The Herring Ponds Watershed comprises a major portion of the Herring River Watershed Area of Critical Concern (ACEC) which was created in 1991 by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Plymouth ACEC part of the Herring River Watershed contains about 1300 town-listed parcels, most of them residences, corresponding to approximately 5000 residents. The source of our water is the Plymouth Carver Sole Source Aquifer. Covering 199 square miles including all or portions of six communities, this aquifer is one of the largest designated aquifers in New England.
The Herring Ponds Watershed water is supplied via springs originating from the aquifer to Little Herring Pond, a shallow, 90-acre pond at the head of the watershed. The spring water is warm enough to prevent freezing most winters and Little Herring Pond is shallow enough to be an excellent winter home for swans. The Carters River carries water from Little Herring Pond to the much larger (376 acre) Great Herring Pond. The latter is the largest pond in Plymouth and is a full recreation pond hosting excellent swimming and fishing and permitting motor boats and jet skis. Its overflow is carried to the Cape Cod Canal via the Herring River. The Herring Ponds Watershed Association has assumed stewardship of the Herring Ponds Watershed Association since 2008.