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Blackstone River in the News


  • Background History on the River
    "The hardest working river in America," "the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution," "one of the most polluted rivers in America." Learn more about the Blackstone River throughout history and see why it has been called all of the above titles.

  • Blackstone Heritage State Park
    "The Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park recalls the role of canals in transporting raw materials and amanufactured goods between emerging industrial centers. Walk along restored sections of the Blackstone River Canal and Towpath from the River Bend Farm Visitors Center." Activities at the park include: Canoeing, Hiking, Mountain Biking, Scenic View Area, Outreach Programs, and much more.

  • Soon to be a National Park?
    As of right now, the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley is a National Heritage Corridor found in the states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. However, on October 13, 2011, bills were introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate proposing the conversion of the land from a National Heritage Corridor to a National Park. Find out more here.

USGS Monitoring Sites

The USGS maintains current conditions for 3 sites along the Blackstone River.

Blackstone River Coalition (BRC)

The BRC is a group of organizations representing thousands of individuals whose interest is the regeneration of the Blackstone River. The BRC has five main projects that they are currently working on:

  • In Business for the Blackstone. A program offered to small to mid-size companies in the Blackstone River's watershed to be In Business for the Blackstone and work to minimize their company's impact on the watershed, mainly through reducing pollution that can enter the watershed through rain and snowmelt runoff and stormwater. Upon completion of the program, each company is awarded a window decal, certificate, photo, and recognition in press releases to "provide the company with a unique competitive advantage and strengthen its position within the community". 
  • Water Quality Monitoring. The Blackstone River Coalition, the Blackstone Headwaters Coalition, the Blackstone River Watershed Association, and the Blackstone River Watershed Council each sponsor a team of volunteers to monitor the water quality of the Blackstone River.
  • Fishable/Swimmable Campaign. The BRC is working with academic organizations, businesses, non-profit organizations, federal, state and local agencies to create a watershed action plan for the states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. In order to improve water quality and reach their goal of having a fishable and swimmable Blackstone River by 2015, the BRC is focusing on: stormwater management, wastewater treatment, land use, stream flow, recreational opportunities, education, and outreach.
  • Tackling Stormwater. The BRC has decided that the large volume of polluted runoff and stormwater that the river receives as the major problem preventing the improvement of the river's water quality. The approach is geared to help local decision makers, homeowners, developers, and businesses meet EPA Phase 1 or 2 Stormwater Management Permits.  
  • Riverbank Restoration. Through the use of bioengineering treatments such as use of toe supports, backfilling, erosion control and planting, the BRC hopes to restore the banks of the Blackstone.

To learn more, visit the BRC's website here

Blackstone River Bikeway

  • The Blackstone River Bikeway is a "48 mile bikeway from Providence, Rhode Island to Worcester, Massachusetts" that provides a scenic and alternative transportation route that follows, in as many locations as possible, the Blackstone River and Blackstone Canal.  Due to some legal issues with designating the path a bikeway, it is now known as the Blackstone River Greenway. To learn more, visit



  • Jason Brocket, "Blackstone River"
    A beautiful watercolor painting of the Blackstone River with the lovely colors of its riparian trees as the seasons and colors of nature begin to change. To view the image, click here.