BOSTON– Charles River Watershed Association is grateful to the Baker-Polito Administration for awarding $894,000 to support climate resilience projects in the Charles River watershed. 

This includes $333,000 to continue the Building Resilience in the Charles River Watershed Initiative, a regional collaboration of twenty cities and towns to increase watershed-wide climate resilience. This project will use the Charles River Flood Model, a planning tool that predicts when and where flooding will occur, to identify effective flood mitigation solutions and advance on-the-ground projects to protect our most vulnerable communities, infrastructure, and properties from flooding.

“The lessons from our past work are clear, bold, and coordinated regional action is absolutely necessary to address the flood impacts we know are coming from climate change. We are grateful for the state’s support of this important regional effort,” says CRWA Climate Compact Director Julie Wood.

The project will include an assessment of local stream/roadway crossings, identification and design of flood reduction projects across the region, and publication of a comprehensive Charles River Watershed Flood Reduction Implementation Plan, developed with public input. Participating communities include Arlington, Belmont, Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Dedham, Dover, Franklin, Medfield, Medway, Millis, Natick, Needham, Newton, Sherborn, Waltham, Watertown, Wellesley, Weston, and Wrentham. The project team includes technical lead Weston & Sampson, outreach lead Communities Responding to Extreme Weather (C.R.E.W), and X-Cel Education Conservation Corps.  

"Natick is very excited to continue their collaboration with CRWA and the Climate Compact to further develop the flood model and provide more communities with preliminary designs for flood mitigation projects, including cross-community efforts,” says Claire Rundelli, Planner Conservation Agent for the Town of Natick.

In addition, $41,000 was awarded to the Town of Wrentham to explore options for Eagle Dam, an aging, defunct dam rated in poor condition on Eagle Brook, a tributary of the Charles River. The crumbling structure blocks fish passage and degrades the ecosystem, and is a hazard to downstream communities as climate change brings frequent extreme storms and increased precipitation. This funding will allow further technical analysis of hydraulic modeling and broader community engagement with youth, indigenous peoples, residents, and downstream communities. 

“We are excited for the opportunity to work with experts to gather more technical information and work with the Town of Wrentham to educate the community about options for Eagle Dam, river restoration, and increased climate resilience,” says CRWA Climate Resilience Specialist Robert Kearns.

Finally, the Baker-Polito Administration is also providing funding to several individual municipalities within the Charles River watershed including Brookline, Cambridge, Sherborn, and Waltham to create and update resilience plans, create climate readiness job corps, and restore tributaries to reduce flooding.