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upcoming events

Dec 1

Dec 1
Committee Meeting, 7-9PM
Tufts University, Lincoln Filene Center, Rabb Room, 10 Upper Campus Road, Medford
*Guest Speaker from Mass. Division of Ecological Restoration on the Economic Benefits of Ecological Restoration report

Dec 14
Friends of the Malden River meeting, 6:30-8PM
Cambridge Health Alliance: 195 Canal Street, Malden 


Special Presentation: How do you value ecosystem restoration?

From 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on December 1st, MyRWA will be joined by Nick Wildman, Restoration Specialist with the MA Dept. of Fish & Game, Div. of Ecological Restoration. Mr. Wildman will present a synopsis of the Report on the Economic Benefits of Ecological Restoration. We will learn more about the concept of ecosystem service valuation and its application in the context of the state’s restoration activities.

This special presentation is part of the monthly Mystic River Watershed Association Committee Meeting. After the presentation the Committee will break into two groups: the Policy Committee and the Clean Water Campaign Committee. Please join us for this free, informational meeting! 

Mystic River Watershed Association Committee Meeting, 7-9PM
Tufts University, Lincoln Filene Center, Rabb Room, 10 Upper Campus Road, Medford


#GivingTuesday December 1st

MyRWA has joined #GivingTuesday, a first of its kind effort that will harness the collective power of a unique blend of partners – charities, families, businesses and individuals – to transform how people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season. Coinciding with the Thanksgiving Holiday and the kickoff of the holiday shopping season, #GivingTuesday will inspire people to take collaborative action to improve their local communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they support and help create a better world.

This #GivingTuesday, MyRWA is thankful for our many volunteers, members, and supporters. We are launching the start of our End of Year fundraising in conjunction with #GivingTuesday on Tuesday, December 1st. Please make a special donation on December 1st in support of a healthy Mystic River watershed!


New Water Quality Sampling Efforts

Photo by Patrick Herron.MyRWA is collaborating with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MA-DEP), United States Environmental Protection Agency (US-EPA), Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) and the United States Geologic Survey (USGS) to develop a stronger understanding of flow conditions and nutrient loads in the Mystic River watershed. This autosampler is capturing samples as triggered by the flow measured at the USGS stream gauge on the Aberjona River. At every 86,400 cubic feet of flow, the machine takes a sip of 100 ml of river that is added to a large composite sample. MyRWA expects to have 5 autosamplers running throughout the watershed in 2016.

MyRWA scientist Veronique Vicard is programming the autosampler stationed at the Aberjona River.


MyRWA Joins Two Coalitions

MyRWA is happy to share that we recently joined two coalitions.

The Massachusetts Climate Change Adaptation Coalition is comprised of engineers, architects, planners, and conservation and environmental organizations working to reduce the Commonwealth’s vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.

Mass Power Forward works to ensure that Massachusetts adopts an energy policy that supports local renewable energy resources, keeps energy dollars in our communities, creates good green jobs and protects our Commonwealth from climate change and life-threatening pollution.


Somerville Climate Action: Tiny House Presentation with Tiny House Northeast

Join Somerville Climate Action, tiny house enthusiasts, and those who want to live smaller (and happier!) on Wednesday, November 11th for an evening tiny house presentation by Tiny House Northeast.

The more sustainable "tiny house" approach to home ownership presented to us through mostly commercial media has set a segment of American culture on fire! We love the idea of a more affordable, greener housing option. Tiny House Northeast's project manager/lead designer, Isa Bauer C., will offer a view into the real world advantages and challenges of a tiny home. It's a lot more complicated than the TV shows make it appear!

The presentation will help you learn whether this lifestyle is for you, and if it is, what ducks you need to get in order to help make your tiny house journey a success. An area will also be marked off in the size of a tiny house floor plan, so you can get a sense of the space you are working with,  how to add "components", etc.

Learn more & RSVP!


Community Stormwater Solutions (MA Watershed Coalition)

11/18 Community Stormwater Solutions (register online)

Please join the MA Watershed Coalition for Cost-Effective Community Stormwater Solutions on Wednesday, November 18, 5 - 8:30 pm, at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).

Polluted runoff is the leading cause for damages to local waters.  Fortunately, there are efficient ways to prevent and fix stormwater problems that impact property, harm aquatic life and spoil uses of streams, lakes and water supplies.

This meeting of the MA Watershed Coalition will feature expert speakers on Low-Impact Development, urban stream renewal, BMP site selection, stormwater assistance programs and the costs of runoff remedies.  Town officials, highway departments, lake associations, watershed groups, home-builders, stormwater committees and concerned citizens will gain practical guidance to help their communities remove more stormwater pollution for less cost.

The $10 registration fee (free for students) includes meeting materials and refreshments.  You can view meeting details and register online at Eventbrite.

For more information, email or telephone (978) 534-0379.


Friends of Alewife Reservation Permitting News 

MyRWA received this press release from the Friends of Alewife Reservation (FAR).


Please join us in manual labor and much spirit, as FAR begins its Fall season in its continuing stewardship of Alewife Reservation and its 130 acres of threatened wetland, woodlands and meadow.  Over the summer several community service work parties together have been busy with  watershed studies, youth educational projects, and control over invasive species in the Alewife sub-watershed property.  This summer’s 9th annual student ecology camp sponsored by FAR produced a professional level assessment of Little River adjacent to Alewife Brook which flows into the Mystic River. Youth assessed its water quality (noted by several forums to be the worst in the Commonwealth of D- grade), river contour, flow,  development and flooding threats which come from the Boston Harbor. The 100 year floodplain  is measured as the lowest sea elevation in Cambridge (5 feet above sea level at the Alewife T), noted by the completed official city Vulnerability Assessment Study, and revealed at MIT city presentation last February as our most flood prone area, especially if a ‘Sandy’ occurrence were to happen on our local coastline. Plans for permitting and implementation of the River Restore Project are in process. State and municipal agencies have been sent the report asking for circulation of the report, more official public data and relevant municipal plans for watershed improvement.

The Commonwealth’s Department of Conservation and Recreation recently renewed a stewardship permit for Lesley University, FAR and its volunteer from Harvard Herbarium to expand its experimental soils restoration and plant cover project  in the Blair Pond meadow, adjacent to the rich birding habitat, and  surrounded by impressive tall canopy tree grove cover,  integral to the 130 acres of rare urban wild which benefits the Mystic River watershed, and the towns of Arlington, Belmont, cities of Cambridge and Somerville not to mention home to the 20 species of mammals and 90 bird species.  The meadow is on the West Cambridge/East Belmont border.

Under this permit volunteers will establish test plots to 1) demonstrate the potential of reseeding with native indigenous species, and 2) to demonstrate effectiveness of permacultural  methods via improving soil health.  In late September visitors to the Blair Pond area will note plot delineation, purpose and goals, for upgrading existing soil conditions which will increase the natural value of the western most part of Alewife Reservation and the watershed it serves as a vital floodplain for Boston metropolis and in general the US east coast. Presently DCR and Commuter Rail plan flood retention protection surrounding Blair Pond along the railroad tracks.

Friends of Alewife Reservation seeks advice and manual assistance from neighbors and others interested in restoration and maintenance of this hidden gem in the heart of North Cambridge.  To offer your suggestions and support please contact FAR office at: 617 415 1884 or or Ellen Mass at 617 290-4864.



Fall Mystic Messenger now Online

Check out the latest edition of the Mystic Messenger for watershed news! Articles include the history behind the new EPA issued Mystic River Report Card, an update on Malden River initiatives and an account from paddling the in the Mystic River Herring Run and Paddle race.


MyRWA Tracks Restoration at Wynn Site

MyRWA is documenting the environmental remediation work at the Wynn Resorts site along the Mystic River in Everett. Restoration of the hazardous waste site is undeway. Check out the latest news!


Tufts Lunch & Learn Program to Focus on Migratory Fish & Dams

For more information about this Tufts University program see

The Dammed: Getting fish back into American rivers by chipping away at dams

Thursday, October 22, 2015, 12pm
Tufts, Lincoln Filene Center, Rabb Room, 10 Upper Campus Road, Medford

