Watuppa Ponds

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Watuppa Ponds
Watuppa Ponds USGS map.jpg
USGS map of Watuppa Ponds
Location Fall River and Westport, Massachusetts
Coordinates 41°41′00″N71°07′00″W / 41.68333°N 71.11667°W / 41.68333; -71.11667 Coordinates: 41°41′00″N71°07′00″W / 41.68333°N 71.11667°W / 41.68333; -71.11667
Type natural
Primary inflows Spring-fed, also Sucker Brook, Stony Brook, King Philip Brook, Queen Gutter Brook
Primary outflows Quequechan River
Basin  countriesUnited States
Max. length7.5 mi (12.1 km) (both ponds)
Max. width1.0 mi (1.6 km) (average)
Surface areaNorth 1,805 acres (730 ha)
South 1,551 acres (628 ha)
Average depth15 ft (4.6 m) (South Watuppa)
Max. depth22 ft (6.7 m) (South Watuppa)
25 ft (7.6 m) (North Watuppa)
Surface elevation131 ft (40 m)
Sections/sub-basinsSouth Wattupa Pond, North Wattupa Pond
South Watuppa Pond South Watuppa view FR.jpg
South Watuppa Pond
Bike path along South Watuppa Pond, Fall River, Massachusetts Fall River bike path.jpg
Bike path along South Watuppa Pond, Fall River, Massachusetts

The Watuppa Ponds are two large, naturally occurring, spring-fed, glacially formed ponds located in Fall River and Westport, Massachusetts. Watuppa is a native word meaning "place of boats". [1] The two ponds were originally one body of water (originally one lake), connected by a narrow rocky straight called "The Narrows" located on a thin strip of land between the two ponds which forms part boundary of between Fall River and Westport. The border between Fall River and Westport is also divided between the two ponds. [2] Together, the ponds have an overall north-south length of about 7.5 miles (or 8 miles including the pond swamps), and have an average east-west width of about a mile. [3] The ponds are drained by the Quequechan River, and flows in a westerly direction through the center of Fall River from South Watuppa Pond to Mount Hope Bay.

Fall River, Massachusetts City in Massachusetts, United States

Fall River is a city in Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States. The City of Fall River is located approximately 53 miles (85 km) south of Boston, 17 miles (27 km) southeast of Providence, Rhode Island, 20 miles (32 km) south of Taunton, 12 miles (19 km) west of New Bedford, 20 miles (32 km) north of Newport, Rhode Island, and 200 miles (320 km) northeast of New York City. The City of Fall River's population was 87,103 at the 2010 census, making it the tenth-largest city in the state.

Westport, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Westport is a town in Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 15,532 at the 2010 census.

Massachusetts State of the United States of America

Massachusetts, officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It borders on the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island to the south, New Hampshire and Vermont to the north, and New York to the west. The state is named after the Massachusett tribe, which once inhabited the east side of the area, and is one of the original thirteen states. The capital of Massachusetts is Boston, which is also the most populous city in New England. Over 80% of Massachusetts's population lives in the Greater Boston metropolitan area, a region influential upon American history, academia, and industry. Originally dependent on agriculture, fishing and trade, Massachusetts was transformed into a manufacturing center during the Industrial Revolution. During the 20th century, Massachusetts's economy shifted from manufacturing to services. Modern Massachusetts is a global leader in biotechnology, engineering, higher education, finance, and maritime trade.



With a surface area of 1,805 acres, (1760 acres [4] ) The North Watuppa Pond is the second-largest naturally occurring body of water within Massachusetts. [5] It is about 4.2 miles long in the north-south direction, and averages about a mile in width. The North Watuppa Pond has 12.4 miles of shoreline and has a maximum depth of 25 feet and is strictly off limits to the public for any recreation. [4] It has been used as the City of Fall River's primary drinking water supply since 1873, when the Fall River Waterworks was built on its western shore, at the end of Bedford Street. It drains into South Watuppa Pond by a small channel at its southern end, in an area known as The Narrows. The northeastern shore of North Watuppa Pond, known as Copicut Reservation, is sparsely developed, and contains a vast area of protected land as part of the city's water supply. Several small streams drain into the pond, including King Philip Brook, Queen Gutter Brook, and Blossom Brook, among others. The north end of North Watuppa Pond is crossed by a stone causeway, at the end of Wilson Road. The western shore of the reservoir contains a man-made canal that diverts stormwater runoff from the city to South Watuppa Pond. Public access to North Watuppa Pond restricted, and the area is regularly patrolled by the City's Water Department. All activities including fishing, boating, swimming or skating are strictly prohibited. Including the pond swamp north of the causeway The North and South Watuppa Ponds together represent a complete 7.5 to 8 mile body of water.

