process.
Adam Kautza, Coldwater Fisheries Project Leader for the MA Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, explored the drought’s effect on fisheries resources across the state, emphasizing that the ecological impact will extend for many years. Michelle Craddock, Watershed Ecologist for the MA Division of Ecological Restoration, took the partnership through a closer look at the streamflow data for the Ipswich and Parker Rivers over the last year, and highlighted how water withdrawals for municipal use overburden scarce resources. Michelle discussed new tools to help influence better water conservation in the region, especially in the summer months.
The Annual Meeting also included a business meeting, led by Hunt Durey, Deputy Director of the MA Division of Ecological Restoration, during which PIE-Rivers partners made recommendations to the partnership’s Steering Committee on priorities for 2017. The Partnership will announce these priorities in the new year.
To view presentations in PDF format, please find the links below: