The major ecological threats currently influencing the region include:
Unfortunately the PIE-Rivers region is under significant stresses that threaten to undermine the long-term ecological integrity of the system. Substantial portions of the watersheds suffer from severe water losses that dry up the rivers causing fish kills and other environmental damage. Development in the watersheds increases polluted runoff and has fragmented some important wildlife habitats and natural areas. We are already experiencing some of the predicted effects of global climate change, including more intense storms, hot and sometimes dry summers, coastal erosion, and rising sea level.
The migratory fisheries (including rainbow smelt, river herring, and American shad) are experiencing significant population declines and native freshwater fish populations are severely impacted. The Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program has documented vulnerable and rare plant communities, as well as rare plant and animal species, in the project area.