Healthy Watershed Initiative

Healthy Watershed Initiative

The Healthy Watershed Initiative’s goals were to provide outreach, education, and technical assistance to Hampden and Hampshire county landowners, specifically to address issues such as soil and water health within the Lake Warner/Mill River area.  With the help of this Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA) Basic and Innovation Grant funding, HHCD was able to complete the following from FY2017 to FY2019.

GIS Mapping Process

Geographic Information System (GIS) Mapping was used to identify key properties in the Mill River Watershed that had the potential to impact the waterway.

Five criteria were used to gauge impact:

  1. Stream orders (shows proximity of water to agriculture if water is flowing)
  2. Soil Hydrologic Groups (SSURGO) (runoff potential and infiltration rates)
  3. K factor (SSURGO) (soil erodibility factor)
  4. Stream Power Index (SPI) (erosive power of flowing water
  5. Land-Use Classes from MassGIS (showing properties in NRCS or FSA or neither)

From this mapping, 60 properties were identified, of which 35 were slated for contact.


Workshops for Landowners

Throughout this multi-year grant HHCD held many workshops for Landowners, Farmers and Households. 

  • No-Till Demonstration
  • Homeowners
  • Wind and Water Erosion
  • Astarte Farm Pollinator Workshop August 2018. Emily May from the Xerces Society, as well as the farm producers, Annaliese, Jim and Dan; and NRCS staffer Jarrod Fowler
  • “Dollars and Sense”, a Grant Resource Workshop,  June 2018.
  • “Losing Ground Soil and Nutrient Movement Off-Farm” was facilitated with soil specialists from USDA NRCS and Massachusetts Department Agricultural Resources (MDAR) in March of 2018
  • Watershed Management Workshop, September 2017
  • ‘Low Cost Aerated Composting Systems for Small Acreage Operations’ nutrient management Workshop at Rocky and Anne Adriance’s farm in Leverett, August 2017 in cooperation with UMASS Cooperative Extension & Friends of Lake Warner. Low cost manure management systems for small scale livestock operators were discussed.



Farmer Profiles

Get to know your farmer, whether you’re a landowner or a farmer yourself! These hard working folks are the first line of caretakers for soil and water and work everyday to bring food and goods to local tables while doing their best to leave the land better every day. Meet two of your farmer neighbors here.