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CRWA & Partners Awarded $600,000 for Climate Resilience
We are excited to share that we are partners on two of the municipal climate resilience grants announced recently by the Baker Administration: $419,000 for Green Stormwater Infrastructure in Milford Town Park, and $264,000 to develop a watershed flood model for the Charles River watershed. 

In Milford, CRWA is partnering with the town to design and construct green stormwater infrastructure within Milford Town Park. This project will install two rain gardens and one underground infiltration system. These nature based solutions will reduce pollution in the Charles River and help recharge the Town’s water supply aquifers, building resilience to both flooding and drought. 

The Charles River watershed flood modeling project involves 15 watershed communities, with the Town of Natick serving as the lead applicant. The watershed model will show where and when precipitation driven flooding is expected to occur under future climate scenarios, and will serve as an important planning tool for communities throughout the watershed. 

Curbing Stormwater Pollution
Good news! After years of advocacy by CRWA and Conservation Law Foundation, the U.S. EPA is considering new steps to protect the health of the Charles from stormwater pollution, which carries phosphorus into the river and causes toxic cyanobacteria blooms, invasive plant overgrowth, and poor habitat conditions. In our watershed, private properties with large areas of impervious surface (big box stores, universities, etc) create 50% of the stormwater pollution despite making up only 20% of the land areaand are not currently regulated under the Clean Water Act. As EPA moves forward with a stakeholder engagement process, we are working with our watershed communities, allies, and partners to ensure that this major pollution problem is finally addressed. Just this past Monday, the Cambridge City Council, working in partnership with CRWA, passed a resolution supporting EPA action on this issue and we are urging other communities to similarly express their support. This action is critical to fully restoring the health of the Charles.

News at a Glance
  • Who said a virtual gala couldn't be fun? Get ready for a virtual experience that will bring you to the banks of the Charles River: We will splash into the evening with CRWA’s signature cocktail and professional mixologist, then transition into our virtual program complete with inspiring stories from CRWA members and partners, an update on CRWA’s innovative work, an award ceremony with Patagonia, a keynote speech with Dr. Atyia Martin, and live music by Boston’s local band, Moose & The Mops. Join us Thursday, October 15 at 6:00 pm and purchase a ticket for the first virtual Champions of the Charles gala!

  • Think 2020 is toxic? It certainly was on the river this summer, but we have some good news: the cyanobacteria bloom advisory on the Charles River for the Lakes District (Newton, Waltham, Weston) has been rescinded. The advisory for the Lower Basin, which extends from the New Charles Dam to Mass Ave Bridge, remains in place. It is recommended that people and pets continue to avoid contact with the water.

  • Pallavi Kalia Mande, CRWA's Director of Watershed Resilience, has been working closely with a team of urban and landscape designers from CBT and Perkins & Will on riverbank restoration strategies for the I-90 Interchange Project. This effort is also being informed by input from ecologists and green infrastructure design specialists from Weston and Sampson. Stay tuned for more information on this design and advocacy framework being developed by CRWA with support from the BSA and BSLA!

  • Congratulations to our former General Counsel & Deputy Director, Margaret Van Deusen, for a well earned Lifetime Achievement Award from the US Environmental Protection Agency. You're a force for good and we were incredibly lucky to have you at CRWA.

  • In honor of World Water Monitoring Day, we asked a few of our Volunteer Monthly Monitors to share what water quality and the Charles River means to them. If you missed it, you can watch the short video here and learn more about the program.
Left to right: Nancy Mahon, Amy Walker. Photo credit: Perri VanderClock.
Help us welcome our new staff members and fall interns to the team!

Nancy Mahon has joined our team as our new bookkeeper! She also works part-time with the Neponset River Watershed Association as their office manager/bookkeeper and in her spare time, enjoys spending time with family, visiting the beach, hiking, and walking her two dogs. Learn more.

Amy Walker is our new TerraCorps Community Engagement Coordinator. Most of her time is spent bolstering the invasive species initiative and working closely with the River Science team. When she’s not working, she enjoys reading, running for really long periods of time, traditional-American folk dance, asking hard questions, and answering those with even harder questions.​ Learn more.

Xinyi Zeng is our GIS Intern this fall. She is working towards an MS in Geology and Business Administration at Boston College, evaluating the impact of dams on sediment transport for her thesis. Prior to CRWA, she was a Streamflow Intern for the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game.

Shea Burke joins us as our Watershed Science intern. She is studying for a BS in Environmental Science at the University of New Hampshire, where she also works as a TA and Lab Assistant.

Julia Hopkins will be championing our work as our Data Communications intern. She comes to CRWA with communications skills from a BA in Studio Art from Boston College and an interest in environmental advocacy.

Madeline Gorchels is supporting our Blue Cities work as our Environmental Planning intern. She holds an MS in Environmental Science and Management from the Bren School at University of California Santa Barbara. Before her time here, she interned with Santa Barbara County Water Agency and the Pacific Institute.
Get Involved
  • Our Charles River Watershed Cleanup looks a little different this year! The week-long virtual cleanup began this Monday and continues through Saturday, September 26, so there’s still time to sign up. You can find FAQs, volunteer forms, and more on our website, and for added fun, we have virtual activities and prizes released each day through the Facebook event.

  • Looking to get your hands dirty with an invasive plant cleanup? Join us Saturday, October 15 from 9:00-12:00 pm in Newton to remove bittersweet vines, an invasive plant can grow up to 60 feet long, with a base diameter as wide as 6 inches. Its fast growing vines cover, shade, and outcompete other vegetation in the area—it has the potential to uproot full-grown trees when left unchecked. For more information or to get involved, please contact Amy Walker at

  • Fall is here! Which means the optimal time to explore riverside trails and peep at foliage is upon us. Look good and stay warm in some new CRWA apparel long sleeves and sweaters.

Upcoming Events
  • What’s that we’re herring? You’re running out of socially distant activities and looking for more ways to enjoy the Charles? Join CRWA Deputy Director Julie Dyer Wood and her family on World Rivers Day for a fintastic presentation on the basics of catch and release fishing, fun fish facts, and a brief history on the historic river restoration achieved on the Charles River, which was once so polluted in some sections that it could not support aquatic life. The fact that there are now ecosystems diverse enough to support recreational fishing is cause for celebration. So get trout there and catch us live on Instagram this Sunday, September 27 at 4:00 pm! Follow us ahead of time to get notification.

  • Did you catch our Facebook Live earlier this month? General Counsel and Policy Director, Heather Miller, led us on a tour of the Medfield State Hospital, sharing how a 3-acre contaminated site became a riverfront park. Watch now.

  • Learn more about the chain of green spaces and waterways that comprise the Emerald Necklace park system and their role as “the lungs of the city” in the virtual event co-hosted by the Muddy Water Initiative and Massachusetts Historical Society, “Clean Water, Green Space, and Social Equity.” Learn more and register.

  • Most events have been made virtual through 2020. As a science-based organization, we encourage you to continue following CDC-recommendations, like wearing a mask and maintaining a safe social distance from others. We hope you and your family stay safe and healthy during these times!
Charles River Watershed Association |