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Blog - Charles River Watershed Association

Our changing climate, it’s time to act!

Posted by Julie Dyer Wood

9/8/17 12:01 PM

As Houston continues to recover from Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma batters the Caribbean and heads toward Florida, and Mexico prepares for Hurricane Katia, our thoughts go out to all those effected by these devastating storms. As the Boston Globe reports, global climate change is increasing the likelihood and frequency of powerful hurricanes and other storms. The northeast has already experienced a 71% increase between 1958 and 2012 in the amount of rain that falls in very intense storms.

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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. 

 

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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. 

 

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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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Water Transformation Part 11: Thoughts About Finances and Economics

Posted by Robert Zimmerman

5/7/15 4:15 PM


PREVIOUS POST: Water Transformation Part 10 - The Benefits

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Water Transformation Part 10: The Benefits

Posted by Robert Zimmerman

4/15/15 1:01 PM

PREVIOUS POST: Water Transformation Part 9 - Restored Streams and Green  Infrastructure

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Water Transformation Part 8: Distributed Wastewater Treatment Plants

Posted by Robert Zimmerman

3/30/15 1:30 PM

PREVIOUS POST: Water Transformation Part 7 - Beginning the How

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Water Transformation Part 7: Beginning the How

Posted by Robert Zimmerman

3/20/15 3:20 PM

PREVIOUS POST: Water Transformation Part 6: Configuring Transformation II  


Back Bay Charles River - Charles River Watershed AssociationCRWA began what we call our Urban Smart Sewer project in the fall of 2013 with a three year grant from the Scherman Foundation's Rosin Fund, and support from Eaglemere Foundation. Our first orders of business were to discover whether the distributed wastewater treatment plants we had investigated with our Littleton, MA, Smart Sewer project could be sited in dense urban confines. To help us, we put together a technical advisory committee (TAC) made up of principals from federal, state, and Boston agencies.

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Water Transformation Part 6: Configuring Transformation II

Posted by Robert Zimmerman

3/10/15 1:28 PM

PREVIOUS POST: Water Transformation Part 5 - Configuring Transformation I

 

Stream Daylighting - Charles River Watershed Association
Daylighted Saw Mill River, Yonkers, NY
Photo by Zach Youngerman

In my last post, I introduced the concept of distributed wastewater treatment as an important tool for getting distributed energy generation and water reclamation, and increased resilience, while Restoring Nature. Building on the concept, we at Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) have been looking at collecting wastewater, treating it, and infiltrating it into the ground near each of the treatment plants. Most distributed wastewater treatment plant conceptualizations I’ve seen would send reclaimed water once reused back to the piped sewage system it was originally collected from. If we were to do that, though we would capture the energy and reclaimed water, we would miss a significant environmental opportunity.


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Should We Dump Snow in the Charles River or Boston Harbor?

Posted by Amy Rothe

2/20/15 2:32 PM

Snow Removal - Charles River Watershed AssociationAs a result of record snowfall in Massachusetts over the last few weeks, there’s an issue of where to put the snow piling up in storage fields, and now, there is talk of dumping excess snow into our rivers and Boston Harbor.  

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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.