Becky Kessler, Environmental journalist and Editor, Mongabay

U.S. rivers once teemed with migratory fish making their way between the salty ocean and inland freshwater bodies: alewives, blueback herring, shad, salmon, trout, smelt, eels, lamprey, sturgeon, and others. But the installation of thousands of dams, culverts, and other barriers helped squeeze the fish flow to a trickle. Populations of 24 North Atlantic migratory fish species are now down to less than 10 percent of their historic size, and half are down to less than 2 percent, by one estimate. New England alone has no fewer than 25,000 dams, many of them dating to the 1700s, and more than you might expect in derelict and crumbling condition. Little by little, people are considering taking out some of these dams, with an eye to easing passage for fish, as well as generally improving rivers' health. But dam removal often runs into blockages of its own, and we'll talk about old (bad) and new (better) ways of getting fish over dams when that happens. On the east coast, flagship river restoration is taking place on the Penobscot in Maine, combining several strategies to improve fishes' odds of making it past the 13 dams that once choked its flow: dam removal, dam bypass, and better fish passageways. Enlightenment may be dawning in the U.S., but globally, dusk is descending for many riverine fish and peoples. We'll zoom out and look at the global dam-building frenzy that is transforming entire river networks in a quest for "green" energy, including the Yangtze and Amazon river basins, where roughly 250 dams are being planned or are under construction.

Rebecca Kessler is an editor at the environmental news website, where she covers all aspects of our changing planet with a particular zeal for the ocean, environmental conflict, and indigenous peoples. A former freelance science and environmental journalist and senior editor at Natural History magazine, her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe Magazine, Yale Environment 360, Conservation, Discover, ScienceNOW, ScienceInsider, and Environmental Health Perspectives. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island.


Battling Invasive Water Chestnut

MyRWA, along with many partners and volunteers, completed the 6th year of water chesntut control efforts.  We had a very successful 2015 season, working with 966 volunteers across 21 events to remove 4,280 baskets (or an estimated 85,600 lbs.) of plant material from the Mystic River and Arlington Reservoir. Thank you to the many helping hands in this effort! Read more and see photos.


Special Presentation: East Boston Advancing Resiliency Report

From 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on October 6th, MyRWA will be joined by Jordan Zimmerman, an architect with Arrowstreet, who will present the findings of the East Boston Advancing Resiliency Report. The report is a publication of the Urban Land Institute Boston/New England chapter.

This technical assistance panel report is the result of work by a panel of professionals in architecture, public policy, real estate law, landscape architecture, engineers, and planning. The panelists focus was on identifying vulnerabilities due to rising sea levels and opportunities for resiliency and adaptation planning in East Boston.

This special presentation is part of the monthly Mystic River Watershed Association Committee Meeting. After the presentation the Committee will break into two groups: the Policy Committee and the Clean Water Campaign Committee. Please join us for this free, informational meeting!

Tuesday, October 6th, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Arlington Town Hall, 730 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, MA - Selectmen's Hearing Room, 2nd floor


Somerville DePaving Party!


This announcement is from Somerville Climate Action.

We love the beautiful greenery in our neighborhoods, our sacred place, home to wildlife and all of us.

Help Barbara & Paul transform their yard so that it soaks up the rain! 

Join us at their Depaving Party!


WHEN: Saturday, OCT 3th (raindate: Sunday, Oct 4th), from 11:00 - 1:00.

WHERE: Depaving Party Hosts - Barbara & Paul's at 18 Kelly Rd., Cambridgeport

ORGANIZERS: Lenni & Cador from Somerville Climate Action


Please sign up:


** Massage Therapist Phil Buchanan will be generously offering FREE MASSAGE for depavers! **



* Reverse dehydration of the soil by allowing the rain to soak in

* Cool the air in the summer by decreasing the urban island heat effect through evapotranspiration

* Decrease water pollution by purifying stormwater naturally

* Increase air quality by removing particulate pollutants from the air

* Benefit from the beauty of a green space with a garden or habitat for birds & insects


Congressman Capuano to Speak At Annual Meeting

Please plan on attending the 2015 MyRWA Annual Meeting on Monday, October 19th at Tufts University. We are honored to have US Congressman Michael Capuano join us as Keynote Speaker. The Congressman will share his unique perspective on watershed protection efforts and his vision for the Mystic River Watershed. The evening's program will also include an entertaining update from MyRWA Executive Director, EkOngKar Singh Khalsa, an awards ceremony and voting for the 2015-2016 slate of Board of Directors. Read more here.


