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Community-Driven Restoration
CRWA is working with community members in Newton to develop a vision for restoring Cheesecake Brook, a tributary to the Charles with a history of alteration, poor water quality, and flooding issues. Restoration may include creating a more natural bank by removing stone reinforcements, planting native vegetation around the stream, and/or filtering pollutants from water draining into the brook. These improvements would improve water quality and stream habitat, and may reduce flooding. CRWA hopes that this community-driven visioning process becomes a model for other stream restoration projects in urban and suburban settings. If you are interested in receiving updates on this project and providing feedback, please contact .

This project is generously funded by the Gerstner Family Foundation.
Kindness During Trying Times
Last weekend passed us with heavy hearts, having to postpone our Earth Day Charles River Cleanup and cancel our paddling race, Run of the Charles . Not only were we not able to clean up trash alongside 2,500+ volunteers on the banks of the Charles or cheer on nearly 1,000 paddlers as they raced down a river no longer full of dirty water, but we also lost significant revenue to support our ongoing projects. 

We are grateful for the partnerships we have through these hard times. Even with the cancellation of Run of the Charles , a handful of our partners have stuck by our side and are continuing to sponsor CRWA’s vital work and support the Charles River. We would like to acknowledge the following corporate sponsors for their generosity: Bergmeyer , Beta Group, Inc. , Boston Duck Tours , Horsley Witten , New England BioLabs, Inc. , and Tetra Tech .

We are also thankful for our partnership with Highland Street Foundation and their continued financial support during these difficult times. We’re disappointed to have to cancel another of our favorite events, but look forward to holding Free Fun Friday on the Charles again in 2021.
News at a Glance
  • Did you hear?! CRWA’s Board of Directors is matching every gift up to $25,000 until May 5! And for every 10 gifts, they’ll donate an additional $250. Every gift counts: make one now!

  • CRWA Executive Director, Emily Norton, was quoted in the Boston Globe on the value of restoring Widett Circle to a wetland to feature prominently in Boston’s climate resilience planning.

  • We launched our first webinar in our Virtual Event Series! Ari Ofsevit, from Transit Matters, and Pallavi Kalia Mande, CRWA, discussed the Allston Intermodal Project. Thanks to the overwhelming interest, we had to upgrade our Zoom account to allow for a larger audience! You can access a recording of the webinar now, along with the presentation slides and related resources.

  • CRWA joined with many local partners to provide comments on the Boston Conservation Commission’s draft regulations for Boston’s local wetlands ordinance, which passed in December 2019. We are advocating for prioritization of climate change resilience, climate equity and environmental justice, and strong protections for rivers and streams.

  • Deputy Director, Julie Wood, was featured as a speaker for one of Natick Earth Day’s Tent Talks this year, where she shared the history of the Charles River and what’s next for the beloved river.

  • CRWA and Conservation Law Foundation’s lawsuit challenging the 2016 Massachusetts municipal stormwater permit has officially settled and a new draft permit has been published for public comment. This new permit will significantly reduce phosphorus discharges into the Charles, improving water quality and reducing toxic algae outbreaks.

  • CRWA and our partners are advocating for future economic stimulus bills to include funding for critical water infrastructure. Massachusetts communities have combined water system needs in excess of $17 billion. Investing in clean water infrastructure would create jobs locally that will not only support the post-pandemic economic recovery but will also build our communities’ resilience to climate change.

  • Clean water advocates won an important victory when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Clean Water Act applies to many discharges to groundwater in addition to surface water. The court rejected arguments by the Trump administration that would have significantly weakened federal protections for our rivers, streams, and wetlands.

  • The DC Environmental Film Festival has gone virtual! You can view their films online for free, with the exception of some that are currently hosted on Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu.

  • Feeling stir-crazy at home? Mass Audubon offers ways to explore nature online.
Get Involved
  • Last week, we challenged you to participate in Earth Week by sharing something you did to protect the Charles with the hashtag #MyCleanCharles! We enjoyed seeing all of your responses and hope you'll continue take action throughout the year.

  • We’re hiring a Community Engagement Coordinator (CEC) in partnership with TerraCorps, AmeriCorps, and the Massachusetts Service Alliance! The CEC would have the opportunity to manage our volunteer citizen scientist sampling program, implement best practices for invasive plant removal in the watershed, and much more! Learn more about the position on our website, and apply online at TerraCorps.
Intern Spotlight
It’s that time of year again when we have to say farewell to the watershed science interns who have helped CRWA run smoothly! We’re sad to see them go, but wish them all the best in their future pursuits. 

“I was pretty set on wanting to do conservation work in the future, and I think I will continue on that path. This internship did show me there are multiple ways to do conservation work such as working with local municipalities.” 

Elena Messina sharpened her GIS skills by working on our Cheesecake Brook restoration project and also analyzed parcels of town-owned land in Medway to assess the percent of impervious coverage and percent of building coverage. She enjoyed seeing how working with towns upstream and downstream of each other can result in greater watershed improvement.

 “My internship at CRWA was a good introduction to what local science and advocacy looks like. It also inspired me to volunteer for local advocacy citizen science projects in my community in the future.”

Eli Kane championed an updated version of our Flagging Program model, which predicts E. coli concentrations based on weather conditions between the North Beacon Street Bridge and the Longfellow Bridge. Compiling the last three years of hourly weather data and E. coli sample concentrations, he wrote a multivariable logarithmic regression model to predict the likelihood of poor water quality. The equations he developed increased the reliability of this model from about 80% to about 90%!

Want to be a CRWA Intern or know an exceptional candidate? Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Learn more .
Upcoming Events
  • Join us IN ONE HOUR (7:00 PM) for an inspirational and entertaining backstory of the cleanup of the Charles River, with former CRWA Executive Director, Bob Zimmerman. Learn more and register.

  • You're concerned about climate change. You support more solar, more wind, more public transit, maybe you've even urged your political leaders to invest in these, and other ways to speed our transition to a clean energy future. But what about climate resilience? Learn more and register for this event on May 7, 2020 at 7 pm.

  • Most events have been made virtual through May. We hope you and your family stay safe and healthy during these times!
Charles River Watershed Association |