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Threats to the Federal Clean Water Act
In late January, the Trump Administration finalized a new rule that significantly weakens protections under the Clean Water Act. In Massachusetts, this means that many intermittent streams and isolated wetlands, which are critical features of a healthy watershed, will no longer receive federal protection. As the Trump Administration continues its efforts to undermine the Clean Water Act, it is more important than ever for communities to enact strong protections at the local level. CRWA is supporting cities and towns in that effort through our Climate Resilience 101 training sessions for municipal elected officials and the Charles River Climate Compact . By bringing watershed communities together and providing critical resources and information, we are ensuring that our watershed remains healthy and climate-resilient even in the face of drastic federal rollbacks. Read more .
News at a Glance
  • The latest on the I-90 Allston Interchange Project: After attending two MassDOT meetings in the last month to express our opposition to putting a road in the Charles River, CRWA and our allies have increased public awareness behind the issue and made it clear that this proposal is misguided and short-sighted.

  • The state’s plan to reconfigure the Allston stretch of the Mass Pike is coming under fire as more details emerge on how MassDOT plans to do it. More.

  • To make room for construction while keeping the roads active, a “temporary” (8-10 years) Soldiers Field Road would extend more than 100 feet into the river at some points. More.

  • "The idea that we would go back to that old mindset of treating the Charles River like a throwaway resource, that we would put a road into it, literally valuing car travel over this jewel of a river that we just invested so much to restore—it makes no sense," Executive Director Emily Norton states. More.

  • "We should be restoring the natural riverbank for flood retention to protect the Allston neighborhood, not building a temporary roadway in the river to accommodate cars and their emissions," General Counsel & Policy Director Heather Miller argues. "MassDOT should prioritize forward-looking infrastructure like West Station and regional rail. Otherwise MassDOT risks building a billion-dollar project that is already obsolete." More.

  • Tom Powers, a member of CRWA and former deputy commissioner of the MA Department of Environmental Protection, reminded the MassDOT Board that MassDEP went through 26 designs for how to cross the Charles River during the Big Dig and urged the boards to take the same patient approach now. More.

  • CRWA opposes plans to transfer parkways (like Storrow Drive and Soldiers Field Road) to MassDOT, essentially converting them to highways. Parkways are supposed to be slower, scenic drives that connect people to parks—allowing MassDOT to take them over would mean giving up on that vision. Read more.

  • Scientists are using Twitter data to gain a more accurate picture of localized flooding impacts. Social media data suggests that people in areas like Boston are experiencing flooding more often than official tide gauge readings suggest. Read more.

  • Congratulations to interim DCR Commissioner, Jim Montgomery, who was recently appointed Commissioner. Read more.

  • Mass Audubon released its sixth Losing Ground report, which serves both as a guide for policy and as a resource for communities committed to meaningful climate action. This year’s report concluded that to protect 50% of the land in Massachusetts by 2050, we need to accelerate the pace of land conservation to 100 acres/day.

  • Last month, we wrote about the Next Gen Climate bill and are happy to report it was passed by the Mass. Senate. This bill would update the goal of the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) to Net Zero emissions reductions (current law calls for 80% reductions) from 1990 levels by 2050. It also officially recognizes the importance of carbon sequestration by natural and working lands. The bill now moves to the Mass. House of Representatives for consideration.

  • The Esplanade Association launched a first-of-its-kind L.E.A.F. Initiative to ensure the health of the park’s tree canopy. Learn more.

  • Volunteer to monitor herring in the Charles this spring! MIT Sea Grant in collaboration with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries will be coordinating a volunteer group to conduct studies on the Charles River from April to June. Learn more.

  • CRWA would like to thank Seyfarth Shaw LLP and attorney John Ayers-Mann for providing vital pro bono assistance to CRWA. An attorney specializing in labor and employment law, John worked with CRWA staff to modernize our employment policies and procedures and develop a new human resources manual. CRWA was connected to John through the Lawyers Clearinghouse.

In Remembrance
CRWA is saddened to share news of the passing of Richard Gonci (pictured left), a beloved member of our Board of Advisors and a longtime friend and supporter. His love for the Charles River was unmatched and he will be strongly missed. More .
Upcoming Events
  • Register for tomorrow’s EBC/UMass Boston Climate Adaptation Forum, Underwater Underwriting: Flood Insurance in the Age of Climate Change, on Friday, February 28 to learn about the intersection of flood insurance, risk management, and environmental justice. Learn more.

  • Join us for our 54th Annual Meeting, taking place at the Google offices in Kendall Square on Monday, March 23 at 6:00 pm. We’re looking forward to connecting with our members and recognizing CRWA advocates and volunteers whose dedicated environmental work helps protect and preserve the Charles River. Learn more.

  • Our 21st Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup is now open for signups! This event fills up quickly, so register sooner than later. Learn more.
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