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Green Infrastructure Coming to Milford
CRWA is working with the town of Milford to finish the design of green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) in the Town Park. The GSI consists of two rain gardens and one infiltration system and is funded through Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Action Grant awarded to Milford for Fiscal Years 2021 and 2022. These nature-based solutions will help provide ecological resilience for the town by recharging almost 0.5 acre-feet of groundwater per year, making Milford more resilient to drought and reducing the potential for flood damage in a climate change-altered future. Additionally, this project will benefit the entire watershed by helping to eliminate over 20 lbs/year of phosphorus entering the Charles River. This work has an extensive outreach component in multiple languages to students, residents, elected and appointed officials, and the general public.

Residents of Milford can support this effort by completing a short survey (available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese) to help inform the overall style and direction of the project. 

We encourage you to review the project page on our website (with links to Spanish and Portrugese translations of the content located at the top of the page) and take it as inspiration for how you can inspire similar change in your home community.
News at a Glance
  • With the return of warm weather, and some sense of pre-COVID normal, comes the kickoff of our regular water quality sampling for the start of our Flagging Season. As boaters and other river users plan to make their way to the Charles this season, you can keep track of real time updates on the safety of water quality for activity by checking our flagging webpage, signing up for Water Quality Alerts, or following our Twitter bot that regularly Tweets out sampling updates.

  • CRWA recently sent a letter to U.S. Senators and Representatives from Massachusetts urging support for the Allston Multimodal Project, but not a design that requires intrusion into the Charles River. With the renewed federal focus on infrastructure investment, this project presents an ideal opportunity to reduce the negative impacts of highways and prioritize mobility for people, restoration of the degraded environment, and adaptation to climate change. In other I-90 news, MassDOT recently announced plans to invest $75M to repair the Allston viaduct. At a MassDOT Board meeting on May 26, MassDOT officials gave assurances that this $75 repair is not instead of the larger transformative project, but rather a necessary first step. We will continue to advocate for a final project that invests in clean mobility and a healthier, road-free Charles River.

  • On May 18, CRWA testified before the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture in support of the Public Lands Preservation Act, sponsored by Rep. Ruth Balser (D-Newton) and Sen. Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton). Testifying alongside our partners at the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions, the Sierra Club of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Conservation Voters, the Trustees, and Mass Audubon, we highlighted the importance of public lands and open space to public health, recreation, air and water quality, protection of ecosystems and watersheds, and our ability to adapt to climate change. 

  • CRWA recently submitted comments on MassDEP’s proposed updates to the state Stormwater Handbook, which governs how stormwater pollution is managed across the state. These updates will bring the state Stormwater Handbook in line with existing federal stormwater permits. Proposed changes will also update precipitation data, ensuring that projects are more resilient to current and future climate conditions. 

  • Last week, CRWA partnered with Conservation Law Foundation to submit comments on Boston’s Local Wetlands Ordinance regulations. As we played a leadership role in the passage of this ordinance, we are keenly interested in ensuring the concomitant regulations be as robust as possible. For example, the draft regulations do not require full protection of existing critical natural resources like isolated wetlands and vernal pools. These protections are essential in the age of climate change, particularly in a city like Boston where so many of the natural resource areas have already been destroyed or degraded. You can submit your own comments on these regulations here

  • The 2018/2020 Integrated Report is available for review and comment here. This important document is the state’s comprehensive list documenting waterways (and waterbodies) that are impacted by pollution. Waterways that are listed as having pollution impacts, or listed as having exceptional qualities, benefit from additional protections. If there is a local water body you think should be listed due to an impairment, residents can submit written comments by June 21, 2021.
  • CRWA is grateful to the 117 generous donors that contributed to the Board Match Challenge this spring, raising $27,321. With the match from our Board, CRWA will receive a grand total of $53,521! CRWA is grateful to each of you for making CRWA your philanthropic priority. In the words of Board President Linda McLane, “I am thrilled at the response to our Board match. We are so grateful for and appreciative of such strong support for our important work restoring and protecting the Charles River.”
New Hire Spotlight
CRWA gained quite a few new faces this past month with the addition of two staffers and five interns. Help us welcome them aboard!

