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A Wild & Scenic Treasure


Want to Explore the Taunton River? Spend a day on the river! If you are interested in canoeing, kayaking or spending the day exploring the Taunton River, you can use the ExploreRI Mapper from the RI Blueways Alliance to find information about put-ins, take-outs and other spots on the river.

The Taunton River is now protected under the National Park Service’s “Wild & Scenic” Program. The federal designation sets up a Wild & Scenic River Stewardship Council, which is comprised of representatives from the 10 mainstem towns, the State of Massachusetts, the National Park Service, the regional planning agency and non-profits including Save The Bay, the Taunton River Watershed Alliance, The Nature Conservancy and regional land trusts. The Council will implement the Taunton River Stewardship Plan, which was developed during the designation process. The work of the Council will provide added opportunity for outreach, education, land protection and habitat restoration in the river corridor. Save The Bay will continue to have an active presence on theTauntonRiver and we are looking forward to the added stewardship and protection of this national treasure.

Read about the celebration

March 30, 2009: Washington, DC- Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy (RI-01) issued the following statement today after President Obama signed H.R. 146, the Omnibus Public Management Act. The Act included legislation to support the protection and community-based management ofTauntonRiver as part of theWild & ScenicRiver system. Kennedy voted in favor of the bill.

 “Today is a victory for the communities surrounding theTauntonRiverand the advocates who fought for its designation under the ‘Wild & Scenic’ program. TheTauntonRiverisNarragansett Bay’s second largest tributary and this new designation will ensure the future environmental and ecological protection of this pristine natural resource. The health of theTauntonRiveris also critical to businesses and jobs throughoutProvidence,BostonandCape Codwhich depend on the preservation of water quality and habitats. I join my House and Senate colleagues who worked vigorously on this effort, including Senators Kennedy, Kerry, Whitehouse and Reed and Representatives Frank and McGovern, in celebrating this significant conservation accomplishment,” said Kennedy.



The Taunton River is Narragansett Bay’s second largest tributary and is still one of its best-kept secrets. With no dams along its entire 40-mile course, it is a unique, free-flowing estuary with clean fresh water gradually mixing and blending with the tide. The river hosts an incredibly diverse assemblage of plants and animals with 61 state-listed threatened or endangered species such as otters, sturgeon, and the Bay’s largest runs of herring and alewives. It also boasts 154 species of birds and 360 different plants.

One of the reasons the Taunton has remained so healthy and vibrant is that public access is limited and there is little development along the river’s banks. However, wedged between Providence, Boston, and Cape Cod, this still wild and wooded portion of the Bay’s watershed is experiencing a major boom in growth that is expected to continue in the future.

Thanks to funding from the Sheehan Foundation, Save The Bay launched a Taunton River campaign in 2003 to protect and promote this great river. We joined with partners in Massachusetts to create coalitions of land and watershed action groups working toward shared goals of conservation, and fought off some of the largest developments ever proposed there. The Watershed Action Alliance consists of more than ten groups working for environmental protection in Southeast Massachusetts, while the SEMEC environmental collaborative brings land and water conservation groups together to create an integrated protection and management approach to the region.

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