Monthly e-news from Charles River Watershed Association, an internationally-recognized leader in sustainable river management. Learn more at  www.charlesriver.org .  
Around the Watershed
CRWA Applauds MassDOT Decision on I-90 Project Design
Yesterday Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack announced the design for the I-90 Allston Interchange Improvement Project , a $1 billion multimodal plan that involves realigning the MassPike around the former toll plaza and railroad yards. The Charles River Watershed Association applauds this result.

Three options were under consideration; two would have put the reconfigured Mass Pike at grade level; the third would have rebuilt the elevated viaduct. The hybrid design selected will elevate Soldiers Field Road above a ground level Pike.

CRWA, as a longstanding member of the I-90 Task Force, advocated for the hybrid design, co-led a site walk in September of the area, and submitted a detailed comment letter to Secretary Pollack in November. The hybrid design will allow the state to add parkland, improve public access to the river with improved bike and pedestrian paths, reduce traffic noise, and offer spectacular vistas from Soldiers Field Road and the Paul Dudley White bike path.

Importantly, this design offers significant opportunity for better stormwater management next to the Charles. This will improve water quality by reducing erosion, sedimentation and pollution, while increasing flood storage capacity. We will also advocate for riverbank restoration with natural plantings that will stabilize the bank, improve water quality and provide needed fish and wildlife habitat.
Widett Circle: An Opportunity for Climate Resilience
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is urging the Boston City Council to declare surplus several parcels of city property along Frontage Road including Widett Circle. This would allow the land to be sold off for development .

In a recent public hearing of the Boston City Council, CWRA suggested rather than redevelop the site, Boston should restore part or all of the land as a natural wetland to help alleviate flooding for surrounding areas and build resilience to sea level rise. (See our slide presentation here.)

We also suggested this in a Boston Globe op-ed a year ago, and again last month in a Commonwealth Magazine op-ed co-authored with Dwaign Tyndal from ACE .

Widett Circle is one of the lowest-lying parcels in the City, and already floods regularly . Thanks to climate change, flooding is expected to increase over time . In fact before it was filled in during the last century, the area used to be open water .

Watch the City Council hearing here ; CRWA’s Emily Norton and Julie Wood appear in minutes 22:41 - 32:50 with a slide presentation about the history of the area, and current flooding risks.

If you are interested in working with us on this project toward a climate resilient Boston, please contact Nishaila Porter at nporter@crwa.org .
Oil Spill: Next Steps
Last month we reported on an oil spill in the Charles River that was observed on December 5, behind the Shaw's Supermarket, 137 River Street in Waltham. The Waltham Fire Department and MassDEP responded quickly to contain it, and the source of this fuel oil was traced by MassDEP through the storm drain to Pro-Tech gas station, 205 Willow Street. There was visible staining around the storm drain on this property; however, the operator professed to have no knowledge of a spill. Reportedly, Pro-Tech has agreed to take responsibility for the spill and the cleanup. 
 
MassDEP has a 24-hour hot line for reporting spills. Oil spills into surface waters require swift notification–within two hours to MassDEP by the responsible party. Materials to contain spills are also required to be kept on site. CRWA has reached out to MassDEP on possible enforcement against the owner and operator of the Pro-Tech site.   
YOU Make a Difference
A study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) found that the presence of a watershed group "resulted in lower dissolved oxygen deficiency and higher proportions of swimmable and fishable water bodies." While it seems obvious to us that we are having a measurable impact on the health of the Charles River, it's nice to see an objective study come to the same conclusion. The study also found that "increased donations to and expenditures by the groups also improved water quality." In short, you can feel good that your contributions to CRWA are having a measurable impact in achieving a clean and healthy river. ( Donate  today!) 
Announcements
Farewell to Tani
Charles River Watershed Association's Director of Philanthropy, Tani Marinovich, is leaving CRWA to join Save the Harbor Save the Bay as their new President. Tani has been instrumental to our financial success during her tenure with us. While we are sad to lose her we wish her the best of luck in her new role.
Upcoming Events
Moonlight Ski , SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 2
Join us on the snow-covered Weston Ski Track at 5:30 p.m. for an apr è s-ski party with festive snacks and beverages. It's a fun opportunity to meet other young professionals in the area while supporting the Charles River Watershed Association! Register here.

53 rd Annual Meeting , THURSDAY, MARCH 28
Save the date for CRWA’s 53 rd Annual Meeting. The Reception is 5:30PM to 6:30PM with a cash bar and sit-down dinner. The business portion of the meeting will start promptly at 6:30.

20 th Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup , SATURDAY, APRIL 27
Our Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup brings together over 3,000 volunteers each year to pick up litter, remove invasive species and assist with park maintenance. The Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup builds on a national effort as part of American Rivers’ National River Cleanup®, which to date, has removed over 25 million pounds of trash from America’s waterways. Registration will open mid-February.

37 th Annual Run of the Charles Canoe and Kayak Race , SUNDAY, APRIL 28
As CRWA's signature event, the  Run of the Charles  is the largest flat-bottomed boat race in New England and a major event in Greater Boston, where it draws over 1,500 racers and spectators! Our goal this year is to make  Run of the Charles  more sustainable and reduce the carbon footprint through some exciting new changes, including new courses and a Harpoon beer garden. Registration is now open!
Charles River Watershed Association | www.crwa.org