Blog - Charles River Watershed Association

Amy Rothe

Recent Posts

CRWA and Citizens Strengthen Tidelands Protection at Daly Field

Posted by Amy Rothe

4/7/15 1:53 PM

Boston Porous Alley Receives Award for Engineering Excellence

Posted by Amy Rothe

3/20/15 7:06 AM

Alley_signOn March 18, 2015 at the ACEC/MA Excellence and Awards Gala, Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) and the Boston Public Works Department (BPWD) were honored as VHB received the Bronze Award for Innovative Engineering in recognition for the City of Boston’s Porous Alley Project. The annual ACEC/MA Engineering Excellence Awards Competition recognize achievements in engineering that demonstrate the highest degree of merit and ingenuity, while honoring the firms and clients who contributed to such projects.


CRWA Submits Comments in Response to EPA’s Draft Small MS4 Permit

Posted by Amy Rothe

3/5/15 4:51 PM

MS4 Comments - Charles River Watershed Association
Algal bloom in the Charles River

On September 30, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its long-awaited Draft General Permit for stormwater discharges from small municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4). This new permit will apply to every municipality in the Charles River watershed except Boston, which is regulated by an individual permit, and also to the Ma Department of Conservation and Recreation and the MA Department of Transportation.


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.  


Environmental Groups to Bring Suit Against EPA in Violation of Stormwater Regulations

Posted by Amy Rothe

2/11/15 3:10 PM

Stormwater Pollution - Charles River Watershed AssociationOn February 10, 2015, Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) and Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) notified the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of their intent to sue the agency for its failure to notify certain commercial, industrial, institutional and high density residential property owners with large amounts of paved and impervious surfaces that they must obtain permits to discharge their stormwater runoff into the Charles River. CRWA and CLF assert that failure to obtain such permits is a violation of the Clean Water Act.

Pollution from stormwater runoff is a major threat to the Charles River today. As rain or snowmelt flows over paved surfaces like streets and parking lots, it collects contaminants including phosphorus, bacteria, road salt and sediment before flowing into storm drains which then discharge directly into the river and its tributaries.

“CRWA analysis has shown that pavement and parking lots are the number one source of phosphorus pollution in the Charles River,” said Robert Zimmerman, Executive Director. “If we’re ever going to restore the river, stormwater runoff from these large paved areas must be addressed.”

Excessive phosphorus, a fertilizer, has resulted in numerous blue - green algae, or cyanobacteria blooms, in the Charles over the last few years. When present in large numbers, the algal blooms produce toxins harmful to humans, dogs, and other mammals if ingested in large doses. Last summer, a recreational public swim in the Charles River Lower Basin was postponed due to the presence of cyanobacteria. 


CRWA Sees the Allston I-90 Interchange Project as an Opportunity for Charles River Restoration

Posted by Amy Rothe

12/19/14 12:19 PM

Allston I-90 Interchange - Charles River Watershed AssociationThe Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has embarked on a plan to rebuild the Allston interchange of the I-90 Massachusetts Turnpike (Mass Pike) by 2020. Built in 1965, the existing Allston viaduct is approaching the end of its useful lifespan and must be replaced to avoid becoming structurally deficient and impacting efficient traffic operations. Additionally, the Commonwealth will be transitioning to all electronic tolling (AET) and as a result, the existing Allston toll plaza and its supporting highway geometry is no longer needed. These two conditions create a unique opportunity to not only improve the highway infrastructure, but also reshape the landscape and redefine the connection between the Allston-Brighton neighborhood and the Charles River. 


Mayor Marty Walsh Unveils Boston's New Porous Alley

Posted by Amy Rothe

11/24/14 11:49 AM

Alley_signOn Friday, November 21, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Assistant Commissioner Bethany Card joined Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA), the Boston Public Works Department (PWD), and Boston Groundwater Trust (BGwT), for a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the City’s new Porous Alley in the South End.


Landmark US-China Climate Deal Inspired by the Cleanup of the Charles River

Posted by Amy Rothe

11/14/14 4:52 PM

Charles_River_Lower_BasinIn a historic agreement this week, the U.S. and China pledged to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next 15 years. As it turns out, according to an article in the Washington Post, the climate pact was inspired, in part, by the successful cleanup of the Charles River.


Help CRWA Secure Funding for Phase 2 of the Muddy River Restoration Project

Posted by Amy Rothe

10/31/14 5:23 PM



Over last few decades, the effects of climate change have shed light on Massachusetts’ myriad vulnerabilities to both coastal and riverine flooding. The Muddy River, a series of brooks and ponds that flow through the southern portion of the Town of Brookline and into Boston’s Emerald Necklace, has experienced flooding on numerous occasions, ranging from common nuisance flooding to catastrophic events such as the flood of 1996 which caused nearly $60 million in damage. This flood resulted in a submerged Kenmore Station and over six months of debilitating repairs.

The flooding is a result in part of the paving of the surrounding landscape in the 1950’s to make room for industry parking lots, as the river was diverted into a series of underground pipes and restricted channels that ultimately proved unable to accommodate heavy storm flows. Given its proximity to nearby colleges, museums, commercial properties, residences and MBTA stations, the Muddy River posed a severe threat to communities during periods of heavy rain.

Restoring the Muddy River


Let's Stop Litter on November 4: Vote Yes on Question 2

Posted by Amy Rothe

10/31/14 2:34 PM

Yes_on_2_logoOn Election Day, November 4, voters will finally get to decide whether to update the Bottle Bill. And in this next week, over 30 million bottles will be littered or tossed in the trash just in Massachusetts alone.


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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.