The River Stewardship Council
The River Stewardship Council (RSC) was established to coordinate the conservation of the 29-mile Wild and Scenic River segment of the Sudbury, Assabet and Concord Rivers. The Council functions as an official advisory committee to the National Park Service on federal permits affecting the rivers' outstanding resources. The Council also raises awareness of the rivers through events and publications, including RiverFest, an annual celebration of the Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord Rivers, and facilitates efforts to preserve and improve river resources.
The River Stewardship Council comprises representatives from:
- Town of Bedford
- Town of Billerica
- Town of Carlisle
- Town of Concord
- Town of Framingham
- Town of Lincoln
- Town of Sudbury
- Town of Wayland
- OARS (formerly Organization for the Assabet River)
- Sudbury Valley Trustees
- Commonwealth of Massachusetts
- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
- National Park Service
- SuAsCo Watershed Community Council (added in 2005)
Meeting Agenda and Minutes
The RSC meets on the 4th Tuesday of every month.
For Minutes and Agendas, click here.
Roles and Responsibilities
The purpose of the RSC is to promote long-term protection of the rivers by 1) bringing together on a regular basis various parties responsible for river management, 2) facilitating agreements and coordination among them, 3) providing a focus and forum for all river interests to discuss and make recommendations, and 4) coordinating implementation of the River Conservation Plan.
The RSC is an advisory body. It has no regulatory or land acquisition authority. It provides advice to the National Park Service and other river management entities.
The RSC has the responsibility to:
- Address river-related issues in a cooperative fashion
- Monitor activities that might affect the river. RSC may evaluate proposals that could affect the rivers and provide comments as appropriate. RSC may advise the NPS on projects that are subject to Section 7 reviews, i.e., federal projects.
- Stimulate public involvement and education. The RSC may do this on its own initiative or by supporting efforts of others.
- Promote river enhancement initiatives
- Review and update the River Conservation Plan
River Conservation Plan
The resource conservation approach of the “Sudbury, Assabet and Concord Wild and Scenic Study—River Conservation Plan” relies on a myriad of measures other than federal land acquisition. Such protection measures include local and state land use regulations and voluntary private land owner action. Measures to protect and enhance water quality and the rivers' flows were also included.
The Plan was initially developed based on an exhaustive analysis of existing land use and potentially vulnerable areas along the three rivers. The effectiveness of existing land ownership patterns and land use regulations in protecting the rivers' outstanding resources and riparian integrity were assessed. For the most part, the assessment showed that if towns and the state maintained and enforced existing resource protection controls, the river would remain well protected. Where improvements could be made, the plan advances them in the form of recommendations for future actions by the towns or state government.
The Plan was endorsed by town meeting votes in each of the eight shoreline communities. Each town also voted in favor of pursing a Wild and Scenic designation (as long as federal land acquisition was not a part of the management strategy), and the creation of a locally-based River Stewardship Council to oversee implementation of the Plan and management of the rivers.
The Sudbury, Assabet and Concord Wild and Scenic River Act was approved by Congress and signed into law by the President in April 1999. The River Conservation Plan was referred to in the legislation as the plan that would guide management of the rivers and their resources.
In 2005, a review and update of the Plan showed that it remained quite current. While many recommended actions had been accomplished, including protection of specific pieces of property near the rivers, many recommendations were of enduring relevance. Invasive species management was identified as a particularly urgent issue that needed to be addressed.