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Blog - Charles River Watershed Association

24 Tips to Save Water

Posted by Alexandra Ash

6/19/17 12:39 PM

Water conservation is important to make sure that there is enough water for drinking, growing food and fighting fires, especially in the summer and during periods of drought. Water shortages not only impact your community, they also harm the Charles River. The more water cities and towns need to pump to meet the demand of their residents, the less groundwater makes its way into the Charles River, harming fish and wildlife. If you live in Dedham and Westwood, you can download a free app to track your water usage and save water! 

Below are some water saving tips to get you started saving water. 

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Charles River Herring Run 2017

Posted by Elisabeth Cianciola

5/18/17 12:00 PM

Blog post by CRWA's Aquatic Scientist

The herring are back! It's that time of year; alewife and bluback herring have once again returned to the Charles River to spawn. Estimates of the river herring population on the Charles run upwards of 300,000 fish, making our herring run one of the largest in Massachusetts. Based on historic observations, we expect that the majority of herring, approximately 80% of the run, will pass through the Watertown Dam within the next week. The fish ladder the herring will use to swim against the current over the dam is on the southern bank of the river, but you can easily see the fish waiting in calmer waters under trees just below the dam from the Charles River Greenway on the north bank of the river. If you have polarized sunglasses, you can get an even better view! If you are unable to walk or bike to the Watertown Dam, limited parking is available at the DCR parking lot off of Pleasant Street on the north side of the river and on the side of California Street on the south side of the River. Fish that pass over the Watertown Dam continue their journey upstream in search of streams that feed into the Charles River, such as Beaver Brook and Stony Brook in Waltham and the newly-restored Fuller Brook, Rosemary Brook, and Waban Brook in Wellesley. Some herring do not continue up to the Watertown Dam after passing through the locks at Boston Harbor and instead swim up the Muddy River in Boston. If you see herring or other fish in the Charles River or one of its tributary streams, send us your photos on Facebook or Twitter!

 

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Stocking the Charles River with Trout

Posted by Nick King

5/11/17 10:42 AM

Guest blog post by fisherman, retired Boston Globe writer and CRWA volunteer Nick King

Much has been written, and rightly so, about the tremendous progress that has been made in cleaning up the Charles so that it is, at times, a swimmable river. Much less publicized is the fact that the Charles is increasingly fishable too, and I don’t mean just for its plentiful native bass, pickerel, carp and panfish but also for the wiliest and most sought-after species the trout.

 

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Identifying Invasive Plants in the Charles River

Posted by Elisabeth Cianciola

5/3/17 10:18 AM

The aquatic plant community in the Charles River watershed is unfortunately dominated by invasive plants. Polluted stormwater runoff carrying nutrient pollution allows these plants to grow out of control. Here are a few of the most common invasive aquatic plants you’ll encounter along the Charles.

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2016 Charles River water quality report indicates room for improvement

Posted by Katie Friedman

4/24/17 4:37 PM

Looking_upriver_at_the_Cochrane_Dam_by_Nick_King-177017-edited.jpg

Dry riverbed, Charles River downstream of Cochrane Dam, Needham-Dover line. Photo by Nick King

CRWA’s Volunteer Monthly Monitoring (VMM) program provides data that can be used to better understand the health of the Charles River and its tributaries. In addition to providing the public with an easily-accessible picture of the health of the Charles through EPA's annual Charles River Report Card, the data collected also enable CRWA to identify problem areas so that remediation efforts can be focused more efficiently.

 

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Green Budget: Massachusetts needs 1% for the environment

Posted by Alexandra Ash

4/18/17 1:31 PM

Currently only 0.5% of the state operating budget supports environmental agencies, agencies that are asked to do more with less—including responding to the drought, reducing emissions, ensuring clean water and preparing for the impacts of climate change.CRWA, as a member of the Green Budget Coalition, advocates for allocating 1% of the state budget for the environment. The Green Budget recommendations include increased spending for climate change adaptation, improving water quality, protecting wetlands, restoring habitat and maintaining parks.

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Take action to protect the environment and the Charles River

Posted by Alexandra Ash

3/24/17 2:11 PM

Updated 4/18/2017

Looking for ways to get more involved in in protecting the environment? Let your voice be heard! Now more than ever, effective laws, policies, regulations, and permits, and their strong implementation at the local, state and federal levels matter for the environment and the Charles River. Grassroots action often makes the difference. Sign up for The River Current, CRWA’s e-newsletterto receive action alerts and project news. Click here to read our recent action alert

Below are a few ideas to get you started.  

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In Bellingham, the Charles River now flows more freely

Posted by Elisabeth Cianciola

3/23/17 2:40 PM

Charles River Flows Free

The Charles River after the removal of the  Old Mill Dam in Bellingham. Photo by Allen Orsi. 

After more than a year spent permitting the project and four months of on-site work dredging sediment and deconstructing the Old Mill Dam, the Charles River now flows freely from the North Bellingham dam to the West Medway dam. Although revegetation of the river banks and the newly-capped backwatering area that has been filled with dredged sediment will take several months (not much will grow through the recent snow!), the restoration project is now complete with the exception of the construction of a stormwater treatment basin that will clean runoff from Pearl Street before it makes its way to the river.

 

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Proposed changes to NPDES permitting threaten Massachusetts' rivers

Posted by Margaret VanDeusen

3/13/17 5:05 PM

Last week Governor Baker reintroduced a bill opposed by environmentalists last legislative session that would allow Massachusetts to take over the water pollution permitting program from U.S. EPA. Under the federal Clean Water Act, EPA currently regulates discharges of stormwater, wastewater and industrial pollution into our waterways.  The governor’s bill would enable the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to assume “primacy” for issuing these permits, known as National Pollution Discharge Elimination System, or NPDES, permits. 

Charles River Watershed Association, the Massachusetts Rivers Alliance and other environmental groups oppose this bill because it will provide no environmental benefit and cost MA taxpayers millions of dollars each year. MassDEP is also already struggling to perform core monitoring, assessment, reporting and research on water quality across the state.  

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The Muddy River Then and Now: Water Quality in 2006 vs. 2016

Posted by Elisabeth Cianciola

1/23/17 5:33 PM

The Muddy River, which runs a course of 2.9 miles from Jamaica Pond to the Charles River, is the most significant tributary of the lower Charles River. As a prominent feature of the famous Emerald Necklace parks, its fate was marginally better than most tributaries of the lower Charles in that it was only partially buried and not completely buried in the frenzy to make more land available around Boston in the early 1900’s. Nonetheless, the river was seriously impacted by this human interference. The river lost some of its natural ability to flush sediment that accumulates in the river as a result of stormwater runoff and was unable to adequately dissipate flooding across its floodplain. Severe flooding in the 1990’s made it clear that the human-altered Muddy River system was not working, and an effort to restore the river’s natural characteristics was needed.

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About Charles River Watershed Association:

One of the country's oldest watershed organizations, Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) was formed in 1965 in response to public concern about the declining condition of the Charles. Since its earliest days of advocacy, CRWA has figured prominently in major clean-up and watershed protection efforts, working with government officials and citizen groups from 35 Massachusetts watershed towns from Hopkinton to Boston. Initiatives over the last fifty years have dramatically improved the quality of water in the watershed and fundamentally changed approaches to water resource management.