PEPPERELL — Mark Archambault ,from the Nashua River Watershed Association, paid a visit to the Planning Board to rally support from the town of Pepperell for a water resource protection initiative.
Archambault, who is the Smart Growth Circuit Rider or planner for the NRWA, explained that the initiative, involving towns in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire, was designed to afford future protection to the Squannacook and Nissitissit sub-basins of the Nashua River watershed.
Archambault explained that the NRWA applied to the federal Environmental Protection Agency for the grant because the Squannacook and Nissitissit sub-basins are relatively pristine, with only 7 percent of the area paved over.
“Anytime they can get two states to work together, they like that,” said Archambault.
The initiative focuses on helping towns “explore and adopt, as appropriate, land-use and water quality practices (best management practices) for land development, forestry and other activities that can impact water quality and quantity.”
In addition, “existing and potential point and non-point pollution sources” would be identified and towns would receive assistance in creating bylaws and regulations “to minimize any potential impacts there.”
“Are you going to the conservation commissions at all?” asked planning administrator Susan Snyder.
“Not the ConsComs per se. We felt that the planning boards would be more intimately involved,” said Archambault.
“Maybe some input from the conservation commissions could be beneficial,” Snyder suggested.
In addition to the town of Pepperell, Archambault has been talking to the towns of Groton, Shirley, Townsend and Ashby as well as the New Hampshire towns of Greenville, Mason, Brookline and Hollis.
“We’ve been working on this for awhile now to get the language just right,” said Archambault, who spoke before the Groton Planning Board last week.
Once all of the towns have been notified and all differences worked out, Archambault said, a memo of understanding would be drawn up and circulated. The memo would require town meeting approval before enactment, however. – Paul MacDonald