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Blog - Charles River Watershed Association

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.

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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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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.

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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. 

 

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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.

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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.

 

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Water Transformation Part 13: Blue Cities Exchange

Posted by Robert Zimmerman

8/6/15 10:34 AM

PREVIOUS POST: Water Transformation Part 12 - Paying for Green Infrastructure  and Restored Streams

In Part 12, I introduced one of the tools CRWA has been developing to help drive down costs for the installation of blue/green infrastructure, while potentially providing income to help restore streams and rivers. This tool is an interactive website called Blue Cities Exchange.

 

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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: A Brief Pause

Posted by Robert Zimmerman

6/29/15 11:37 AM

 

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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.