Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council

At A Glance


Alicia Lehrer


Providence, Rhode Island

Primary Issue Area:

  • Environmental Health
  • Climate Change & Energy
  • Land & Water

Active since:


Tax Status:


Core volunteers:


Community Size:


Our Purpose

Our purpose is to build capacity among resident and student leaders in impaired and climate vulnerable lower Woonasquatucket River Watershed (WRW) neighborhoods - Olneyville, Hartford and Manton - to develop power, relationships, and access to resources so frontline initiatives and projects can best address environmental justice and public health challenges in ways that are most impactful to their communities. Issues include: 1) Climate change related flooding from excessive stormwater and sea level rise; 2) Poor water, air and habitat quality; 3) Urban Heat Island; 4) Proximity to transportation; and 5) Lack of decision/voice over what happens in their neighborhoods. To uplift and amplify climate justice and resilience from within, WRWC launched Nuevas Voces (New Voices) in 2019, as an outgrowth for neighborhood residents of WRWC’s long standing high school Environmental Leaders (EL) program funded over many years through NEGEF’s Young Leaders Grants. Nuevas Voces quickly evolved into cohort training programs and an umbrella for student- and resident-led projects and initiatives that engage mostly Spanish speaking communities in collaborating to assure their own safety and resilience. Nuevas Voces has successfully paved the way for greater power sharing within our organization and across our sector; and is a now a critical WRWC anchor with strong leadership teams, partnerships, projects, and programs of its own we are seeking to grow.