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Blog - Charles River Watershed Association

9 Ways to Combat Cyanobacteria Blooms in the Charles River

Posted by Allie Rowe

10/10/16 3:48 PM

What is cyanobacteria? Why is it a concern?

cyanobacteria

Cyanobacteria bloom in a freshwater pond
Source: Christian Fischer | CC BY-SA 3.0

Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, are microorganisms that obtain their energy through photosynthesis and live in aquatic environments. Cyanobacteria populations can grow rapidly in fresh water, brackish water, or seawater during events known as “blooms.” Blooms often appear as dense green mats floating on or just below the water’s surface. Cyanobacteria blooms can produce toxins that harm humans, dogs, and wildlife. Exposure to these toxins may irritate the eyes, ears, and skin, and can also damage to the liver and nervous system. Emerging science shows a possible link to neurodegenerative diseases and a possibility of exposure through inhalation. Thick mats of cyanobacteria block sunlight and oxygen from entering the water, smothering fish and other aquatic organisms.

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Cyanobacteria Outbreak in Lower Charles River

Posted by Alexandra Ash

8/30/16 4:06 PM

Water samples collected last Thursday confirmed a cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, outbreak in the Charles River Lower Basin downstream of the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge.

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Good News for Renewable Energy

Posted by Nishaila Porter

8/24/16 12:21 PM

Energy bill signed into law
Barrow Offshore wind turbines

Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm, England.
Source: Andy Dingley, edit Muhammad | CC BY-SA 3.0


On August 8th, Governor Baker signed into law “An Act to Promote Energy Diversity.” While not perfect, the law moves Massachusetts in the right direction by supporting renewable energy.  It will allow Massachusetts to diversify its energy supply and to meet Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction mandates imposed under the 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA). The GWSA calls for all sectors to reduce GHG emissions by 25% by 2020 and by 80% by 2050. By facilitating the production of hydroelectric and offshore wind power, the energy law will help the Commonwealth comply with these mandates. The offshore wind power will be the nation’s first commercial scale offshore wind farm. These power sources will further advance renewable and clean power technology in Massachusetts. 

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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

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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).
 

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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.