Watershed Planning

Resilient Taunton Watershed Network (RTWN)

RTWN's overarching goal is to promote the resiliency of the Taunton Watershed in the face of climate change and development, considering ecological outcomes as well as economic, social, and environmental justice issues.

What "R-TOWN" Does

A true partnership model, RTWN members meet bi-monthly to leverage our combined resources, knowledge, and skills, and work through an integrated watershed approach towards measurable results in order to:

  • Advance both ecological and economic well-being by protecting natural resources;
  • Promote ecological restoration;
  • Integrate climate change concerns;
  • Support future development patterns that use land and infrastructure efficiently; and
  • Assist municipal officials and residents in meeting their local goals while considering a broader watershed perspective.

A resilient watershed is one that has the capacity to adjust to stresses and disturbances, while still able to provide valuable ecosystem services and functions, such as provision of a clean and plentiful water supply and flood protection. We are working together to identify and implement the most promising solutions that advance both ecological and economic well-being by protecting existing green infrastructure, promoting ecological restoration, integrating climate change concerns, and supporting programs and future development patterns that use land and infrastructure efficiently to improve conditions for all residents.

The Taunton River Watershed

The Taunton River Watershed encompasses 339,077 acres of land across 42 towns. Its riverine and aquatic habitats contain a richness of natural communities. The watershed is home to more than 154 species of birds, 29 native species of fish, and is part of the largest herring run in New England. The watershed is home to more than 360 plant species, some of which are globally rare.

The Taunton River is the longest free‚Äźflowing coastal river (undammed) in New England at 40 miles. The Taunton is one of the two largest contributors of fresh water to Narragansett Bay. These features, local support, and SRPEDD leadership achieved a federal designation as a Wild & Scenic River for the Taunton River from Congress and the National Parks Service.

Maintaining the species and unique resource values of the Taunton River Watershed in balance requires attention and forethought. The Taunton Watershed ranks #4 out of 32 watersheds statewide for the amount of development that occurred between 2012-2017 (Losing Ground: Nature's Value in a Changing Climate, MassAudubon, 2020). Over 60% of the land in the watershed is undeveloped, but only 17% is protected.

RTWN's Five Things to Improve Resilience

The RTWN team highlights five important steps to improving watershed resilience in a resource available by clicking here.

Join Us!

You can become a member of RTWN to stay informed and to share your knowledge of the needs and issues in the watershed. All are welcome!