Mill River, Fort River, and Their Tributaries
Mill River and Cushman Brook Corridors
The Mill River area in north Amherst runs through a natural greenbelt southwest to Hadley and the Connecticut River. Much of the flood plain is protected from development by FPC zoning restrictions, the Town Wetlands Protection by-law, and the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act. Active land acquisition and trail easements in this area provide extensive space for outdoor recreation while protecting wildlife habitat, water quality, and scenic beauty.
The Mill River below Puffer‘s Pond and the Cushman Brook above, contain above-average water quality and are known for their recreational value to Amherst residents and visitors alike. This corridor is significant to many nesting bird species as well as any number of mammals including moose, turkey, deer and bear. The upper watershed of the Cushman Brook provides water to the Atkins Reservoir.
Fort River Corridor (including Muddy, Plum and Hop Brooks)
The Fort River and its tributaries help define South Amherst with rich farmland, extensive wetlands, and excellent wildlife habitat. This system is considered one of the most important watersheds state-wide for the diversity of fresh water mussels and includes one federally endangered species. Efforts to preserve more land and improve water quality in these streams are ongoing and are a major focus of the Town and many regional conservation organizations.
Amethyst Brook Corridor
Amethyst Brook and its tributaries provide excellent cold water habitat for native fish including the Eastern Brook Trout. Surrounded by protected forest and farmland, efforts to protect additional acreage will focus on parcels with river frontage and parcel that complete large blocks of contiguous protected lands. The upper reaches of the Amethyst Brook watershed contain the small brooks and streams that supply our reservoirs in Pelham with a clean, consistent supply of water.