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Restoring Flow
Since 2018, CRWA has been working with the Town of Milford to develop a restoration plan for the area around Milford Pond. The town is located at the headwaters of the Charles and, like many communities around 495, it has experienced rapid growth in recent years. The Charles River in Milford suffers nutrient pollution and low water levels during dry conditions. CRWA’s designs include 64 stormwater treatment opportunities using green infrastructure to treat runoff from the 1,180 acre study area, and will preserve open space. Each year, the proposed plan would reduce 650 pounds of nutrient pollution load into the river, contribute 240 million gallons to groundwater recharge, and meet legally required pollution reductions. We are now sharing our designs with Town stakeholders and prioritizing one site for further design and construction. 

This project has been partially financed with Federal Funds from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (the Department) under a S. 604(b) competitive grant.
No Road in the River
This week, CRWA was out in force at the MassDOT Fiscal Management Control Board meeting to say no to putting a road into the Charles River for the duration of the I-90 Allston project. We've spent hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up the Charles, it makes no sense to jeopardize that progress now. "Fewer cars on our roads, no roads in our rivers!" Listen to Executive Director Emily Norton at 1:14-1:16 .

Want to help protect the Charles from a “temporary” road in the river? Join us at the next meeting of the MassDOT Board on Monday, February 10 at noon at the MassDOT headquarters, 10 Park Plaza in Boston. For more details contact Maddie Wolters at .
News at a Glance
  • Natick is moving ahead with engineering studies to help town officials compare the impacts and costs of repairing versus removing the South Natick dam. Removing dams is a key piece of restoring the ecological health of the Charles. Read more.

  • We want to know when sewage is dumped into rivers and water bodies, and we think you do too. That’s why we’re fighting with environmental partners for public notification of combined sewer overflows (CSOs). Read more.

  • CRWA applauds the MA Senate for demonstrating bold leadership on cutting greenhouse gas emissions. We are already seeing the effects of climate change in our watershed in terms of drought, flooding, extreme heat and more. We urge the MA House to display similar leadership so that a bill can pass this session. Read more.

  • We are grateful to watershed legislators State Senator Cynthia Creem, and State Reps. Kay Khan, and Ruth Balser for their New Year’s resolutions to protect and preserve watershed lands and the Charles River, including funding to remove invasive plants and legislation to protect open space and fight climate change.

  • There’s a proposal to build a 7-foot-wide pipe in Lower Allston to carry stormwater to the Charles River. We’d like to see more green infrastructure to infiltrate and purify stormwater, rather than simply bigger pipes to carry pollution to the river. Read more.

  • CRWA is calling for increased public access to MIT’s Boathouse, which is located on publicly-owned Charles River tidelands. MIT is seeking state approval to renovate the Boathouse and must meet its legal obligations to provide public benefits as part of the project. Read our comment letter.

  • The City of Newton has acquired Webster Woods by eminent domain. This action will protect 17 acres of woods within an urbanized area from being developed. We applaud Newton for taking this step to protect an ecological gem, where hikers and skiers can enjoy the tranquility of nature. For more details about the history of this land, which was donated to the Commonwealth by Edwin Webster in 1915, read this (imagined) letter by Mr. Webster himself.

  • On a frigid late December morning, CRWA’s General Counsel & Policy Director, Heather Miller, met with state and town officials in Medfield to ensure that the Medfield State Hospital cleanup along the banks of the Charles remains a success.

  • In 2019, Citizen Cider pledged to donate a dollar to CRWA for each case of For Shore cider sold in Massachusetts, resulting in a total of $1,500. Cheers to those of you who helped in these efforts!
Intern Spotlight
  • Eli Kane (pictured left) is studying at Brandeis as a 5-year B.A./M.A. Candidate in Global Economics and Finance with a B.S. in Biology. He is a NSF Supported Quantitative Biology Research Community Fellow who has researched population growth, circadian rhythms in flies, and viral particle kinetics. 

  • Elena Messina (center) is completing her B.S. in Environmental Science at Northeastern University, with a minor in Sustainable Business Practices. She previously worked in the Planning Department for Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC), conducting field work and developing a method for calculating the percent of total phosphorus removed by BWSC stormwater best management practices.

  • Alex Colety (right), one of our former fall interns, was hired as CRWA’s new part-time Development and Communications Assistant! He will be exploring environmental issues from a new angle, supporting our mission through development, communications, and outreach.
Upcoming Events
  • Register now 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.

  • Don’t miss Patagonia (Cambridge)’s film screening on February 19 at 7:00 pm. DamNation is a powerful film odyssey across America—it explores the sea change in our national attitude from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of our rivers. Register here.

  • The Muddy River has the worst known water quality of all the Charles tributaries, but there are many groups fighting to change that. On Thursday, February 27 at 5:30, learn the latest from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Town of Brookline, and the City of Boston about Phase 2 of the Muddy River Restoration Project, the Carlton Street Footbridge Rehabilitation, and the Muddy River parks! Register here.

  • Our annual paddling race, Run of the Charles, is now open for registration! We know it seems odd to think about getting on the river just as it’s beginning to freeze over, but spring will be here in no time—we promise! Learn more.
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