Blog - Charles River Watershed Association

Take a Tour of Franklin's Best Rain Gardens

Posted by Elisabeth Cianciola

8/19/16 6:28 PM

Got spare time during your drive across Franklin, MA? Check out these hidden gems that were featured in a town rain garden tour on August 17! The Town of Franklin has built and maintains an impressive 15 rain gardens across town in an effort to help capture rainwater as it flows off of streets, parking lots, and rooftops and filter it through the ground before it reaches the Charles River. These rain gardens make a huge impact keeping the river clean and healthy!

WATCH NOW: Franklin Rain Garden Tour


Toward Clean Water in Rio and Boston

Posted by Jaya Rawla

8/19/16 3:42 PM

The 2016 Olympic Games have seen more than 10,000 athletes competing in dozens of sports in Rio de Janeiro. Water sports such as rowing and canoeing took place outdoors on some of Rio’s many waterways including the Marina da Glória. Amidst the sporting fervor, there has been a degree of concern about Rio’s water quality.



Charles River Watershed Association Restores Habitat to Magazine Beach

Posted by Nishaila Porter

8/10/16 5:33 PM

False Indigo

Cut false indigo at Magazine Beach

This year, Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) will restore wildlife habitat and improve water quality in the Charles River. This project is funded by a competitive grant CRWA received from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation through their Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program. The two-year grant was awarded for enhancements to DCR’s Magazine Beach in Cambridgeport and will fund CRWA’s work to restore existing wetlands, add and maintain rain gardens, and remove invasive weeds at the park.


11 Tips to Conserving Water Indoors

Posted by Nishaila Porter

8/9/16 5:39 PM

The Charles River is at record low flows and the entire watershed is in severe or extreme drought. Predictions are that the drought will continue through October. Save water indoors by running full loads in washing machines and dishwashers, shortening showers and flushing toilets less often. Outdoors, stop watering and let your lawn fade to brown. It will revive with cooler weather and rainfall. Join the effort to conserve water.


Charles River in Severe Drought

Posted by Nishaila Porter

8/9/16 2:12 PM

Updated 8/18/2016


Central and Northeast Massachusetts are suffering from severe and extreme drought. Dry conditions have been persistent in New England for the past 5 months. On August 13, Secretary Matthew Beaton issued a drought warning —the highest level before an emergency is declared—for Central and Northeast Massachusetts. EEA recommends banning outdoor water use (excluding agricultural uses). Please do your part to save water during this drought. Stop watering and let your lawn fade to brown. It will revive with cooler weather and rainfall.


2015 Charles River Water Quality

Posted by Alexandra Ash

7/27/16 2:52 PM

Today, the U.S. EPA announced that the lower Charles River scored a B+ for its water quality in 2015. The annual Charles River Report Card focuses on the section of the Charles River downstream of the Watertown Dam and rates its cleanliness based on measured bacteria levels. EPA uses data collected year-round by Charles River Watershed Association's citizen scientist volunteers to assign the water quality grade each year.

CRWA's volunteer monthly monitoring program collects data at 37 sites up and down the river. In addition to bacteria, volunteers monitor water temperature, river depth and other indicators of water quality once a month during every month of the year. Our 2015 Year-End Report details our findings. Below, find some of the key takeaways. 


10 Tips to Conserving Water Outdoors

Posted by Alexandra Ash

7/15/16 5:07 PM

7/26/2016 Update:  The Charles River is at record low flows and the entire watershed is in severe drought. Predictions are that the drought will continue well into October. We are now asking you not to water your lawn during the drought whether or not your town has mandatory watering restrictions. Let your lawn turn brown (see tip #1).


Collaboration Toward a Greener Future

Posted by Robert Zimmerman

7/12/16 6:00 AM

By Charles River Watershed Association and Conservation Law Foundation

Since 1949, the Kendall Cogeneration Station, located near Longfellow Bridge and now owned by Veolia, had been withdrawing 77 million gallons of Charles River water to cool its three turbines. Called “once-through” cooling, the water was pumped through a piping network and used to convert the steam that had already given up most of it’s energy to making electricity back to liquid water.  This cooling water did not contact the steam but absorbed heat that was then discharged back to the Charles River from 10-20 degrees warmer than when withdrawn. The daily volume used ( 77 million gallons) is often greater than the flow of the Charles in summer. Since the ambient surface temperature of the Charles can reach 85 degrees in the summer, the added heat upsets the river ecosystem, contributes to algal blooms, and has contributed to fish kills.


Toward Swimming in the Charles River

Posted by Alexandra Ash

7/11/16 12:35 PM


Charles River Watershed Association is committed to a clean Charles River and supports the efforts to reintroduce swimming to the lower Charles River. Before the river can support a permanent swimming facility, there are a few challenges that must be addressed. We are actively working on providing solutions to each of these challenges. CRWA’s work focuses on restoring the Charles River and creating resilient cities— work that will also make swimming possible. CRWA initiatives are reducing flood impacts, increasing drought resilience, promoting renewable energy production, and creating more livable cities. They will also lead to the nearly full restoration of the Charles River and swimming.


17th Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup

Posted by Nishaila Porter

5/31/16 2:42 PM

Cambridge-CRC-EarthDay04302016_-4_.jpgAn effort to beautify the Charles River and surrounding parklands came to fruition on Saturday, April 30th, as the Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) in collaboration with a team of diverse local organizations including: Charles River Conservancy, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, The Esplanade Association, State Senator Will Brownsberger’s office and The Waltham Land Trust hosted the 17th Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup. This day, representative of communal efforts to preserve public space is in coalition with the American Rivers National River Cleanup.


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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.