The Parker River is approximately 23 miles in length and its watershed covers approximately 82 square miles in Essex County, Massachusetts. Towns and cities located partially or wholly in the watershed include Boxford, Georgetown, Groveland, Ipswich, Newbury, Newburyport, North Andover, Rowley, and West Newbury. Major tributaries include the Little River which starts in Newburyport and flows through Newbury, and the Mill River , which flows through Rowley and joins the Parker River near Gov. Dummer Academy. . There are 14 lakes, ponds, and reservoirs in the watershed covering approximately 295 acres.
The presence of fish especially the Alewife is an excellent indicator to reveal the health of the river system. Fish counts are maintained and relayed over a period ot time to help monitor the water quality and environmental pressures on the river.
Volunteers using consistent monitoring in strategic points along the river system produce statistical results revealing what are the environmental pressures on the watershed and the quality of the water.
In an effort to protect the health of the river system, PRCWA conducts an active breeding program for the endangered Blandings Turtle through its hatching program.
Inflow monitoring along the tributaries of the watershed reveal the health of the river. If too much is withdrawn, then the habitat suffers, and the demands of humans and wildlife suffer likewise.
Protecting our stormwater is necessary to help us increase groundwater and aquifer storage, and to help us reduce flooding and its subsequent compromise of our fresh water supplies, for all ecosystems in our watersheds.
PRCWA maintain the trails at the headwaters of the Little River as a means to introduce the importance of the Watershed through education and recreation.