Blog - Charles River Watershed Association

Take action to protect the environment and the Charles River

Posted by Alexandra Ash

3/24/17 2:11 PM

Updated 4/18/2017

Looking for ways to get more involved in in protecting the environment? Let your voice be heard! Now more than ever, effective laws, policies, regulations, and permits, and their strong implementation at the local, state and federal levels matter for the environment and the Charles River. Grassroots action often makes the difference. Sign up for The River Current, CRWA’s e-newsletterto receive action alerts and project news. Click here to read our recent action alert

Below are a few ideas to get you started.  

Ask your Massachusetts state legislators to protect the environment  


MA State HouseAsk your state representative and senator to support legislation that protects the environment and addresses climate change impacts. Legislators want to know what their constituents think! Tell them why adequately funding the state’s environmental agencies and strong environmental protection is important to you.

Take action:
Keep an eye out for CRWA’s Action Alert emails asking you to call or write your legislators to support (or oppose) specific bills. Find contact information for your state senator and representative at

Let your members of Congress know that the environment is important to you


US Capitol

Your members of Congress want to hear from you about the new president’s proposed budget slashes to EPA and NOAA that will deeply harm clean air and water, impact public health, worsen the effects of climate change, and reduce scientific research. Let them know that these issues are important to you. Provide local examples when you can of how these changes will impact your community. You can call, email or meet in the district with your members of Congress. Make sure to tell them where you live.  

Take action: Visit and to find your senators and representative and their contact information.  

Comment on proposed regulations, permits and development projects and attend public meetings


Public MeetingYou can attend public meetings held by your city or town’s Selectmen, Planning Board and Conservation Commission to let them know how proposed projects or permits will affect your community, express your opposition, or suggest improvements.  Apply to sit on local boards. Proposed environmental regulations are also open to public comment before they are adopted—you can submit comments by email or letter.

Take action: Information about local projects and issues can be found on your town’s website and in your local newspaper. Talk to your neighbors about upcoming projects and issues of concern. Get involved early in local hearings. Board meeting agendas are required to be posted in advance. Sign up for email notifications from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Be our eyes and ears throughout the watershed


Intern monitoring cyanobacteria | Charles River Watershed AssociationLet CRWA staff know about environmental problems and issues in the watershed. Call us about possible environmental violations, for example pollution being discharged into the river so that we can check it out. Let us know of proposed development or redevelopment projects that could impact the Charles River. Help us track cyanobacteria blooms in the Charles River using the bloomWatch app

Take action: Please call us at 781-788-0007 to report possible environmental violations or to let CRWA know about projects that could impact the river. The bloomWatch app is available for Android or IOS.

Support Charles River Watershed Association’s advocacy work and volunteer


Charles River GatewayCRWA is involved in every major decision affecting the health of the Charles River. CRWA’s science and innovative solutions to watershed problems inform our advocacy and make it persuasive. This work is fueled by individual donations and volunteers. A great example of volunteer activism is CRWA’s invasive weed-pulling program, which resulted in state funding for mechanical harvesting to remove the weeds in the Lakes District.

Take action: Please consider a donation in any amount to support this important work. Find volunteer information at



With these strategies you will be able to effectively advocate for the Charles River and the environment. Below are some specific ways to get involved now! 


Support the Green Budget: 1% for the Environment in Massachusetts


Environmental Budget

Currently only 0.5% of the state operating budget supports our environmental agencies, which have experienced drastic budget cuts in recent years. Reduced compliance and enforcement efforts by MassDEP closely correspond with these reductions. The reality is that our agencies cannot do more with less—including responding to the 2016 historic drought, reducing emissions, ensuring clean water and making MA more resilient to climate change. CRWA, a member of the Green Budget Coalition, advocates for  allocating 1% of the state budget to the environment.

Take action: Let your state legislators know that you support 1% for the environment. View budget action alerts.

Support legislation to help Massachusetts respond to drought 


Low stream flow

The state’s drought management plan is inadequate and needs to be revised. Additionally, although water conservation is crucial for resiliency during a drought, the Commonwealth currently lacks the authority to require limits on nonessential outdoor water use during drought. CRWA strongly supports  An Act relative to drought management (SD.1828/HD.2398) to improve the state’s drought responsiveness.

Take action: Stay tuned for action alerts as the bill moves through the MA House and Senate.

Oppose delegation of the Clean Water Act discharge permitting program to MA


Charles River

Governor Baker recently reintroduced a bill that would enable Massachusetts to take over the water pollution discharge permitting program from U.S. EPA. Under the Clean Water Act, EPA currently regulates discharges of stormwater, wastewater and industrial pollution into our waterways. CRWA opposes this bill because it will provide no increased environmental benefit and cost MA taxpayers millions of dollars each year.

Take action: Read why CRWA opposes this bill and stay tuned for upcoming action alerts.

Support U.S. EPA and Clean Water 


EPA Thank You Rally

The Trump Administration is proposing drastic cuts to EPA’s budget and has directed EPA to roll back its “Waters of the U.S” rule, which protects wetlands and small streams.

Take action: Call your members of Congress to speak up for EPA funding, environmental protection and research, and strong climate change policies. The EPA is currently seeking public comment on its "regulatory reform agenda."  Submit a comment about the importance to you of a specific regulation or a general comment asking the Trump administration not to weaken federal protection for the environment. 



Topics: Charles River, Climate Change, Pollution, Legislation and Policy, Water Quality, water conservation, Advocacy

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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.