Fall River Waterworks

Fall River Waterworks is a 22-acre (8.9 ha) historic site located at the eastern end Bedford Street in Fall River, Massachusetts, along the shore of North Watuppa Pond. The property, which is still used as a water works for the city, contains the original pumping station, intake house and 121-foot (37 m) tall standpipe water tower. The system was originally built between 1872 and 1875, and expanded or upgraded many times. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.

Causeway Route raised up on an embankment

A causeway is a track, road or railway on top of an embankment across "a low, or wet place, or piece of water". It can be constructed of earth, masonry, wood, or concrete. One of the earliest known wooden causeways is the Sweet Track in the Somerset Levels, England, that dates from the Neolithic age. Timber causeways may also be described as both boardwalks and bridges.

The South Watuppa Pond contains 1,551 acres (1446 acres [4] ), and is the third-largest naturally occurring body of water within Massachusetts. [5] The trumpet-shaped pond is about 3.0 miles long. It is about 0.5 miles wide at its southern end and about 1.5 miles wide at its northern end, with a large cove on the Westport side. The South Watuppa Pond contains 10.4 miles of shoreline and is on average 15 feet deep and contains maximum depth of 22 feet. [4] It is fed by a combination of springs and streams, including Sucker Brook near its eastern shore which flows from Stafford Pond in nearby Tiverton, Rhode Island, as well as from the south by Stony Brook, which drains Sawdy Pond and Devol Pond. South Watuppa Pond is a popular fishing area with boat access from a city-managed public boat ramp located off the end of Jefferson Street, in an area known as "Dave's Beach". [6] Some common fish species in the pond include Largemouth bass, Smallmouth bass, Tiger muskie, White perch and Black Crappie. [7]

Tiverton, Rhode Island Town in Rhode Island, United States

Tiverton is a town in Newport County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 15,780 at the 2010 census.

Largemouth bass species of fish

The largemouth bass is a carnivorous freshwater gamefish in the Centrarchidae (sunfish) family, a species of black bass native to much of the United States And Northern Mexico. It is known by a variety of regional names, such as the widemouth bass, bigmouth bass, black bass, bucketmouth, largies, Potter's fish, Florida bass, Florida largemouth, green bass, Green trout, gilsdorf bass, Oswego bass, southern largemouth and (paradoxically) northern largemouth, LMB. The largemouth bass is the state fish of Georgia, Mississippi, and Indiana, the state freshwater fish of Florida and Alabama, and the state sport fish of Tennessee.

Smallmouth bass species of fish

The smallmouth bass is a species of freshwater fish in the sunfish family (Centrarchidae) of the order Perciformes. It is the type species of its genus. One of the black basses, it is a popular game fish sought by anglers throughout the temperate zones of North America, and has been spread by stocking—as well as illegal introductions—to many cool-water tributaries and lakes in Canada and more so introduced in the United States. The maximum recorded size is approximately 27 inches and 12 pounds. The smallmouth bass is native to the upper and middle Mississippi River basin, the Saint Lawrence River–Great Lakes system, and up into the Hudson Bay basin. Its common names include smallmouth, bronzeback, brown bass, brownie, smallie, bronze bass, and bareback bass.


Prior to the 1862 boundary adjustment between Massachusetts and Rhode Island, South Watuppa Pond was located entirely within the town of Tiverton, Rhode Island, as was the southern third of North Watuppa Pond. [8]

Rhode Island State of the United States of America

Rhode Island, officially the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest state in area, the seventh least populous, the second most densely populated, and it has the longest official name of any state. Rhode Island is bordered by Connecticut to the west, Massachusetts to the north and east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south via Rhode Island Sound and Block Island Sound. It also shares a small maritime border with New York. Providence is the state capital and most populous city in Rhode Island.

