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More About Watersheds

Ashburnham's Major Watersheds

Why are watersheds important?

A watershed is an area of land that drains water into a common body of water.  It is the land that the water flows across or under to get to the lowest point.  Every body of water has a watershed.  All watersheds are connected.  A divide is the elevated boundary between areas that are drained by different water systems.  


A healthy watershed can perform nutrient cycling, carbon storage, sediment and erosion control.  A healthy watershed also provides increased biodiversity, soil formation, wildlife movement corridors, water storage, water filtration, flood control, food, timber, and recreation.

Ashburnham is unique in that as a consequence of its topography, there are major divides, resulting in its division into three distinct watersheds:  the Millers River, the Nashua River, and the Merrimack River.

The northern and western parts of Ashburnham are part of the Millers River watershed. Water flows westerly and southerly across North Ashburnham. The Millers River flows into the Connecticut River downstream of Millers Falls, MA. Ashburnham lakes and ponds in this watershed include Swallow Pond, Watatic Lake, Upper Naukeag Lake, Lower Naukeag Lake, Sunset Lake, and Cheshire Pond. Bear Meadow Brook, Bluefield Brook, and Estees Brook and Harris Brook (Sunset Lake) are also part of the Millers River watershed. In fact, North Ashburnham contains the headwaters of the Upper Millers River watershed.

The southern and eastern parts of Ashburnham belong to the Nashua River Watershed, as does Ashburnham Center. Lakes and ponds in this watershed include Lincoln Pond, Factory Village Pond, Lake Winnekeag, and Lake Wampanoag. The Whitman River, Philips Brook, and Brown Brook are also part of the Nashua River watershed. Brown Brook joins Philips Brook before the Factory Village Pond. The Nashua River watershed in Ashburnham contributes to the North Nashua River tributary, which begins at the confluence of the Whitman River and Flag Brook in West Fitchburg.

The northeastern part of Ashburnham belongs to the watershed of the South Branch of the Souhegan River, a sub-basin of the Merrimack River. Lakes and ponds in this watershed include Stodge Meadow Pond, Marble Pond, Ward Pond, and Watatic Pond.

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