The City strives to provide the greatest degree of protection of the water supply reservoirs.  Land ownership and preservation are two actions that provide the greatest degree of water supply protection.  To protect the water quality of the three active drinking water reservoirs: Mountain Street, West Whately, and Francis P. Ryan Reservoir;  City-owned water supply property surrounding the reservoirs is posted for no trespassing and a Water Division Reservoir Ranger monitors the watershed property located in Hatfield, Williamsburg, Whately and Conway.  The City has also coordinated with the Massachusetts Environmental Police for extra patrols to enforce the no trespassing policy.  These patrols will continue on a periodic basis throughout the year.

Additionally, maintaining a healthy, resilient forest is an important component of watershed management and water quality protection.  To protect raw water quality, the DPW worked with a Massachusetts Licensed Forester to complete Forest Stewardship Plans for 3,000 +/- acres of forested water supply property surrounding the active drinking water reservoirs and for the 600 +/- acres of forest surrounding the emergency Roberts Meadow Reservoir System located in Leeds.  The plans provide an inventory and assessment of forest stands, while providing a master plan intended to guide land management efforts in keeping with DPW’s goal as water supplier.  Implementation of the recommendations of these plans, including a variety of silvicultural treatments on forest stands near the active reservoirs, began during the winter of 2013 and will continue in 2014. 

Click on the link below for photographs and more information on this winter's harvest:

Click on links below to view specific forest stewardship plans or the cutting plans:

Please contact Nicole Sanford with any questions regarding the City's watershed protection program.

Northampton Forest Stewardship Plans 

All City Northampton water supply property (except two recently acquired parcels totaling 8 acres) have MA Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) approved Forest Stewardship Plans.  Additionally, this property is enrolled in Green Certification through the MA DCR Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Group Certification. FSC is a non-governmental, non-profit organization that promotes the responsible management of the world’s forests. Forest certification is a third party auditing system of forest management practices.  The principles and criteria established by FSC promote ecologically beneficial, socially responsible, economically viable forest management practices. 

Per FSC policy, DCR is required to complete a High Conservation Value Forest (HCVF) Assessment for all properties enrolled in the MA DCR FSC Group. HCVFs are forest areas that need to be appropriately managed in order to maintain or enhance identified High Conservation Values (HCVs).  HCVs encompass exceptional or critical ecological attributes, ecosystem services, and social functions.  Under certification, areas identified as HCVFs may be harvested, but management activities must maintain or enhance the HCVs present.  As the forest on Northampton water supply property functions as source water protection to the City’s drinking water supply it is considered a HCVF.  Copies of the HCVF Assessments, MA DCR’s Description of the System for Identifying and Maintaining High Conservation Value Forests on Member Properties, and the FSC-US Draft High Conservation Value Forest Assessment Framework are available below.  FSC policy requires that these Assessments and documents be available to the public for review.  Hard copies are available at the Department of Public Works located at 125 Locust Street, Northampton, MA and will be available for review and comment until September 16th.  All comments should be provided in writing and sent to Donna LaScaleia, Director, Northampton DPW, 125 Locust Street, Northampton, MA.