What We Do

Ipswich River Naturalist Jim MacDougall chops through the iced over river to remove a bug trap and check the river’s health.

In snow and rain, flood and droughts, still we remain river watchdogs. We work to keep the river out of danger and have some fun while we’re at it. We are a membership organization and depend on Your Gifts to protect the River!

Volunteers are the backbone of many of our programs and we are always looking for new volunteers who are interested in making a difference and getting involved!

Driven by the energy and expertise of volunteers and partner organizations, our Science & Monitoring program is designed to yield valid data on the health of the Ipswich River and its greater ecosystem.

There’s lots to learn and love about the Ipswich River and we provide opportunities to enjoy the river and make a difference through our watershed wide Events including paddling trips, environmentally-friendly gardening workshops, educational programs, wildlife walks, river cleanups and more.

The Curtis Pond Dam in Middleton comes out! Summer, 2012

Our Dam Removal program will be a multi-year process. IRWA is collaborating with dam owners, state and federal agencies, and funders to study the feasibility of removing three dams: The Ipswich Mills Dam in downtown Ipswich, the South Middleton Dam in Middleton and Curtis Pond dam on Boston Brook in Middleton, a tributary to the Ipswich River.


Our innovative Fish & Habitat Restoration program is one of the first-in-the-nation programs of a local watershed group designed to restore a river ecosystem that has been degraded by low flow conditions and habitat fragmentation.

Greenscapers weed a native plant garden.

The Greenscapes North Shore program is a multi-partner outreach effort that promotes water conservation and protection. We work with local communities to educate citizens and professionals about landscaping practices (particularly irrigation and chemical use) that have less impact on the environment.



We lead a partnership to restore the Ipswich, Parker and Essex Rivers and the Great Marsh. We accomplish more by working together.

The main priorities of the The Parker-Ipswich-Essex Rivers Restoration Partnership are ecological protection and sustainable resource management. Protecting these waters and the wildlife and natural areas that depend on them will benefit the region, its communities, businesses, residents and the environment. Acting strategically and coordinating the work of government, conservation organizations and other stakeholders are essential if we are to achieve this goal.

Our Policy & Advocacy program strives to ensure that state laws and regulations are protective of river health and that Water Management Act permits do not allocate more water than the river basin can safely yield.

Stream Teamers make a difference at an Ipswich River Clean up.

Our Stream Teams are groups of citizen volunteers who advocate for their local segment of the Ipswich River Watershed and sponsor local projects and events.

The Soininen kids save water and have fun with a rain barrel! Our headquarters on the river in Ipswich feature backyard water saving options such as rain gardens, rain barrels, a green roof and more.

Our Water Conservation program provides a clearinghouse for information on water efficiency practices for municipalities and residents.

A number of Water Friendly Demonstrations projects have been installed across the Ipswich River watershed. For example, native plant gardens, rain gardens, and water-efficient fixtures have been installed at Riverbend.

Our Water Wise Communities program provides resources and technical assistance to help municipal officials pursue low-impact development, water conservation, and habitat restoration projects.

We direct a series of innovative and interconnected programs that strive for maximum ecosystem benefit, scientific excellence, and community awareness and participation. Please consider joining and volunteering for your river!

If you would like to stay up to date on river issues and events, sign up for our monthly e-news here!