Andrew Salant is CRWA’s Field Work Coordinator. In that role he is helping direct the on-the-ground work we do to monitor water quality and other conditions in the watershed. Previously, Andrew was a project engineer with Lightship Engineering as well as a seasonal engineering aide with MassDEP. He has a bachelor of science in environmental science with a focus on hydrology from the University of New Hampshire and is currently pursuing his master’s degree in environmental science from the University of Oklahoma.

Dira Johanif is CRWA’s new Program Associate for Community Resilience. In this role she will support climate resilience projects and policies at the municipal level in the watershed. Before coming aboard, Dira was a OCEAN Webinar Series Co-investigator and Lead Organizer for the School for the Environment at University of Massachusetts Boston. Dira has a bachelor in environmental science with a marine science track from the University of Massachusetts Boston, and a master in environmental science with a focus in molecular toxicology from the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Colleen Cronin is CRWA’s 2021 Summer Water Science Intern, which means she will support the data collection and GIS work of our water science efforts. Colleen has a wealth of experience working with nature, including three years interning in various laboratory capacities with the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington DC. She also served as a Gift Planning Coordinator with the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, and a Gift and Donor Manager with the Humane Rescue Alliance. Colleen has a bachelor of arts in Slavic languages and literatures, an advanced certificate in animal behavior and conservation from Hunter College, City University of New York, and a master of science in conservation medicine from the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. 

Ashley Desrosiers is CRWA’s 2021 Summer Water Science Intern and will support the data collection work of our water science efforts. Ashley spent six years as the Vice President of Food Minds. She holds a bachelor of science in dietetics from the University of Delaware, a master in science in nutrition communication from Tufts University, and a master of science in sustainable water management from Tufts University.

Neosha Narayanan is CRWA’s 2021 Data Analytics Intern, supporting the behind the scenes scientific work that helps us make evidence-based decisions. In addition to her work with CRWA, Neosha is an undergraduate researcher with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology EAPS Glacier Dynamics & Remote Sensing Group, and editorial assistant for MIT Angles Magazine. Neosha is currently pursuing her bachelor in science in materials science and engineering from MIT. 

Thomas Boynton is one of CRWA’s summer 2021 Legal Interns, supporting our work to leverage the law to restore and protect the Charles. Prior to joining CRWA, Thomas was a water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) research fellow with Global Water 2020. He has an undergraduate degree in geography and international relations from the University of St. Andrews, a master’s in water science policy and management, and is currently pursuing his law degree at Vanderbilt Law School.

Katie Blair is also a summer 2021 Legal Intern. She was previously a data quality tools software engineer with Melissa Global Intelligence and currently serves as the founder and chair of Vaccinate Massachusetts. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science and classical civilization from Wellesley College and is currently pursuing her law degree at New York University School of Law.
Upcoming Events
CRWA is joining dozens of Boston and Massachusetts-based climate and environmental justice groups in co-hosting a virtual forum for the Boston mayoral candidates on Tuesday, June 1 at 6:30 pm. Questions will deal with climate change, climate justice, zero carbon emission buildings, flooding, and more. To register for the forum or submit a question to the candidates, please use this link.
Volunteer Opportunities
The 2021 Invasive Plant Removal season has launched and registrations are coming in quickly! Our Invasive Plant Removal volunteer activities are a great opportunity to build team camaraderie with your office or social club, as well as a great family outing. Volunteer opportunities will be available for group registration every Friday 9 am - 12 pm until Friday, October 15. Make sure to get your name in fast because registration is first come first serve. We will also be hosting two community pulls! You can visit our website for our calendar of events and email Amy Walker, Terracorps Member and our invasive removal volunteer coordinator at to register your group.
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