Watershed Planning

Land in a watershed unit is grouped together based on its common role in the movement of water as it circulates through the hydrologic cycle, from the atmosphere and through the earth, based on topography and land composition. When water moves through our landscape, it does not recognize the boundary of one town or one state to the next, and often requires a regional planning approach.

The majority of the SRPEDD region falls within the Buzzards Bay and Taunton River watersheds, but our communities also encompass land within the Mount Hope Bay, Narragansett Bay, Ten Mile River, and Blackstone River watersheds.

These major watershed areas contain sub-watersheds for particular bodies of water; for example, the Nemasket River sub-watershed is within the larger Taunton River watershed, and the Westport River sub-watershed is located within the Buzzards Bay watershed. A view from the watershed underscores the fact that even seemingly far away land uses have an impact on cherished waterbodies and waterways downstream. A holistic consideration of the watershed is crucial to improving water quality and flood abatement, and to mitigating runoff and pollution.


Approaching watershed planning at the regional level considers the natural water cycle at the most effective scale.

SRPEDD has assisted in the preparation of a number of watershed management plans that inform municipal operations through a holistic consideration of the watershed in which they are located, creating a more coordinated and effective set of action items related to water and its flows. In addition to creating plans, SRPEDD is a core founder of the Resilient Taunton Watershed Network (RTWN - pronounced "R-Town"), a unique partnership of organizations brought together to improve the Taunton Watershed. Our work also extends to pursuing watershed enhancement through a grant from the Southeast New England Coastal Watershed Restoration Program (SNEP).

An image of a stakeholder engagement meeting where participants from the Assawompset Pond Complex Management Team give their input into top priorities in the watershed.
The APC Management Team identifies floodwater issues around the Assawompset Pond Complex and Nemasket River

Ongoing Watershed Projects

Assawompset Ponds Complex Floodwater Management Program

With a grant from the Division of Ecological Restoration, SRPEDD and its partners Horsley Witten Group, Manomet, Mass Audubon, and The Nature Conservancy, worked with the Assawompset Ponds Complex Management Team to design a floodwater management program and initiate projects that will mitigate property damage and safety threats from floodwater while also meeting the needs of the cities of Taunton and New Bedford's existing water supply in the ponds.

Southeast New England Coastal Watershed Restoration Program

SRPEDD and partners Manomet, Mass Audubon, and The Nature Conservancy were awarded a grant to develop a database of watershed restoration projects in the Taunton River Watershed, and to work with local communities on improving their regulatory zoning and development framework to allow for low impact development that reduces stormwater pressure and negative impacts within the watershed. Use the link below to access the database of identified projects in map form.

Previous Watershed Projects

Taunton River Watershed


Resilient Taunton Watershed Network (R-TOWN)

The commitment of RTWN partners sustains a model network devoted to improving the Taunton River across its watershed

RTWN's overarching goal is to promote the resilience of the Taunton Watershed in the face of climate change and development, considering ecological outcomes as well as economic, social, and environmental justice issues. Meeting monthly, RTWN participants are in continual contact about projects that support the health of the watershed. Click below for more information.