Photo from the Pawcatuck River Bridge, originally built in 1712 and rebuilt several times since. The river is the dividing line between Westerly, RI and the village of Pawcatuck in Stonington, CT. Photo by Frank Prosnitz
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We may be the Ocean State, but on June 25 and 26 we’ll be celebrating some of Rhode Island and nearby Connecticut rivers at a 7 Rivers Festival that recognizes the wild and scenic status of the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed in Rhode Island and Eastern Connecticut

Events are being held in 11 towns, all along the seven rivers – Shunock, Green Fail-Ashaway, Wood, Pawcatuck, Beaver, Queen-Usquepaugh, and Chipuxet.

The festival is sponsored by the Wood-Pawcatuck Wild & Scenic Rivers Stewardship Council, which received a National Wild and Scenic River designation, and is now considered a Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers system under the federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

The Council, which has representatives from the 12 towns in the watershed and state agencies and other non-profits is committed to helping preserve, protect and enhance the special environmental, cultural and recreation values of the Watershed.

Each Rivers, the council says, has its own characteristics:

  • Upper Wood River supports the highest variety of plants and animals of any river in New England
  • Beaver River is 91% undeveloped and provides clean, cold habitat that supports a large number of invertebrate species
  • Pawcatuck River the Nature Conservancy has identified the system as one of the best examples of intact riverine habitat in the Lower New England ecoregion
  • Green Fall-Ashaway River lies within one of the largest contiguous forests in southern New England and supports an exceptional number and variety of birds
  • Chipuxet River is within the Great Swamp, which is designated as a National Natural Landmark
  • Queen-Usquepaugh River supports a high biodiversity, especially dragonflies, mussels, brook trout and amphibians
  • Shunock River supports populations of alewife and blueback herring, sea-run trout, and American eel’

Events are being held in each of the 12 communities, including kayaking, nature walks, children’s events, mushroom hunting, a bird walk, library displays, and much more. A complete listing of activities is on the festival website, along with information about each of the rivers:

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Frank Prosnitz

Frank Prosnitz brings to WhatsUpNewp several years in journalism, including 10 as editor of the Providence (RI) Business News and 14 years as a reporter and bureau manager at the Providence (RI) Journal. Prosnitz began his journalism career as a sportswriter at the Asbury Park (NJ) Press, moving to The News Tribune (Woodbridge, NJ), before joining the Providence Journal. Prosnitz hosts the Morning Show on WLBQ radio (Westerly), 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday, and It’s Your Business, also on WBLQ, Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Prosnitz has twice won Best in Business Awards from the national Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW), twice was named Media Advocate of the Year by the Small Business Administration, won an investigative reporter’s award from the New England Press Association, and newswriting award from the Rhode Island Press Association.