MyRWA was founded in 1972 and has largely functioned as a volunteer-run organization, mobilizing activists on a project-by-project basis.
The Mystic River Watershed Association's mission is to protect and restore the Mystic River, its tributaries and watershed lands for the benefit of present and future generations and to celebrate the value, importance and great beauty of these natural resources.
MyRWA's ORGANIZATIONAL ACHIEVEMENTS:
- Installed three rain gardens: one in Everett and two in Arlington.
- Selected to join the nation’s Urban Waters Federal Partnership.
- Jan. 28th - First ever Mystic Polar Plunge held, 21 people take the plunge to kick-off MyRWA’s 40th Anniversary.
- MyRWA receives MAPC award, Excellence in Capturing Local Knowledge.
- Launched the Herring Monitoring Program, recruiting a record number of volunteer citizen scientists to help in this effort.
- MyRWA's Patrick Herron received an Environmental Merit Award from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
- MyRWA receives GoGreen Award 2012 in recognition of outstanding contribution to environmental protection.
- Work of 1000 film and discussion with Marion Stoddart at the Capitol Theater attracts 90 people.
- Urban Trail Map & Activity Guide completed with the generous support from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust.
- EkOngKar Singh Khalsa testified before the New England Fishery Management Council.
- 3500 baskets of the invasive Water Chesnut removed from the Mystic River.
- MyRWA's EkOngKar Singh Khalsa and Patrick Herron, along with other members of the Mystic River Collaborative delivered a legislative briefing at the Massachusetts State House.
- MyRWA conducts intensive phosphorus sampling throughout the watershed.
- Chelsea High School’s AP Environmental Studies class learns about the watershed through an environmental education program as part of the Lower Mystic Initiative.
- Completed ten years of water quality monitoring through the Baseline Monitoring Program.
- Expanded our staff to include an Executive Assistant for a one-year project based contract.
- Received a stormwater education and outreach grant from the EPA.
- EkOngKar Singh Khalsa, MyRWA’s Executive Director, was named Co-Chair of the EPA convened Mystic River Steering Committee.
- MyRWA received $325,000 from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust (MET) to implement an integrated water quality monitoring and improvement program in the Mystic River Watershed.
- Collaborated with community groups to remove water chestnuts from the Mystic River.
- MyRWA and its community partners received $50,000 from the Miller Foundation in support of the efforts of the Mystic River Collaborative.
- MyRWA distributed over 50 rain barrels for watershed residents to aid in lowering outdoor water usage and reduce stormwater runoff.
- MyRWA evaluated the performance of municipalities in the Mystic River Watershed in adhering to the requirements of the 2003 MS4 permit that regulates stormwater discharges. MyRWA actively supports the EPA in releasing a stronger MS4 Permit in 2011 that will result in improved water quality in the watershed.
2000 - 2009
- Collaborated with the Massachusetts Area Planning Council (MAPC) to develop an interactive Mystic River Environmental Atlas. (2009)
- Received funding from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust (MET) to develop an Urban Trail Map and Guide. (2009)
- Launched a program to address Sanitary Sewer Overflows, or SSO's. (2009)
- Expanded our staff to include an Outreach Coordinator. (2009)
- Expanded MyRWA's communications and reach through social media, a new website, and a monthly electronic newsletter. (2009)
- Presented the results of shoreline surveys and water quality monitoring to conservation commissions throughout the watershed. (2005-2008)
- Hosted a conference on stormwater Best Management Practices entitled “Mystic Stormwater 2008: A BMP Primer for Municipal Officials”. (2008)
- Assisted the EPA in planning and presenting for their Mystic River Summit and developed a webpage to host background materials for conference participants. (2008)
- Added three additional sites in the Lower Mystic to our monthly Baseline Monitoring program in order to track trends in water quality in the Island End River, Chelsea River, and Mill Creek. (2008)
- Conducted a survey of Chlorophyll a in 27 lakes and streams to assess the extent of algae blooms in the watershed. (2007)
- Assisted the Division of Marine Fisheries to conduct a survey of river herring habitat quality in Upper Mystic Lake. (2007 & 2008)
- Conducted a study of bacteria in beach sand at Sandy Beach and Constitution Beach and found that sand can harbor alarming amounts of fecal indicator bacteria. (2007)
- Developed a summer internship program with Tufts faculty members that places upper division undergraduate and graduate student interns with organizations and municipalities working on watershed-related issues. (2000-2002)
- We were twice designated a partner under the National Park Service Rivers and Trails program to focus on expanding greenway connections and improving watershed awareness. (2000 and 2001)
- We were awarded an EPA Urban Environmental Initiative grant to study and create guidelines for protecting open space in the Mystic River watershed. (2000)
- Produced two large-scale ground murals depicting the watershed's major tributaries and public open space. Locations include the MDC parking lot between the Mystic Lakes in Medford, and Dever Park in Chelsea. (2001)
- The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management awarded MyRWA a grant to create two watershed ground maps and a Blueways and Greenways brochure, highlighting trail and canoe access. (2001)
- With the City of Somerville and Tufts University, we were awarded an EPA EMPACT grant to implement real-time water quality monitoring at strategic public-use locations, develop a predictive model of bacterial contamination, and make this information readily available to the public via a website. (2002)
- MyRWA has provided comments on a number of planned projects and permits with the goal of preserving water quality and protecting open space. (Ongoing)
- MyRWA merged with the Mystic River Watershed Coalition, a coalition of groups that had been created to address the needs of the many small, more localized citizens' groups active throughout the watershed. The result of the merger is a stronger organization that can better represent and advocate on behalf of community needs. (1999-2000)
1970 - 1999
- Created and are continuing to expand an annual springtime "Super Clean-Up" throughout the watershed, involving dozens of sponsoring groups and hundreds of volunteers. (1999-ongoing)
- Published An Alewife Area Ecology Guide, a guide to the natural history and publicly accessible open space in the Alewife Brook subwatershed, linking the cities of Arlington, Belmont, and Cambridge. (1994)
- Participated in a comprehensive joint research study of urban runoff with the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Upper Mystic Lake Watershed Urban Runoff Project. We urged for the cleanup of hazardous waste in Woburn and advocated for the protection of wetlands near the Alewife MBTA station. We also successfully brought attention to and oversaw the State's removal of a large deposit of hydrogen sulfide in Lower Mystic Lake in the center of the watershed. (1980s)
- Engaged thousands of local residents in traditional watershed association activities such as clean-ups, canoe trips, walks and lectures. (1972- ongoing)