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Blog - Charles River Watershed Association

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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First dam removal on the Charles River begins

Posted by Elisabeth Cianciola

10/26/16 12:01 PM

Bellingham Old Mill Dam

The Old Mill Dam on Pearl Street in Bellingham. 

12/20/2016 Update: The removal of the Old Mill Dam in Bellngham has begun!

 

This year, the Town of Bellingham will begin work to remove the Old Mill Dam on Peal Street in Bellingham, making Mill Dam the first Charles River dam to be removed. The Town of Bellingham is the first town to begin a dam removal project in the Charles River Watershed. This project was made possible with financial support from the Massachusetts’ Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Dam and Seawall Repair or Removal Program and technical support from the Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration (DER). Removing the dam, which is unsafe in its current state, will reconnect 9.2 miles of river habitat upstream of the dam to 50 miles of unobstructed river downstream. 

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Charles River Watershed Association Restores Habitat to Magazine Beach

Posted by Nishaila Porter

8/10/16 5:33 PM

False Indigo

Cut false indigo at Magazine Beach

This year, Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) will restore wildlife habitat and improve water quality in the Charles River. This project is funded by a competitive grant CRWA received from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation through their Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program. The two-year grant was awarded for enhancements to DCR’s Magazine Beach in Cambridgeport and will fund CRWA’s work to restore existing wetlands, add and maintain rain gardens, and remove invasive weeds at the park.

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Collaboration Toward a Greener Future

Posted by Robert Zimmerman

7/12/16 6:00 AM

By Charles River Watershed Association and Conservation Law Foundation

Since 1949, the Kendall Cogeneration Station, located near Longfellow Bridge and now owned by Veolia, had been withdrawing 77 million gallons of Charles River water to cool its three turbines. Called “once-through” cooling, the water was pumped through a piping network and used to convert the steam that had already given up most of it’s energy to making electricity back to liquid water.  This cooling water did not contact the steam but absorbed heat that was then discharged back to the Charles River from 10-20 degrees warmer than when withdrawn. The daily volume used ( 77 million gallons) is often greater than the flow of the Charles in summer. Since the ambient surface temperature of the Charles can reach 85 degrees in the summer, the added heat upsets the river ecosystem, contributes to algal blooms, and has contributed to fish kills.

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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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Fish Kill in Lower Charles River Basin

Posted by Elisabeth Cianciola

8/18/15 4:20 PM

While conducting routine water sampling on Wednesday, July 29th, Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) spotted six dead fish between the North Beacon Street bridge in Watertown/Brighton and the Larz Anderson bridge in Cambridge. Since that initial observation, CRWA has received many reports of additional fish kill sightings via our website and social media. We estimate that between 61 and 103 dead fish, reported pimarily as carp and large-mouth bass, have been observed between the Galen Street bridge in Watertown and the Longfellow Bridge in Cambridge/Boston.

 

Fish Kill Map

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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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CRWA Releases 2014 Charles River Water Quality Report

Posted by Elisabeth Cianciola

4/8/15 5:40 PM

CRWA and Citizens Strengthen Tidelands Protection at Daly Field

Posted by Amy Rothe

4/7/15 1:53 PM

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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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.