TwitterEmailRSSFacebook


DonateCRWA_banner_main

Blog - Charles River Watershed Association

2017 Charles River water quality report: better than before, but room to improve.

Posted by Theo Collins

5/2/18 12:22 PM

It’s here! Yes we’re talking about the weather, as it seems that we’ve finally shaken off winter with some halcyon spring days. But we’re also celebrating the release of CRWA’s The 2017 Charles River Annual Water Quality Report! Since 1995, CRWA's Volunteer Monthly Monitoring Program has used a corps of over 75 volunteer citizen scientists to collect water samples from 35 sites along the Charles and its tributaries once each month and deliver them to us. We deliver these samples to Massachusetts Water Resource Authority (MWRA) to test for various pollutants and then analyze the results that they send back. We post the E. coli results every month, and while this can provide a quick way to gauge the cleanliness of the river on those days, it is only part of the story. The annual water quality report details results from all the parameters we measure in addition to E. coli: Nitrogen, Phosphorous, chlorophyll-a, Enterococcus bacteria, temperature, depth, and macroinvertebrate biodiversity and abundance. Analyzing all of these parameters across the whole year provides a broader perspective and a more general picture of the Charles River ecosystem’s health.

more

Bob Zimmerman in His Own Words

Posted by Alexandra Ash

3/9/18 10:44 AM

Charles River Watershed Association's Executive Director Bob Zimmerman is retiring this summer after nearly three decades at CRWA. An influential environmental leader, Bob was a catalyst in the transformation of the Charles River from a toxic waterway to the cleanest urban river in the country. In a conversation with CRWA member Nick King, Bob reflects on his accomplishments and the road ahead for CRWA. 

more

Findings from summer water sampling

Posted by Catie Colliton

12/1/17 12:20 PM

In its 16th season, our Water Quality Notification Program has continued to keep the public informed of the Charles River’s conditions with the assistance of 10 local boathouse partners in the Lower Basin. Between June 27th and October 19th, our interns collected 140 water samples and took water temperature and depth readings from four sites along the river: the North Beacon Street Bridge, the Larz Anderson Bridge, the Boston University Bridge, and the Longfellow Bridge.

more

10 Ways to Celebrate National Water Quality Month

Posted by Alexandra Ash

8/16/17 12:37 PM

August is National Water Quality Month, a time to focus on what we can do to improve the quality of our rivers, streams and lakes. Healthy waterbodies contribute to healthy communities, support diverse wildlife, and provide recreation opportunities and stimulate economic development.

more

Cyanobacteria bloom is a clear example of why we need environmental protections

Posted by Alexandra Ash

8/3/17 10:26 PM

There is currently a cyanobacteria outbreak in the Charles River, threatening the health of pets and interfering with folks' recreational plans. Based on field observations, the outbreak (or blooms) appears to be limited to the section of the river downstream of the Boston University Bridge. The Department of Conservation and Recreation urges the public to avoid contact with the water and to prevent pets from drinking it. 

more

Make a call today to stop the state from weakening clean water protections

Posted by Margaret VanDeusen

3/13/17 5:05 PM

Updated 3/12/2018

Once again rivers and streams are under threat from attempts to weaken water pollution permits. 

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.  

more

Making Way for the Head of the Charles!

Posted by Alexandra Flowers

10/21/16 5:37 PM

Head of the Charles

Boston skyline from the BU Bridge during the 2014 Head of the Charles Regatta. Source: Bill Damon | CC BY 2.0

Early on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, CRWA interns and volunteers head out on the Charles River along with many others. As rowers head out to prepare for the world renowned race, The Head of the Charles Regatta, we are preparing to test the quality of the water. As we begin our long journey down the Charles to the Longfellow bridge in a small motor boat (trying to dodge all the rowers along the way), we finally make it to the furthest point of our trek about two hours later. We shut the boat off to prepare sample bottles. We will sample water from the Charles River near four different bridges.

more

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.

more

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.

more

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

more

Subscribe to the CRWA Blog:

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.