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Charles River Natural Valley Storage Project

Charles River Natural Valley Storage Project
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General Information

Description - The Indian name for the Charles River was "Quinobequin," meaning meandering. Captain John Smith, however, named the Charles River for Charles I of England and, in doing so, interested the monarch in its potential for trade and settlement. The Charles River offered the opportunity for early settlers to acquire land, wealth and freedom from political and religious oppression by providing a water highway to the interior. The winding river rambles for 80 miles from its headwaters, covers an area over 300 square miles and is the most densely populated river basin in New England.

The Charles River is one of the most beautiful urban rivers in the country. In cooperation with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the US Army Corps of Engineers has implemented a program that not only protects the urbanized watershed from flooding, but also safeguards valuable wetlands and provides areas for wildlife and recreation.

Torrential rains from hurricanes in 1938, 1955 and 1968 caused water levels to rise and rivers to overflow their banks in communities across New England. The floodwaters caused millions of dollars in damage and took hundreds of lives throughout New England. Along the Charles River, the residents and properties of the lower Charles are the most seriously affected when flooding occurs. As a result of these floods, the Corps of Engineers conducted a study that determined the best way to protect the populous lower basin of the Charles River was to construct a pumping station capable of rapidly discharging the floodwater into Boston Harbor. The study also determined that the best way to protect the middle and upper portions of the river system from future flooding would be to protect the natural storage capacities of the wetlands.

Attractions - The Corps of Engineers has acquired the natural valley storage areas of the Charles River to be maintained in a natural state in perpetuity. The Charles River Natural Valley Storage flood control project was authorized by Public law 93-251 as a "Multi Purpose" project for flood control, recreation and fish and wildlife management. As a result, all land was acquired to be preserved in its natural state and to prevent any alteration of natural drainage characteristics.

The Corps is dedicated to safeguarding these natural areas as green space for flood protection, recreation, wildlife habitat and guaranteed protection of open areas. The Charles River must remain a legacy pass by this generation to all those that follow.

Recreation - The lands and waters of the Charles River natural Valley Storage Area offer an important addition to public recreation in Eastern Massachusetts. The lands provide needed open space for passive recreation activities such as bird watching, hiking, canoeing, fishing and cross-country skiing. This is an exceptional setting for natural walking, especially during the fall foliage season when the abundant Red Maples show their crimson colors.

The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife provides annual stocking of trout in the Charles River and its tributary brooks and rivers. In a region of rapid suburban growth, the Charles River Natural Valley Storage Project offers a unique opportunity for continued enjoyment of natural and recreational resources for years to come

Climate - Massachusetts experiences four distinct seasons with slightly varying temperatures in the inland and coastal regions. Along the coast the water is a moderating factor that often prevents large amounts of snowfall from accumulating through the winter. Summer temperatures are usually cooler than low lying inland areas, due to ocean breezes. This region of the country experiences high humidity in the summer season and temperatures that average close to 80 degrees F. Fall and Spring are pleasant times to visit the region with crisp air and low humidity. Brilliant foliage colors can be found in the central and western regions of the state in late September and October. Winter temperatures can be brutally cold on occasion with a humidity-filled wind, but on average winter daytime temperatures reach 35 degrees F and lows reach into the teens. Spring is usually the wettest time of year, but trees, bushes and flowers are blooming by early May.

Location - The Charles River Natural Valley Storage Area can be reached at:

Charles River Natural Valley Storage Area
518 E. Hartford Avenue
Uxbridge, MA 01569

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More Information

Contact Information:
Charles River Natural Valley Storage Project, 518 E HARTFORD AVE , UXBRIDGE, MA, 01569-1209, Phone: 508-278-2511

Additional Information:
Massachusetts Lakes and Dams -

Charles River Natural Valley Storage Project - Official Agency Information


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