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South River Flood Mitigation

The Votes are IN!

Thank you to everyone who came out on Saturday to hear about potential projects to alleviate flooding along Pumpkin Hollow Brook and the South River in Conway Center, and also to those of you who viewed the presentation and voted online!

The top two projects selected by community members were: enlarging the Main Street Bridge over the South River and lowering the floodplain upstream of the covered bridge.

GZA and Field Geology Services are now working on conceptual designs for these two projects. Once complete, we will post information on this website.

Conway Center Flood Mitigation MVP recording May 18, 2024

Handouts from the May 18th meeting.

There is much work being done to help alleviate flooding on the South River. This page is intended as a educational source for issues concerning the South River, and will be updated often.

The town is working with the FRCOG and GZA Environmental on a Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) grant to obtain data on the South River and Pumpkin Hollow Brook in order to find solutions to the flooding which occurs in Conway center. The first project was the meal and discussion last fall for Conway and Ashfield residents, followed by a South River walking tour. This past fall hydaulic and hydrologic data was collected on those two bodies of water and this data will help inform possible solutions, which will be discussed by the community later in spring, 2024.

Next there was a Community Talk about the South River watershed at the Conway Grammar School.

Welcome to the Deerfield watershed Stream Crossings Explorer

Given the recent rain events here are some resources to help residents manage stormwater on their properties:

Creating vegetative buffers

Creating rain gardens

Creating vegetated swales

There are many people and groups in town who have been working on these issues for years. A first place to check is Conway’s Open Space Committee page, as well as the private Friends of the South River page.

Hurricane Irene in 2011 brought home the need to research methods to alleviate the potential for flooding, especially in the center of Conway, but also all along certain reaches of the South River. The following reports show the vast amount of work which has already been done on the South River, which begins at Ashfield Lake and ends at the Deerfield River.

2013 Fluvial Geomorphic Assessment and River Corridor Planning for the South River Watershed, MA; Field Geology Services, LLC.

2016 Fluvial Geomorphic Assessment and River Corridor Planning for the South River Watershed, MA; Field Geology Services, LLC.

2017 Sediment Management BMPs for the South River in Conway; FRCOG.

2018 MVP Resiliency Plan for Towns of Ashfield & Conway; FRCOG.

2018 High Risk Stream Crossings in Conway, MA: A Resource for Assessing Risk and Improving Resiliency; FRCOG.

2020 FRCOG Culvert Assessment in Conway

There is a South River Project Story Map provided by the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) which gives the history of the South River with wonderful photos and descriptions, including before and after photos of the barricade by the bridge on Main Street which was destroyed during Hurricane Irene. There is also a self-guided tour of the South River in Conway Center.

In 2021, GZA GeoEnvrironmental produced a report for the FRCOG as part of the regional adaptation & resilience project entitled ‘Mohawk Trails Woodland Partnership – Project Identification & Prioritization’ for both Ashfield & Conway. This reports include detailed lists of projects identified as important to alleviating threats from flooding in Conway center and beyond, and each project is prioritized in depth. You can download that report here.

You can click this link to see the results of the Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership grant program, which shows areas in need of attention on the South River in both Ashfield and Conway.