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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.

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Green Streets: A prescription for water pollution

Posted by Nick King

4/24/18 10:58 AM

Guest blog post by fisherman, retired Boston Globe writer and CRWA volunteer Nick King

I woke up recently with a nasty case of pavement anxiety disorder. I was anxious about all the potholes on my street and why they weren’t being fixed. But I was even more anxious about the sheer expanse of pavement everywhere - and how that was holding Mother Nature’s rainwater hostage.

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3 ways CRWA uses nature-based solutions to reduce floods, droughts and water pollution

Posted by Kate Bowditch

3/22/18 1:06 PM

Today, as I write this post, it’s World Water Day, celebrated around the world as an opportunity to highlight successes, share ideas and stories and focus attention on the importance of water. This year’s World Water Day theme is ‘Nature for Water’ – exploring nature-based solutions to the water challenges we face in the 21st century.

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Visioning a better Mass Pike Allston Interchange

Posted by Margaret VanDeusen

3/12/18 3:12 PM

As you may have heard, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (massDOT) plans to rebuild the Mass Pike Allston Interchange over the next decade to replace aging infrastructure. Meanwhile, Harvard University is developing plans for its Enterprise Research Campus nearby. The concurrence of these projects while Boston is striving to achieve climate resiliency provides an exceptional opportunity to create a green neighborhood which promotes access to the river while providing resiliency to climate change. It's an opportunity we can't afford to miss.

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The best use of Widett Circle? Don’t develop it at all

Posted by Robert Zimmerman

1/5/18 1:57 PM

As Boston recovers from winter storm Greyson,  we are reminded of the serious damage and flooding a severe storm can cause our communities. Yesterday's storm dropped 17 inches of snow on the greater Boston area and flooded coastal communities. Record high tides flooded Boston's Seaport District, damaging property, halting travel and creating dangerous conditions for anyone who needed to venture out. The storm serves as a reminder that we need to take steps to prepare Boston and coastal communities for the extreme storms and intense flooding that will accompany climate change. And we need to do it now.

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Highlights from 2017

Posted by Alexandra Ash

12/17/17 8:19 PM

2017 was a busy year for environmental organizations nationwide—including Charles River Watershed Association— as we fought for the continued enforcement of environmental laws. On a local level in Massachusetts, we advocated for policies and projects that will help our communities adapt to extreme storms and frequent drought. Throughout the year we continued our core field science work and expanded the Blue Cities demonstration projects that are greening neighborhoods throughout the watershed. Each day we do this work we are thankful to you for making it possible!

Please consider giving a year-end gift to support CRWA's powerful advocacy and river restoration in 2018.

 Donate

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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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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. 

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2016 Charles River water quality report indicates room for improvement

Posted by Katie Friedman

4/24/17 4:37 PM

Looking_upriver_at_the_Cochrane_Dam_by_Nick_King-177017-edited.jpg

Dry riverbed, Charles River downstream of Cochrane Dam, Needham-Dover line. Photo by Nick King

CRWA’s Volunteer Monthly Monitoring (VMM) program provides data that can be used to better understand the health of the Charles River and its tributaries. In addition to providing the public with an easily-accessible picture of the health of the Charles through EPA's annual Charles River Report Card, the data collected also enable CRWA to identify problem areas so that remediation efforts can be focused more efficiently.

 

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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.  

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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.