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Water Chestnut Success in the Lakes District
And just like that, our Invasive Water Chestnut Removal Volunteer Program has come to a close. Over the course of the season, over almost one hundred volunteers and staff pulled whopping one-hundred-and-forty baskets of water chestnuts from the Charles!

Aquatic invasive species like water chestnuts are a big threat to the Charles River. They grow rapidly and spread easily, quickly out-competing native species, which results in loss of biodiversity, habitat destruction, and degradation of water quality. Invasive plant species threaten our watershed's ecosystems, inhibit recreation, and endanger paddlers. 
This work is possible because of our loyal volunteers who collectively contributed over 500 hours to hand-pulling water chestnuts from our river. Thank you to volunteer teams from OncXerna Therapeutics, Inc., HGA, Cygnal Therapeutics, Sappi North America, and twenty community volunteers for their hard work fighting invasives in the Lakes District and to Nathan, Chuck, and Larry of Paddle Boston for leading the efforts. 
Flagging Program Comes to Boathouses
In our first in-person event in two years, we welcomed community members, boaters, and local legislators to an information session about our Water Quality Flagging Program at Watertown Yacht Club! The Flagging Program is a live notification system that uses color-coded flags to indicate whether the river’s water quality meets the boating safety standard at twelve participating boathouses between Watertown and Boston. 

Aquatic Scientist Lisa Kumpf and Rita Barron Fellow Iris Seto gave a presentation on the program and how determinations of safe boating standards are made using predictive modeling, combined-sewer overflow notifications, and cyanobacteria advisories. 
Thank you to all who attended, and to Watertown Yacht Club for providing the event space and to Watertown Community Foundation for the funding that made this event possible. Interested in organizing a similar event? Contact Lisa Kumpf at

And remember, Learn more about the Flagging Program, subscribe to water quality alerts, and follow our Twitter Bot.
News at a Glance
The release of the IPCC Report confirms we are in a climate emergency, and the time is now to accelerate our transition away from fossil fuels in the hope of halting planetary warming at the threshold of 1.5 degrees celsius, which we are predicted to reach in the near future. You may be wondering, what does this mean for the Charles? The report confirms that urban areas within our watershed are vulnerable to severe heatwaves, intense storm events, and the combined forces of sea-level rise and inland flooding. This dangerous combination of climate threats puts our communities and ecosystems at risk and emphasizes the need to prioritize nature-based solutions now to prepare our watershed. Fortunately, CRWA’s work to build local climate resilience is already well-underway: from our Charles River Flood Model to our Climate Compact to our municipal resilience training and toolkit, we are leading efforts across the watershed to prepare for the climate impacts that are coming, and those that are already here.

We issued a call for Mayoral candidates to prioritize climate resilience in a letter to the editor in the 
Boston Globe. Whether we reduce fossil fuel dependence or not, the impacts of climate change are already here, and we need strong leadership to prepare Boston for increasingly harmful sea level rise, extreme weather, severe flooding, and heat.

The City of Boston is considering enacting a local tree ordinance to protect and expand the City’s tree canopy. CRWA supports this effort and has been advocating for local tree ordinances across the watershed as a key way for communities to improve climate resilience. Trees reduce the risk of extreme flooding by absorbing rainfall and prevent heat-related deaths and illness by lowering ambient temperatures. They also improve air and water quality, store carbon, and reduce energy costs and emissions.

CRWA weighed in with the Boston Planning and Development Agency to support the preservation of Crane Ledge Woods, one of the last unprotected forests in Boston located at the intersection of Hyde Park, Roslindale, and Mattapan. Currently, under threat of development, the woods are critical to climate resilience and climate equity in the city.

CRWA is closely tracking Harvard’s further expansion into Allston with the Harvard Enterprise Research Campus, a fast-moving private development on the banks of the Charles River. Tishman Speyer, Harvard Enterprise Research Campus (ERC) Developer, has filed a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) office and has filed a Draft Project Impact Report with the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA). We will be submitting formal comments in advance of the deadlines and we need your input! Join us for a virtual community meeting on September 13th, 2021 at 6pm to learn about the project and make your voice heard.

