River Conservation Plan Update
To be designated as a Partnership Wild and Scenic River, the river(s) must have a management plan endorsed and accepted by the towns and agencies involved. In 1996, after significant work by the Study Committee, all 8 Wild and Scenic towns, State, and federal agencies endorsed the "SuAsCo River Conservation Plan".
That plan is now 20 years old, and an update has been produced. Thank you to the many individuals, towns, organizations and agencies who commented during the drafting of this plan.
After a year of discussions with local towns, thoughtful deliberations, and plan drafting, we are pleased to share with you the River Conservation Plan Update.
The approach of the original “Sudbury, Assabet and Concord Wild and Scenic Study—River Conservation Plan” was to document existing protection measures. These included 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. Many of these protections still hold true. And, a lot of the issues have changed since 1995.
Additional resources: An updated regulatory analysis was done in 2018 by Mason and Associates to update our understanding. 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 collective work of the River Stewardship Council, town, State and federal agencies.
To discuss the plan, you can email .
Note: We are working on a publications page where we can list the appendices. If you'd like to see one or a few of these, please contact Emma Lord.
20 Years of Success Report
Before beginning an update to the Conservation Plan, the River Stewardship Council undertook summarizing the successes and benefits that have resulted from the designation. So much of the original plan has been completed! Since the work of the program began in the late 90's, so much has happened.
A summary document is also available here.
If you'd like printed copies of these materials, please contact .
Enabling legislation and Designation Study
The Sudbury, Assabet and Concord Wild and Scenic River Act was approved by Congress and signed into law by the President in April 1999 after the completion of the Study and approval by all 8 towns, and then as determined by a vote of Congress. The River Conservation Plan was referred to in the legislation as the plan that would guide management of the rivers and their resources. The Study that led to designation can be found here.
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
- City 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
Meeting Agenda and Minutes
The RSC meets on the last 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