Blog - Charles River Watershed Association

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.


The Year in Review- Highlights from 2016

Posted by Alexandra Ash

12/14/16 9:59 AM

2016 marked important milestones for the restoration of the Charles River and its watershed: the elimination of heat pollution from the Kendall Power Plant, the daylighting of the Muddy River, and the removal of the hazardous sandbar near Brighton. 2016 also saw the worst drought since the 1960's, persistent stormwater pollution, another cyanobacteria bloom in the Charles River Lower Basin, and the nomination of a new US EPA Administrator who questions climate change. Through it all, CRWA passionately continued our work throughout the watershed developing smart, green water infrastructure, promoting restorative ways to reduce stormwater pollution and flooding, and advocating for strong and effective water policy and regulations. We couldn't have done this work without you—thank you! 

Below are just a few of the highlights from 2016. 



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 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.


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.


Rethinking Urban Infrastructure

Posted by Alexandra Ash

3/23/16 4:24 PM

Charles River Watershed Association is designing and promoting infrastructure that will solve the problems of today and allow us to adapt to a changing future. Explore the conversation below to see what people are saying about CWERCs and to learn about the individual technologies that come together in this innovative new take on wastewater.


Upcoming federal regulations will help protect the Charles River

Posted by Alexandra Ash

2/23/16 10:03 AM

A recent article in the Boston Globe "US set to force cleanup of river" describes the new stormwater general permit that the U.S. EPA will be issuing next month. The MS4 (Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) permit will regulate the stormwater that towns and cities discharge to the Charles River and to water bodies throughout the state. Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) has advocated for this overdue permit, which should have been issued in 2008 and which has already gone through two public comment periods. 



Water Transformation Part 14: Reality Assessment

Posted by Robert Zimmerman

1/26/16 1:02 PM

PREVIOUS POST: Water Transformation Part 13 - Blue Cities Exchange

Charles River Watershed Association’s vision for transforming our urban landscape, the work I have discussed in this blog series, recently received some coverage in the local media, first with an article in the Boston Globe, and later the same day on Radio Boston. These pieces begin to scratch the surface by introducing the basic concepts. Given the recent media attention, I would like to respond to a few elements of the coverage and ensuing discussion, clear up some misconceptions, and give a direct report on where we are now.


Rethinking Urban Infrastructure

Posted by Julie Dyer Wood

1/4/16 2:52 PM

Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) is rethinking urban infrastructure. We are focusing on design solutions that use or mimic natural processes. We are looking to reestablish natural water, carbon and nutrient cycles within our human environments. We are designing and promoting infrastructure that will solve the problems of today and allow us to adapt to a changing future. As an urban watershed association, CRWA has always believed that we can and must design our cities in a way that allows human and ecological systems to co-exist and thrive in close proximity.



The Year in Review- Highlights from 2015

Posted by Alexandra Ash

12/17/15 12:44 PM

2015 was an exciting year for Charles River Watershed Association. In addition to celebrating our 50th Anniversary, in 2015 CRWA designed and implemented several projects that demonstrate our Blue Cities strategies, continued our field science program to better understand the Charles River, and advocated for policies to protect the Charles River. This was all made possible by support from friends just like you.

Below are just a few of the highlights from 2015. 



Charles River Gateway Opens at Former Medfield State Hospital

Posted by Alexandra Ash

11/3/15 9:48 AM

Medfield Charles River Gateway

Last Friday, CRWA joined Medfield residents, the MA Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM), Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and The Trustees of Reservations to celebrate the opening of the Medfield Charles River Gateway located on the site of a 3.3 -acre landfill that was used as a dumping ground for 100 years by the Medfield State Hospital. The restoration removed contaminants from the shore and the river, restored wetlands and wildlife habitat, and enhances public access to the Charles River. The Gateway serves as a model of successful river restoration and demonstrates what citizen advocacy, cooperation, and creative thinking brings to environmental work.



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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.