North Watuppa Pond once contained several ice houses along its western shore, beginning in the 1840s. The granite walls of one of these ice houses, built in 1864 by Robert Cook and William Durfee, still exist on a peninsula near the end of New Boston Road, at what was once known as Interlachen, the estate of Spencer Borden, founder of the Fall River Bleachery. Interlachen once contained a large mansion, gardens, horse pastures and a network of bridle paths. The house was demolished after the city acquired the land by eminent domain for the protection of the water supply. The foundation is all that remains of the Borden mansion today, and the land has mostly reverted to woods.

Fall River Bleachery

Fall River Bleachery is an historic textile bleachery on Jefferson Street in Fall River, Massachusetts.

Bridle path path, trail or a thoroughfare that is used by horse riders

A bridle path, also bridleway, equestrian trail, horse riding path, ride, bridle road, or horse trail, is a path, trail or a thoroughfare that is used by people riding on horses. Trails originally created for use by horses often now serve a wider range of users, including equestrians, hikers, and cyclists. Such paths are either impassable for motorized vehicles, or vehicles are banned. The laws relating to allowable uses vary from country to country.

Eminent domain the power of a state or a national government to take private property for public use

Eminent domain, land acquisition, compulsory purchase, resumption, resumption/compulsory acquisition (Australia), or expropriation is the power of a state, provincial, or national government to take private property for public use. However, this power can be legislatively delegated by the state to municipalities, government subdivisions, or even to private persons or corporations, when they are authorized by the legislature to exercise the functions of public character.

Until 1872, small steam-boats carried passengers from downtown Fall River to a picnic area on the eastern shore of North Watuppa Pond in Westport known as Adirondack Grove. [2]

In 1875, the Fall River Railroad was completed along the north shore of South Watuppa Pond, over the Narrows. It provided a rail link from New Bedford to the eastern part of Fall River. The line carried freight traffic until the early 1980s. Eventually, the road connecting Fall River with Westport became designated as U.S. Route 6. It originally ran along the southern edge of North Watuppa Pond, creating a small pond between the road and the railroad, that became a popular spot for recreation, including ice skating in the winter. The adjacent north shore of South Watuppa Pond was for many years occupied by boat clubs, restaurants and other recreational establishments. [9]

The Fall River Expressway was built along the western shore of North Watuppa Pond in the early 1950s. Now known as Route 24, it was later extended toward Tiverton along the western shore of South Watuppa Pond. In 1963, Interstate 195 was constructed through the Narrows dividing North and South Watuppa Ponds. Route 6 was re-routed to the south along Martine Street, and the small pond was filled in.

Historically, several textile factories have been located on the northern shores of South Watuppa Pond, including the Fall River Bleachery, Kerr Thread Mills, Lincoln Manufacturing Company, Stevens Manufacturing Company and Heywood Narrow Fabric Company. The eastern and southwestern shores of the pond is currently surrounded by many private residences, and public access is fairly limited. Many of these residences were damaged during the historic floods of March 2010. [10]

The pond is also used for many recreational sports such as tubing, knee boarding and wake boarding and water skiing. The former railroad bed has also been converted into a multi-use rail trail.

See also

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  1. "History of Fall River: With Notices of Freetown and Tiverton". Almy & Milne, Printers. 19 April 2018. Retrieved 19 April 2018 via Google Books.
  2. 1 2 Mass, Merchants Association, Fall River (19 April 2018). "History of Fall River, Massachusetts". Fall River Merchants Association. Retrieved 19 April 2018 via Google Books.
  3. USGS Quadrangle Map
  4. 1 2 3 4 "Green Futures - Open Space Plan". www.greenfutures.org. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  5. 1 2 "CIS: Statistics". www.sec.state.ma.us. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  6. "The Official Website of the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game". state.ma.us. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  7. "Mass Wildlife Map and Info" (PDF). mass.gov. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  8. 1828 Map of Fall River
  9. The Narrows, Carmen Maiocco, 1992
  10. Welker, Grant. "STRANDED: South Watuppa residents among region's hardest-hit". heraldnews.com. Retrieved 19 April 2018.