Just last week, the remnants of Tropical Storm Fred brought severe flash flooding across the watershed, causing street closures, ponds in parking lots, and even sweeping a vehicle into Cheesecake Brook in Newton. Then, Tropical Storm Henri threatened New England communities with intense wind and rainfall, leading CRWA and others to issue the apt reminder that our built environment is incredibly vulnerable to inland flooding events and sea-level rise that threaten our critical infrastructure and endanger our residents.

Community outreach efforts are continuing for our Milford Town Park Green Stormwater Infrastructure Project. This month, Stormwater Program Director Janet Moonan and Climate Resilience Specialist Robert Kearns hosted a site walk with the town, EEA, and Horsley Whitten and tabled at the Family Night at the Bandstand in Milford Town Park to meet residents and educate them about the green infrastructure initiatives in the park.

The Charles River Flood Model was featured in the Boston Globe for its unique ability to visualize flooding impacts across on a watershed-wide scale. The Flood Model was a regional collaboration between CRWA and 15 municipalities that aims to help communities plan for future expected flooding to protect vulnerable populations and property. 

CRWA joined Conservation Law Foundation and other partners in urging Boston Mayor Kim Janey to support public access to Boston’s waterfront. Development on Boston’s waterfront threatens to privatize the shoreline at the expense of waterfront parks and open space, environmental justice, public access, and climate resilience. 

The Boston Globe ran a great article on the Dark Sky Bill, a legislative effort to regulate light pollution in Massachusetts led by Charles River watershed legislators Senator Creem and Representative Garballey. CRWA supports this bill because light pollution causes significant environmental harm, disrupting the migration and mating patterns of birds, insects, and fish and wasting millions of dollars of excess fossil fuels. 

We are happy to be the voice for nature-based solutions and preserving public access in the latest Explore New England episode on the Charles River! Recreation on the Charles is possible because of decades of hard work to protect & restore our river, and there's still so much more to be done. Watch the full episode “Three Cheers for the Charles” online now!
CRWA Relocates to Boston!
Big News: After over a decade in our home along the Charles River in Weston, CRWA is moving into Boston! We are excited to make this transition to a public transit-friendly location to improve accessibility for staff and volunteers.

We still represent the whole watershed though and will be maintaining an “outpost” to support our river science monitoring and volunteer restoration work. We ask for your patience over the next two weeks as we move and get settled in our new location. We may be unreachable by phone between September 9th and 14th but will be reachable by email throughout the transition. Our new office address is 41 West Street. We look forward to hosting an open house once it’s safe to do so! 
Photo of the Month
One good thing about all this heavy rain: our science team has yet to observe a Cyanobacteria bloom in the Lower Basin! Fieldwork coordinator Andrew Salant and volunteer Morgan Morin sample for Cyanobacteria at Broad Canal in Cambridge.
Champions of the Charles Gala Moves Outside
We are excited to celebrate our 9th Annual Champions of the Charles Gala outdoors at the Royal Sonesta Riverview Terrace on Thursday, October 14th at 6 PM. 
Guests will have the opportunity to mingle on Royal Sonesta’s 3,000 square foot terrace while watching the sunset over the Charles. For our cocktail hour, we will have an open bar with passed hors-d'oeuvres and exquisite food stations. To keep everyone safe, we will not be doing a sit-down meal.
The health and safety of our guests is our top priority and we will continue to follow the latest CDC, state, and local COVID-19 guidelines regarding in-person gatherings.
We are so unbelievably grateful to Christina Thom Hobbs for lifelong commitment to the environment and conservation. Christina was a long-term member of Charles River Watershed Association, working for a clean Charles for over fifty years in her community in Dedham and beyond. We send our deepest condolences to the Hobbs family. Donations can be made in Christina's honor.
Intern Spotlight & Welcome Liza
As the summer comes to a close, we must say farewell yet again to our team of incredibly talented interns. While we are so sad to see them go, we are so excited for what they accomplish next!

