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Blog - Charles River Watershed Association

Apratim Sahay

Blue Cities Intern

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3 Ways CRWA Counters Nonpoint Source Water Pollution

Posted by Apratim Sahay

7/17/15 7:00 AM

Algae in the Charles River
                Overnourished by phosphorus and nitrogen carried into the Charles by nonpoint sources, Blue-green Algae thrive at the expense of other aquatic organisms

Perhaps you have heard WGBH's recent series Water Pressure discussing nonpoint source water pollution and are curious about CRWA's strategies to address this threat to the Charles River. Nonpoint source pollution (NPS) occurs when rainfall, snowmelt, or irrigation moves over the ground, picks up man-made and natural pollutants and deposits them, untreated, into our rivers, lakes and coastal water bodies. Imagine a drop of rain slapping onto an oily and grimy street, or a pesticide-rich lawn, picking up speed and contaminants in equal measure, then flowing through drains and unloading directly into a waterway. Because of its diffuse nature, NPS pollution is a challenge to address. The sheer variety and scale of nonpoint sources is staggering: sediments eroding from riverbanks or construction sites; fuels, grease and heavy metals leaking from cars and running off roads; car exhaust and power plant emissions; fertilizers and herbicides washing off agricultural lands and lawns. CRWA has long been working to reduce nonpoint source pollution, and has developed a multi-disciplinary strategy combining our strengths in science, advocacy and design to reduce nonpoint source pollution to the Charles River

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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.