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55th CRWA Annual Meeting
It’s that time of year again! The Charles River Watershed Association is pleased to invite you to our 55th Annual Meeting, scheduled for Thursday, March 25 at 6:30 PM (EST.) In the interests of the health and safety of all our members, we’ll once again be holding a virtual meeting via Zoom. With some business to attend to, CRWA members will be voting on Directors and Officers for election and Class B members will be voting on amendments to CRWA’s Articles of Organization and Bylaws. There will be a celebration, honoring CRWA advocates and volunteers who have gone above and beyond their line of duty. We will then top it off with an exclusive CRWA broadcast highlighting the silver linings of 2020. 

​From wildfires and the pandemic to murder hornets and the Great Toilet Paper Shortage of April, 2020 was full of enough bad news to last us all a lifetime. We know there’s good news out there -- in fact we know it for certain because our hardworking team is responsible for so much good in the world of the Charles River. 

With our own Emily Norton sitting in the lead anchor’s chair, our CRWA team will serve as a cast of colorful reporters broadcasting “live” from the field in order to track down the untold story of the last year: The Good Newscast. Whether it’s our work regarding the I-90 project or the state of invasives in the Charles, 2020 brought us plenty to smile about and we’re gonna prove it. For more details and to register make sure to check out our 55th Annual Meeting webpage.
News at a Glance
  • At an Allston I-90 Task Force meeting earlier this week, MassDOT made a firmer commitment than we’ve seen before to take climate (flooding) projections into account in the design and construction of the project. MassDOT confirmed that they would be utilizing the state’s RMAT climate risk screening tool, and that a long-awaited flood risk analysis based on the MA Coastal Flood Risk Model (MC-FRM) will finally be released to the public. These critical climate resilience assessments – which CRWA has long been pushing for – will be included in state and federal environmental review documents expected this spring and summer.

  • On February 16 Gov. Charlie Baker signed H.4921, An Act Promoting Awareness of Sewage Pollution in Public Water. The legislation, known colloquially as the Sewage Notification Bill, will require wastewater treatment plants to issue public notices within a two hour window whenever they discharge untreated sewage into the state’s rivers during heavy rain storms. The aforementioned notices must also include the location of the discharge, areas that will be impacted, and any and all steps residents should take in the interest of safety. Huge kudos to our partner Mass Rivers Alliance for their tireless advocacy, as well as bill sponsors  State Senator Pat Jehlen, State Representative Linda Dean Campbell, and former State Representative Denise Provost. Of course the end goal is not mere notification, it’s elimination, but we believe the more the public is aware of the frequency of these sewage releases, the more likely they are to support investing in solutions. 

  • In case you missed it, last month’s Building Resilience Across the Charles River Watershed webinar can now be viewed on YouTube. In collaboration with fifteen communities in the watershed, community group CREW, and project consultant Weston & Sampson, CRWA is building a computer model that will demonstrate where we can expect flooding under future climate conditions. The project is funded by the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program. After viewing the webinar, we’d love it if you could take the time to complete this quick survey to help us better inform the project and the watershed modeling tool we’re developing. 

  • CRWA presented at recent meetings of the Charles River Municipal Stormwater Collaborative and Statewide Stormwater Coalition on our project to develop a template nutrient pollution control plan for Charles River communities who are working to reduce nutrient pollution in stormwater runoff. 

  • On February 16, CRWA Executive Director Emily Norton took part in a Zoom roundtable discussion led by U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass) on plastic pollution and environmental justice. Watch the l video here.

  • President Biden has made several noteworthy appointments to environmental posts -- several having Massachusetts roots! Appointments of note include former Secretary of State John Kerry as the United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Change, former EPA administrator Gina McCarthy as the White House National Climate Advisor (showing her #BostonPride), former EPA air quality specialist Michael S. Regan as the EPA administrator, former general counsel for the Obama Administration’s White House Council of Environmental Quality Brenda Mallory as the Chair of the Council of Environmental Quality, and former New Mexico Congresswoman Deb Haaland as the Secretary of the Interior. It is a relief to have people in charge of environmental agencies who actually value the environment again.

  • On the state side, Massachusetts State Legislature committee appointments have been decided upon since the last River Current. Appointments related to our work:: Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture (Sen Rebecca L. Rausch, Chair, Sen Michael F. Rush, Rep Carolyn C. Dykema, Chair, Rep Carmine Lawrence Gentile, Rep Michelle L. Ciccolo) Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change (Sen Cynthia Stone Creem, Chair, Sen Michael J. Barrett, Vice Chair) House Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change (Rep Sean Garballey, Chair, Rep Russell E. Holmes, Rep Steven C. Owens, Rep Michael J. Soter, Ranking Minority). We look forward to working with all of them to advance river protection legislation!

  • The team members at Whole Foods Market of Bedford awarded CRWA a $1,642 grant from their Community Giving Program to support our ongoing effort to restore and protect the Charles River watershed communities. Thank you for your support!

  • State Senator William Brownsbeger has registered to attend the March 16 virtual screening and open discussion of the film The Story of Plastic. You can register to attend here.
New Hire Spotlight
Janet Moonan, PE joined CRWA as the Stormwater Program Director and will be responsible for managing the extensive stormwater and nascent greenways program areas. She has 15 years of experience working both as a consulting engineer and a regulator in planning, permitting, design, and construction related to drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater, as well as watershed management and climate resiliency. Jennie earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and a M.Eng. in Water Resources from Tufts University. 

Travis R. Morin is CRWA’s new Communications and Outreach Manager and will work alongside science and advocacy staff to promote the conservation efforts of the organization. Prior to joining up with CRWA, Travis worked as the Communications Coordinator for National Voter Registration Day, and before that covered news and politics as a reporter for the New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper. Travis has a B.A. in Political Science and a pre-law certification from Southern New Hampshire University.

Iris Seto has come on board as CRWA’s new Rita Barron Fellow. Named for CRWA’s second Executive Director, the fellowship will allow Iris to spend the next 12 to 16 months contributing to a variety of ongoing projects through such tasks as training volunteers, conducting field work, managing and analyzing data, writing and editing scientific reports and much more. Iris has five years of graduate research experience and previously served as a Graduate Research Assistant with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. Additionally, she has a master’s of science in Marine Biology from Northeastern University and a B.A.  in Environmental Biology from Washington University in St. Louis.
Get Involved
  • Look good and stay warm in new CRWA apparel long sleeves and sweaters!

Upcoming Events
  • Join us TONIGHT at 7:00 pm for the next webinar in our Virtual Event Series, Adapting to Climate Change: Re-envisioning our Public Spaces. Learn more and register here.

  • And don’t forget to RSVP for a webinar we’re holding in coordination with the Communities Responding to Extreme Weather, Building Resilience Across the Watershed. Learn more and register here

  • The March 5 registration deadline for Massachusetts River Alliance’s Lobby for the Rivers Day 2021 is coming up fast! Sign up today to make sure you’re ready to take part in the pre-Lobby Day Workshop, which will include a crash course on priority issues as well as a straining for how to effectively engage with legislators. Register for Lobby Day by following this link and sign up for the pre-Lobby Day Workshop with this link.
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