Katie Blair acted as our Summer Legal Intern, taking the lead on our Stormwater Bylaws Project, studying the regulation of harmful PFAS compounds in other states, and drafting comment letters for 303d Lists, 401 Certification, and ARPA Funding. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science and classical civilization from Wellesley College and is currently pursuing her law degree at New York University School of Law.

Thomas Boynton was also our Summer Legal Intern, supported CRWA's work on the Water Management Act this summer, including leading our comments on DEP's proposal to expand the state’s ability to impose water conservation restrictions during droughts. He has an undergraduate degree in geography and international relations from the University of St. Andrews, a master’s in water science policy and management, and is currently pursuing his law degree at Vanderbilt Law School.

Ashley Desrosiers was our Watershed Science Intern, managing the Water Quality Database, coordinating outreach and education for the Flagging Program, building relationships with boathouses along the Charles, developing the NVSA Story Map, and taking the lead in the field with E.Coli sampling, cyanobacteria monitoring, and invasive species removal. She holds a bachelor of science in dietetics from the University of Delaware, a master in science in nutrition communication from Tufts University, and a master of science in sustainable water management from Tufts University.

Neosha Narayanan was our Data Analytics Intern, doing extensive data collection on MS4 Permit Compliance and the Illicit Discharge Detection Program across the watershed, phosphorous monitoring, and creating the framework for encouraging future stormwater compliance. In addition, Neosha is currently pursuing her bachelor's in science in materials science and engineering from MIT and continuing as an undergraduate researcher with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology EAPS Glacier Dynamics & Remote Sensing Group.
Elizabeth Sockwell is our new Development & Communications Coordinator! She is a fierce advocate for the environment and loves channeling her passion for community organizing into climate-oriented work. During her time at Trinity College, she worked with diverse communities as an ESL teacher and tutor to ensure that all people have access to the resources that they need. This past year, she founded the 4C Tree Project, Capture Carbon Commemorate Covid in the City of Newton. In leading a group of high school and college students, she has been working to honor local lives lost to Covid by planting trees. So far 4C Tree has planted 135 trees and they will plant another round this upcoming Fall.
Get Involved
Do love to walk, bike, or paddle along the Charles? Do you ever wonder what you can do to help our river? Well, have we got the event for you! Join us for a VIRTUAL information session on how to become a Volunteer Cyanobacteria Monitor. We're looking for everyday river enthusiasts to help us keep tabs on Cyanobacteria and collect vital data to further our understanding of blooms in the Lower Basin. Register for our event today.

Registration is now open for our Invasive Bittersweet Community Removal event! Get outside and help us fight this incredibly destructive invasive species that threatens our native trees just when we need them most. Join CRWA staff for an unforgettable team-building, volunteer opportunity in the forests of our watershed communities.

We are hosting a Community Meeting to discuss the Harvard Enterprise Research Campus with the Harvard-Allston Task Force. Urbanization and development typically mean more concrete and fewer trees, which can contribute to pollution in the Charles River, exacerbate flooding, and increase urban heat effects. Join CRWA and Representative Mike Moran as we discuss the developments happening right down the street. We want to hear your thoughts and vision on what the Allston-Brighton community needs. Register for the virtual event here!

Looking for something active outdoors? We are hosting several educational events across the watershed this month! Come for a Guided Kayak Tour of the Charles and learn about how climate change is stressing our aging stormwater infrastructure, the nature-based solutions we need to prepare for extreme weather, and the ways you can be a steward. Hoping for something on land? We are collaborating with the Trustees of Massachusetts to host a Meandering Morning Hike in the Natural Valley Storage Area at Noon Hill Reservation in Medfield.
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