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Wheeler Brook Subwatershed Information

Municipalities: Georgetown

Estimated Population: 1304

General Description: This relatively small subwatershed is located in the northeastern portion of Georgetown. Largely undeveloped it contains some agricultural and residential land use. It is split by interstate highway route 95. Water supply areas that serve Georgetown and Rowley are located in this subwatershed. Residential land use in this subwatershed is 444 acres, up from 334 acres in 1991 while Undeveloped land use is 948 acres, down from 1048 acres in 1991.

Land Area: 1521 acres (2.4 square miles)

Land Use as of 1999: Undeveloped – 948 acres (62% of the subwatershed, Forest is 51%)

Residential – 444 acres (30% of the subwatershed)

Commercial/Industrial – 129 acres (8% of the subwatershed)

Named Tributaries: Jackman Brook

Lakes and Ponds: no named ponds

Rapid Watershed Assessment: The proportion of impervious cover in this subwatershed is estimated to be 8.5%. Based upon this, the water quality should be high quality. While a comprehensive survey has not been done, one would expect to find excellent habitat, diverse communities, and a stable stream channel. However, some localized impacts from summer low flows, road runoff, non-point source pollution and habitat alteration is likely.

Water Quality Information: Wheeler Brook and Jackman Brook have been included in past Department of Environmental Protection water quality monitoring programs. The 1984 survey had two sampling stations on Wheeler Brook. The 1994 survey included two stations on Wheeler Brook and one on Jackman Brook. Also, in 1999 the Department of Environmental Protection Biological Assessment included a station on Jackman Brook, downstream of Jackman Street.

The Parker River Clean Water Association has a water quality monitoring station on Wheeler Brook at Parish Road. Data from the Department of Environmental Protection monitoring and from the Parker River Clean Water Association indicate the presence of non-point source pollution. Nitrogen was found to be high during the Department of Environmental Protection water quality surveys and during the Parker River Clean Water Association survey. The biological assessment indicates a limited aquatic habitat, although the macroinvertebrate community has been rated as being “non-impacted.”

Recommendations: Sources of non-point source pollution to Wheeler Brook and Jackman Brook should be identified and corrected. This will help to protect and maintain the apparent high quality of the aquatic biological community. A shoreline survey should be considered here as part of this effort. This subwatershed is also a likely candidate for an open space protection effort.

(Data obtained from the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, Massachusetts Watershed Initiative, 2002 Watershed Assessment Report)

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