I fell in love with the Blackstone River when we moved to the valley fifteen years ago. The birds that nest along its length, its canals, tributaries, bridges, ponds. Even the swamps make this one of the most beautiful places in the world. In the autumn, the trees are magnificent.

We have swans and geese, ducks and herons. Turtles, beaver, fishers, and trout — they all live along or in the river. It is a rich and fertile world. Beautiful and ever-changing.



Each year, it’s different. Everything depends how much rain we get in the spring rainfall as well as the amount of snow that melts after the winter.

pond before manchaug dam

When we are not having a drought, the dam will have a strong waterfall. Manchaug is at its most magnificent when we’ve had plenty of rain. I haven’t seen the dam at full strength in four years.

Manchaug June 2015

Last year, the dam was nearly dry. The pond formed by the dam was a puddle, because they had closed the dams upstream to save water.

Manchaug falls june 2015

When the rivers don’t run and the ponds dry up, it’s tough on the wildlife. There’s no place for the swans and geese to nest. The fish can’t breed. But there’s no choice.

Manchaug dam falls maple trees

The dams control and contain water when rainfall is insufficient, which has been most of the past five or more summers. This year, the dam has a moderate waterfall, reflecting a good winter snow-melt, but weak spring rains.


Today, for example, it was supposed to rain, yet there was barely a sprinkle. We had no rain at all in May until the 31st of the month. Water restrictions are in place in most of the valley’s towns and villages.


I’m hoping we’ll have more rain. Everyone complains when it rains. Sunshine is popular for picnics and summer activities. Rain is not. But we need rain. Without good, drenching rains, the aquifer can’t refill. Reservoir levels drop. Wells go dry.

closeup manchaug dam waterfall

Water is as necessary as air. We cannot survive without it. Nothing survives without water.

Manchaug above the dam

The pictures in this post are by both Marilyn and Garry Armstrong. You can tell by the signature who took each picture.

I was using two different Olympus PEN cameras (PL-5 and PL-6) and a variety of lenses. I don’t remember which lens I used for which pictures (sorry!). Garry was using his big Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ60 with its amazing 24-600 mm Leica lens.

manchaug daisies