Muddy Brook Watershed Master Plan

Muddy Brook Subwatershed Resiliency Master Plan


What is a subwatershed?
Within a larger watershed, there are smaller regions or subareas that have their own distinct drainage systems. These smaller areas are called subwatersheds. Imagine a river basin as a large puzzle, and each subwatershed within that basin is a smaller piece of the puzzle. When it rains or snows, water flows down the slopes and follows the natural contours of the land, forming streams and rivers. These watercourses merge and converge within the subwatershed, eventually joining the main river or body of water that defines the larger watershed.

Why is it important?
Subwatersheds are of critical importance for various reasons, as they play a crucial role in maintaining the health of our environment and sustaining life on Earth. Here are some key reasons why sub-watersheds are so important: 

Biodiversity Hotspots: subwatersheds are often rich in biodiversity, supporting a wide variety of plants, animals, and microorganisms. These areas act as habitats for numerous species, including many that may be rare or endangered. Preserving subwatersheds helps protect and maintain this incredible array of life forms, contributing to the overall biodiversity of the planet. Water Source and Quality: Subwatersheds serve as the origin of streams, rivers, and other water bodies. They act as natural filters, cleansing the water as it flows through the land, thereby ensuring a supply of clean and fresh water downstream. Protecting subwatersheds is vital for maintaining water quality, which is essential for human consumption, agriculture, and sustaining aquatic ecosystems. Erosion and Flood Control: The vegetation and soil in subwatershed areas help control erosion and prevent excessive sediment from entering water bodies. By minimizing erosion, subwatersheds play a crucial role in reducing the risk of floods and the potential damage they can cause to nearby communities.
Carbon Sequestration: Subwatersheds are significant contributors to carbon sequestration. Trees and vegetation in these areas absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, helping to mitigate the effects of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas concentrations. Habitat Connectivity: Subwatersheds often serve as corridors that connect different ecosystems. This connectivity allows for the movement of wildlife, promoting genetic diversity and facilitating the migration of species in response to changing environmental conditions. Recreational and Aesthetic Value: Subwatersheds provide scenic beauty and recreational opportunities for people to enjoy. Activities like hiking, fishing, birdwatching, and camping in these areas contribute to physical and mental well-being while fostering a greater appreciation for nature.
Cultural and Historical Significance: Many subwatersheds hold cultural and historical importance for local communities. These areas may have been used for traditional practices, rituals, or as sources of inspiration for art and literature. Preserving subwatersheds helps safeguard our cultural heritage and identity. Economic Benefits: Subwatersheds contribute to local economies by supporting industries such as agriculture, fishing, and tourism. Protecting these areas ensures the sustainable use of natural resources and the longevity of economic activities that rely on them. Climate Resilience: Healthy subwatersheds contribute to ecosystem resilience in the face of climate change. They provide natural buffers against extreme weather events, helping to minimize the impacts of floods, droughts, and storms on surrounding areas.
  Sustainability and Future Generations: Ensuring the protection of subwatersheds is an investment in the future. By preserving these areas, we safeguard the planet's ability to support future generations and create a sustainable environment for all living beings.  
What can you do to help?
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What is Ware doing to help?

The Town of Ware received Action Grant funding from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program to develop a Muddy Brook Subwatershed Resiliency Master Plan. The purpose of the Muddy Brook Subwatershed Resiliency Master Plan is to develop a set of resiliency actions and strategies that reflect current and future concerns and priorities related to protecting the environmental, water supply, recreational, and public health of the Muddy Brook watershed area. The Muddy Brook watershed provides most of the drinking water for residents in Ware and lies within a valuable economic and social area of Town, making proactive mitigation strategy planning for this watershed a high priority.

muddy brook

The development of the Muddy Brook Subwatershed
Resiliency Master Plan will take place between
September 2022 and June 30, 2024, and will involve:

  • Characterization of current and future threats to the
    subwatershed and associated drinking water supplies
    from climate change and development
  • Review of Town-owned parcels within the subwatershed
    area for the potential addition or retrofit of green
    infrastructure stormwater management facilities


  • Evaluation of opportunities to connect resilience to community development and reduction of impervious areas within the subwatershed
  • Identification of opportunities for land acquisition and conservation in floodplains and wetlands of the subwatershed based on water supply protection needs, recreation needs, current and future threats, and areas of known current and anticipated future flooding
  • Robust engagement with Environmental Justice populations and the general public to assist with the identification of vulnerabilities and future actions, and to increase awareness of the importance of maintaining the health of the subwatershed through the use of community liaisons, development of educational materials, and a Watershed Walk celebrating the Muddy Brook watershed area
  • Training of local technical school students in how to perform road-stream crossing assessments, and subsequent evaluation of the condition of road-stream crossings within the subwatershed
  • Regulatory code review with a focus on improvements for resiliency relative to water supply Zone II land uses and protections, stormwater management, and use of green infrastructure strategies
  • Creation of a roadmap for increasing resiliency through identified areas of focus for improvements
bird pic


Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program website:

Resilient MA – Climate Change Clearinghouse for the Commonwealth, where you can explore the latest statewide climate data and projections through interactive maps and graphs and learn about EEA's municipal grants supporting climate resilience: