Check out the newly paved walking and biking paths in Medford's Macdonald Park, located along Mystic Valley Parkway across from the Meadow Glenn Mall. Through the Mystic Greenways Project, MyRWA is partnering with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to improve Torbert Macdonald Park, the largest open space in the Mystic River Reservation. Some sections have already been completed, with more to come. MyRWA and DCR will be partnering to bring more improvements to the park in the coming years, so keep an eye out for ways to get involved. Thank you DCR!
MyRWA is thrilled to announce Environmental League of Massachusetts Erica Mattison as a guest speaker at the August Committee Meeting. Please join us!
Come explore how we can enhance our effectiveness as clean water advocates. Learn strategies from the Environmental League’s Erica Mattison, MPA, JD. Erica leads the Green Budget Coalition and the MA Environmental Collaborative, both of which MyRWA participates in.
This presentation is part of the Mystic River Watershed Association’s monthly Committee Meeting. The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday August 2, 2016 at Tufts University, Tisch College of Citizenship & Public Service, Lincoln Filene Hall, Rabb Room, 10 Upper Campus Road, Medford. Free and open to the public!
Get the next LandLine ride on your calendar! LandLine is MAPC's vision to connect our greenways and trails into a seamless network. The plan has been developed in coordination with the LandLine Coalition, a group of 40 volunteers representing a number of local agencies and advocacy groups.
How can you assign a value to a healthy environment? Are you curious about how ecosystem services analysis or other tools in environmental economics could be applied to the Mystic? Please plan on joining Nejem Raheem, Associate Professor in the Department Of Marketing Communication at Emerson College at the Mystic River Watershed Association’s July 5th Committee Meeting. Nejem Raheem has over 10 years of experience as an environmental economist. His expertise is in economic analysis of natural resource and environmental issues, focusing on ecosystem services and traditional or indigenous economies.
This presentation is part of the Mystic River Watershed Association’s monthly Committee Meeting. The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. on July 5, 2016 at Tufts University, Tisch College of Citizenship & Public Service, Lincoln Filene Hall, Rabb Room, 10 Upper Campus Road, Medford. Free and open to the public!
On Wednesday, June 15 the Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) will launch the seventh year of water chestnut removal efforts. Native to Asia, Europe and Africa, water chestnut thrives in the nutrient rich waters of the Mystic River Watershed, including the Arlington Reservoir– in some places extending nearly shore to shore. This vegetative mat impedes boating, fishing, and swimming and crowds out native plants. Additionally, the decomposition of large quantities of water chestnuts lowers dissolved oxygen, which can lead to fish kills.
Volunteers from the local area will hand-pull this invasive plant from the Arlington Reservoir – an initiative funded through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program. Bank of America, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S.D.A. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, FedEx, Southern Company and Alcoa participate in this conservation program in support of the environment and helping our local communities.
MyRWA partners with corporations, local businesses, and community groups throughout the summer to offer fun and rewarding group volunteer opportunities. Using canoes, volunteers pull water chestnuts out of the water by hand and collect the material on shore for composting.
Additional events are scheduled for the community to be involved on Saturdays, June 18th, July 16th and July 30th. Events run from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. All supplies are provided for these family-friendly events. The June 18th event will tackle water chestnut at the Arlington Reservoir on Lowell St. Check the website for locations of the July events. Boats are limited so please register in advance at www.mysticriver.org/water-chestnut-removal-project/.
If you have any questions contact the Water Chestnut Project Coordinator at waterchestnut@MysticRiver.org.
For the second year the US EPA issued localized water quality grades to provide information on how frequently Mystic waterbodies meet standards for swimming and boating. We are pleased to share that the Mystic River (fresh and salt water sections) received an A- , the Mystic Lakes an A+ and Chelsea Creek an A-. These water bodies meet bacteria standards for swimming and boating on average greater than 85% of the time. That's right -the Mystic River is a great place to go boating and the Mystic Lakes are a great place for a swim! The grade also shows that much work lies ahead in realizing the promise of the Clean Water Act in many of our water bodies. For example, the Malden River is a C, the Aberjona River is a C+ and Alewife Brook is a D. Please explore conditions and read the US EPA press release. View a map here.
Press release from the MA DCR:
DCR Recreational Advisory: Temporary Path Closures in Medford’s MacDonald Park
WHAT: On or about Wednesday, June 1, 2016, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will be closing segments of the MacDonald Park Pathway System for reconstruction and restoration.
Sections of this pathway are suffering from unsafe edges, pavement deterioration and root damage. The project will include reconstruction, rerouting, loam and seeding shoulders and erosion controls to protect the adjacent Mystic River. The DCR will also be removing one segment of overgrown and unsafe asphalt path.
Alternative routes will be open and available along Mystic Valley Parkway.
WHERE: MacDonald Park, Mystic Valley Parkway, Medford
WHEN: Expected, Wednesday, June 1 to June 30, 2016
Wild Tales presents “SONG OF THE RIVER” - a children’s theater production about the Mystic River. The play explores the effect that invasive water plants have on the river’s well-being, and it is filled with a fanciful collection of birds, fish, dragonflies, mermaids, people and a big orange harvester named Hannah. It is being performed at SCATV (Somerville Community Access TV) in Union Square on Saturday, June 11th at 2:00. It is free and funded by a grant from the Somerville Arts Council.
Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) president Bradley Campbell announced a major lawsuit against ExxonMobil for its decades-long climate deceit on May 17th. This is the first lawsuit against ExxonMobil since revelations last September that the corporation has engaged in a deliberate cover-up of sound climate science for over thirty years. The Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) and Chelsea Green Space joined Campbell at the press conference.
MyRWA's Executive Director EkOngKar Singh Khalsa gave the following comments:
The Mystic is a great river, a river of history. Mystic River communities are among the most diverse and densely developed in the Commonwealth and for the past forty years many people and many organizations including the Mystic River Watershed Association have fought to restore the river to good health.
As a result, it is very disappointing to learn that ExxonMobil is violating its own Federal permit and regularly discharging pollution to the Mystic River. It is very disheartening to learn that ExxonMobil has done nothing at its Everett facility to protect the community from climate change impacts which it has apparently known are coming for quite some time.
In the Mystic right now, one of New England’s largest migrations of river herring is underway. Hundreds of thousands of fish will pass up the Mystic River and through the Mystic Lakes dam to spawn in Upper Mystic Lake. This wonderful natural phenomena, which has continued without break for the last ten thousand years, needs to be protected. This river is a living system visited by striped bass and harbor seals - where wildlife seeks refuge and eagles fly overhead.
In the City of Everett great effort is being made to reconnect the community to its waterfront at the Wynn Resorts site and elsewhere. Just one half-mile up river from where we are, the City of Somerville and Federal Realty are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to improve life on the river’s banks at Assembly Row. John Preotle is restoring the Malden River at River’s Edge and Tufts University has brought its rowing team to practice there.
In Chelsea, Everett and East Boston, local community activists are finding ways to bring people to the river, inspire young students to learn more about the local environment and to provide outdoor recreation opportunities for Mystic River communities.
It is tremendously unfair that one of the world’s largest corporations is putting all of this work in jeopardy. It is time for ExxonMobil to step up to the plate to address the ongoing harm it is causing our river and our community.
We are very grateful that Conservation Law Foundation is holding ExxonMobil accountable for its actions and for CLF’s promise to help protect and restore the natural environment of the Mystic River.
View a video of the press conference on CLF's Facebook page (you don't need to sign-in to Facebook or have an account to watch this.)
Watch EK's WGBH interview.
Mystic River Watershed Association is collaborating with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to revitalize MacDonald Park, the Mystic River's largest parkland and open space amenity. This is an important project of MyRWA’s Mystic Greenway Initiative - a multi-year effort to revitalize the waterfront with a seamless network of paths and parks.
To make this park one that is used and treasured by the thousands of people that live, work and play in the area, we need to hear from you! Please fill out this survey or draft a letter to DCR by May 26th to share your ideas for this park revitalization project.
To see more information on the park improvement in the DCR’s presentation from May 11th.
The public is invited to submit comments after the meeting either online or by U.S. mail addressed to the Department of Conservation and Recreation, Office of Public Outreach, 251 Causeway Street, 6th Floor, Boston, MA. Comments must be received by DCR by the close-of-business on Thursday, May 26.
By John Kilborn, Winchester resident, with help from John Shawcross, Ann Storer, and Beth MacBlane
The Mystic River watershed, including the Aberjona River in Winchester, supports one of the largest upstream runs, or migrations, of river herring in Massachusetts. Efforts are underway to build a fish ladder in Winchester, which could increase the number of migrating herring, perhaps making the migration the largest in the Commonwealth.
Each spring, schools of river herring swim up the Mystic River from the Atlantic to spawn (lay eggs) in the fresh waters of the watershed. The adults quickly return to the ocean after spawning, but the juvenile fish grow and migrate back to the ocean in late summer and fall. Most herring spawn in the same river system where they were hatched.
These small but numerous fish are an important part of the ecosystem. They provide food for marine mammals like whales; land animals; fish, such as striped bass; and local birds, such as, herons and eagles.
Historical records discovered by the Town Archivist from the 1870s confirm that there was an active herring run into Winchester, and “great numbers” of herring were taken for food and other purposes. In 1870, Winchester built a fishway over the Central Falls dam in Winchester center at Main Street. In 1872, it was reported that the herring “swarmed in our waters last spring.”
But by the early 1900s, the herring migration was likely blocked by dams and other man-made obstructions, and water quality was poor. In 2011, however, the state constructed a fish ladder in the Mystic Lakes dam that allows the herring to bypass the dam and swim farther upstream. This ladder has opened up significant new habitat suitable for herring reproduction. In 2015, the number of fish using the ladder almost doubled, perhaps as a result of the additional habitat.
The fish are now blocked by Winchester’s Central Falls dam. (This is this semi-circular dam next to Lincoln School and across from the Library.) Last June, thousands of fish were stuck in front of the dam, and observers said that it looked as if you could cross the river on the backs of the herring. When the dam’s floodgates were opened, the fish quickly swam up river—all the way to Horn Pond in Woburn, which could provide significant new breeding habitat.
Local volunteers, Town of Winchester officials, and the Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) have been working to install a fish ladder in Winchester’s Central Falls dam. This ladder will allow the herring to pass up and down river, while allowing the Town to control the water levels of the Mill Pond by the library.
With funding from the En Ka Society, MyRWA tested the quality of the Aberjona for two years to ensure that it was good enough for spawning and fish growth. Although the Aberjona has some water quality impairments, none are significant enough to stop the migration.
The good news is that construction of a fish ladder at Winchester’s Central Falls dam may begin this November. Agreements for the construction are not yet complete, but a final design is being prepared. The performing parties at a Superfund cleanup site in Woburn have preliminarily agreed to fund construction of the ladder. In addition, the state will make improvements to a spillway in Horn Pond to ease fish passage into Horn Pond. If the fish can get up to Horn Pond, the Mystic River watershed has the potential to support the largest run of herring in Massachusetts.
This community effort to construct these fish ladders is a critical step in restoring the Aberjona and larger watershed. The fish ladders will open new herring habitat that will help increase the herring population. That, in turn, will support many other kinds of wildlife. Winchester has a unique opportunity to restore the herring migration to its past glory. The Aberjona can again become a living river, and we can all see the herring in their “great numbers.”
MyRWA is thrilled to share that Roger Frymire, long-time MyRWA volunteer and activist, received the US EPA Lifetime Merit Award! Additionally, former Mayor of the City of Medford Michael McGlynn and strong supporter of water chestnut removal efforts received the US EPA Lifetime Merit Award. MyRWA offers our deepest gratitude and congratulations to both awardees!
---- Courtesy US EPA Press Release -----
Sixteen winners from Massachusetts were recognized today at the 2016 Environmental Merit Awards ceremony of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s New England regional office. The environmental leaders were among three dozen recipients across New England honored for helping to improve New England’s environment.
Each year EPA New England recognizes individuals and groups in the six New England states who have worked to protect or improve the region’s environment in distinct ways. The merit awards, given out since 1970, honor individuals and groups who have shown particular ingenuity and commitment in their efforts.
“We are proud to honor those citizens, businesses and organizations who have gone the extra mile to help protect and preserve our region’s natural resources,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “These New England award winners are committed to making our towns, cities and countryside of New England healthy, vibrant places with clean air, land and water.”
The Environmental Merit Awards, which are given to people who have already taken action, are awarded in the categories of individual; business (including professional organizations); local, state or federal government; and environmental, community, academia or nonprofit organization. Also, each year EPA presents lifetime achievement awards for individuals.
Mystic River Watershed Association
With his kayak strapped faithfully to the roof of his car, Roger Frymire is a reliable and resourceful volunteer for the Mystic River Watershed Association. For the past 20 years, Frymire has monitored water quality for the association. He helped design and put in place monitoring programs that illuminate environmental conditions in the watershed, and his work has brought attention to the Mystic River, Malden River, Aberjona River, Chelsea Creek, Alewife Brook and the Mystic Lakes. Beginning in 1999, Frymire helped the Mystic Monitoring Network develop into one of New England’s finest water quality monitoring programs. Frymire volunteered countless hours collecting water samples and, as part of the Mystic Monitoring team, shared his important insight into monitoring design and data control.
In addition, Frymire was a one-man “find it and fix it” team. In his own words, he is a “retired codger who enjoyed kayaking but didn’t think rivers should smell like cesspools.” On many kayak trips, Frymire took more than 2000 samples for fecal bacteria analysis to identify the sources of the problems, bring attention to water conditions and get the problems solved. His efforts helped the rivers and led to many victories in the Mystic. Frymire has received multiple awards from environmental groups and the city of Cambridge.
Frymire began sampling with the Charles River Watershed Association and soon after began working in the Mystic, Merrimac and Salem Sound watersheds. He worked in every kind of weather and in every season. He was a consultant to USGS, EPA, the Army Corp of Engineers, the US Geological Survey, the state and the Center for Watershed Protection, and has given expert testimony at countless public hearings and meetings. His work has been featured on TV; in the Boston Globe; on NPR’s Living on the Earth; and in Mother Jones magazine, as well as numerous other publications. In these stories, Frymire always turns attention from himself to focus on the environment and on local non-profit advocates. With this Lifetime Achievement Award, EPA and the environmental community offer sincere thanks to Roger Frymire for his dedicated stewardship.
The Honorable Michael J. McGlynn
As the longest serving mayor in Massachusetts, Michael J. McGlynn was Mayor of Medford, Massachusetts from 1987 until his retirement last year. His progressive leadership on energy and environmental issues spanned almost 20 years of policies and programs. Under McGlynn’s leadership, the city saw a long list of achievements. Among the most notable was the 2009 construction of a wind turbine that provides 10 percent of the power for the McGlynn School, saving $25,000 a year in electric bills and providing enough energy to offset about 133 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, Medford was the first EPA Clean School Bus Project recipient in the country to not only manage the program for Medford, but also for 12 other regional communities served by the same bus company. The city had the first Municipal Climate Action Plan in the state, and received the 2004 EPA Clean Air Excellence Award for its innovations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Under McGlynn’s leadership the city also put into place a solar program that resulted in Medford residents contracting 322 kilowatts of solar power. The city was recognized for its recycling and sustain¬ability practices, its energy and environmental initiatives, as well as its Go Green Medford initiative. During nearly three decades of leadership, Mayor McGlynn made a lifetime of difference for the city of Medford.
MyRWA is happy to announce the start our newest employee, Amber Christoffersen. Amber will serve as the Mystic Greenways Director and will manage the new Mystic Greenways Initiative which aims to revitalize our waterfront parks. Prior to joining MyRWA, she launched and led the Emerald Network, a vision for 200 miles of seamless greenways in Metro Boston. She holds a Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Georgia and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the College of William and Mary.
Please say hello to Amber at the May 11 DCR public meeting regarding Medford’s MacDonald Park or at the May 15 Herring Run and Paddle. If you're interested in getting involved with this initiative as it develops, please sign up here.
More than 100 volunteers dusted off their work gloves and boots for MyRWA’s annual Earth Day River Cleanup held on April 30. Meeting at DCR Torbert MacDonald Park in Medford groups fueled up on coffee donated by Starbucks before heading out to pick-up litter throughout the park. Meanwhile, with the help of MA-DCR staff, the Tufts Football team battled the climbing invasive vine, Oriental bittersweet. By the end of the day a truck load of trash was collected and we had filled the chipper with plant material. Thanks to all who attended the event! Funding was generously provided by the Tufts University Neighborhood Service Fund.
The return of the herring is a sure sign of spring for Mystic River communities, and the Mystic River Watershed Association is happy to offer the public an opportunity to view this annual migration. Join us for an open house at the DCR Upper Mystic Lake Dam on Mystic Valley Parkway in Medford to learn more about the Blueback and Alewife Herring. If you would like to coordinate a group visit, please contact the Association at 781-316-3438. Read more about the Herring Monitoring Program.
Fish Ladder Open House Dates:
- Sunday, May 15th, 12pm- 3pm
- Wednesday, May 18th, 3pm - 7pm
- Saturday, May 21st, 9:00 am - noon
We hope to see you there!
Soak Up the Rain New England Webinar Series
Wednesday, May 25th, 2016 from 1:00-2:30 EST
“Engaging Urban Residents: Innovative Approaches to Promoting Community-Based Stormwater Management”
Pallavi Mande, Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA). Pallavi will describe the CRWA's Blue Cities Initiative. The Initiative works to restore natural hydrology to urban watersheds while enhancing neighborhoods and connecting open spaces. Pallavi will also present case studies of community-based green infrastructure installations in the Charles River watershed which have improved water quality and reduced stormwater runoff while providing other of benefits for neighborhood residents.
Giovanni Zinn, New Haven Engineering Department, New Haven, CT. Giovanni will discuss city-wide green infrastructure projects that have helped to address both flooding and stormwater issues in the city. Partners have included the Yale School of Forestry, the US Fish & Wildlife Service, and EMERGE Connecticut, Inc. (a transitional work training program). To date, Giovanni has installed more than a dozen bioretention systems in residential areas with plans to install many more in the next two years in the downtown central business district, leveraging federal, state and municipal funding.
Peter Coffin, Blackstone Headwaters Coalition and the Blackstone River Coalition. Peter will highlight the Coalition’s green infrastructure projects in Worcester, MA, including, the most recent: Stormwater Benefits of Urban Trees- an outreach effort to engage inner city residents to understand the role that trees play in reducing stormwater runoff and flooding. Through this project over 68 trees were planted and over twenty educational events were conducted. The goal is to plant 100 trees by summer, 2016. Peter will also describe the “Rain Gardens to the Rescue” project, which resulted in the creation of several demonstration rain gardens throughout the city.
Michael Chavez, Fairmount/Indigo Line CDC Collaborative; and Trevor Smith, Land Escapes. Michael and Trevor will describe the Living Roof Bus Shelter Initiative in which green roofs have been installed on bus shelters in Boston. Michael and Trevor will describe: how they collaborated with local groups, the types of community outreach efforts that supported the initiative and how local youth are being trained on the installation and maintenance of the green roofs.
They will also discuss how this initiative conveys the many benefits of green roofs and other green infrastructure practices, especially in an urban setting.
The project is being performed for the Town of Arlington, under a license (permit) issued by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and an Order of Conditions permit from the Arlington Conservation Commission. Solitude Lake Management is the pond management consultant and contractor to the Town for this project. Please email any questions to: email@example.com
On Tuesday, June 14th head to Flatbread Pizza at Sacco's Bowl Haven in Davis Square for a Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) fundraiser. That’s right, the more flatbread you eat the more money will be raised to support the Mystic River Watershed Association and our efforts to protect and restore the Mystic River Watershed!
Eat at or get take-out from Flatbread Pizza, 45 Day Street, Somerville, between 5pm and 11pm on June 14th and a portion of your flatbread cost will automatically be donated to MyRWA.
Reservations are accepted for groups of 10 or more.
- The Orbis Earth Machine retails at hardware stores for $110. Thanks to a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, the City of Medford will again be able to offer these bins for $40 for a limited time.
- Order compost bins by May 10th for pickup on Wednesday, May 25 from 5 to 7pm at City Hall. Ordering instructions athttp://medfordenergy.org/compost-bins/
- Rain barrels are a great way to reduce stormwater runoff and save you money!
- Order rain barrels by May 4th for pickup on May 11th from 5 to 7pm at City Hall. Rain barrels must be ordered directly from the company athttps://www.greatamericanranbarrel.com/c-175-medford.aspx
- Information about stormwater pollution, and what you can do in Medford, here: http://medfordenergy.org/gogreen/storm-water-specific/
Announcement courtesy of Mass. Dept. of Conservation and Recreation.
Please mark your calendars for a DCR Public Meeting on Torbert MacDonald Park Improvements.
Wednesday, May 11, 2016 – 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
River’s Edge, Great Lawn Room (First Floor)
200 River’s Edge Drive, Medford, MA 02155
At this public meeting, DCR will present an introduction to, and obtain feedback on, concept designs for potential improvements to MacDonald Park in the Mystic River Reservation, including new park seating areas, signage, and recreational amenities. DCR will also provide information on some planned improvements that, subject to permitting, would commence soon, including removal of invasive species in the water and on the land and reconstruction of deteriorated walkways.
The presentation will be viewable after the meeting on DCR’s website at http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/public-outreach/public-meetings/. The public is invited to submit comments after the meeting either online at http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/public-outreach/submit-public-comments/ or by U.S. mail addressed to the Department of Conservation and Recreation, Office of Public Outreach, 251 Causeway Street, 6th Floor, Boston, MA. Comments must be received by DCR by the close-of-business on Thursday, May 26.