MyRWA Comments on Wynn Environmental Permit

Wynn Resorts rendering along the Mystic River in Everett, MA.MyRWA’s policy committee recently submitted comments on the Second Supplemental Final Environmental Impact Report (SSFEIR) filed for the proposed Wynn Resort Casino Everett. MyRWA has closely followed the progress of plans for this project over the past two years.  MyRWA is encouraged by the Proponent’s approach to site remediation, planning and design, which includes MyRWA’s suggested “living shoreline,” and by the stated commitment of the Wynn Resorts development team to set high standards of excellence with regard to environmental protection and restoration. Read the MyRWA comment letter and the Aug. 29 Boston Globe article.


2014 Metro North Land Use Priority Plan Presentation

At 7:00 p.m. on September 1st, MyRWA will be joined by Eric Halvorsen, AICP, Assistant Director of Transportation for the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC). Halvorsen will provide an overview of the 2014 Metro North Land Use Priority Plan.

The plan identifies local, regional, and state-level priority development and preservation areas in the nine Metro North municipalities: Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Revere, Somerville, Winthrop, and the neighborhoods of East Boston and Charlestown in the City of Boston.

This special presentation is part of the monthly Mystic River Watershed Association Committee Meeting. After Eric’s presentation the Committee will break into two groups: the Policy Committee and the Clean Water Campaign Committee. Please join us for this free, informational meeting!

Please join us!

Tuesday, September 1, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Arlington Town Hall, 730 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington - Selectmen's Hearing Room, 2nd floor


Mystic River Canoe Tour

Do you want a free canoe trip on the Mystic River? Are you looking to learn more about the watershed and its history? Well then you’re in luck! 

Join MyRWA and Professor Rick Beinecke for a one-time only, educational canoe tour of the Mystic River and the Amelia Earhart Dam. Beinecke is an expert on the Mystic River and its history, having written an extensive paddling guide and book on the watershed, The Mystic River – A Natural and Human History and Recreation Guide. The trip will be a fun and educational way to explore the river and will include a paddle through the lock system of the Amelia Earhart Dam to discover the salt water portions of the river. MyRWA will provide all canoes, life jackets, and paddles for this free event. Space is limited – RESERVE your spot today! 

When: 9:00 a.m., Saturday September 19th, 2015 

Rain date: Sunday, September 20th  

Where: Mystic Wellington Yacht Club (451 Fellsway, Medford, MA 02155

Why: Fun in the sun and information from an experienced professional


Final Water Chestnut Cleanup

The big groups have come through and done their baskets of work, but there are still a few water chestnuts left in certain stretches of the river! Given our ambitious and exciting goal of collecting 100% of the plants in the river, we are sending out a call for volunteers to help us collect the stragglers. If you have your own boat and can spend an hour or so of your time to help clean up the Mystic, please let us know!

Use the maps below to pick a section of river you would like to work on, then sign up for the respective section on this Google form:


How are we doing this?

                We are asking volunteers with their own canoes or kayaks to sign up for a portion of the river and search among the Lily Pads and Algae for the last few Water Chestnut plants. Feel free to sign up for as many sections as you'd like, we appreciate the help!

When should I try to complete this?

                The earlier the better, we are trying to pull the plants before they have a chance to reproduce. Ideally, we’d like every section to be cleared by August 21st.

Which areas are most important?

                While we are trying clear all of the water chestnut, in general the further downstream the area is, the more plants are left. Therefore, our top priorities are the lower numbers (i.e. 1-6).


How do I know what to pull?

                The water chestnut looks like this: and grows on the surface of the water. Grasp the plant just below the water surface and gently tug it to pull up the long roots. Then pull the plant into your boat. Be careful of the spiky seeds: If you see these floating in the water, no need to pull them out (they are defective) however, the plants can have seeds on them so be aware and wear gloves!


Why are we removing water chestnut from the Mystic River?

 For more information on the Water Chestnut and the problems it poses for the watershed, refer to this document:


What do I do with the plants once I pull them?

                You can throw them on the shore or put them in your compost or trash. Just don’t throw them back in the water!  

If you have any more questions, or can't find an open slot that works for you, don’t hesitate to email


Thank you in advance for your help cleaning the last of this invasive species from the upstream portions of the river!


Water Trouble: A Neighbor-to-Neighbor Dialog about Storms, Floods, and Water Quality Forum

Please plan on attending this forum hosted by the Belmont Citizens Forum and sponsored by MyRWA!

Thursday, September 10, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.
Winn Brook School, 97 Waterhouse Rd, Belmont, MA 02478

We will be joined by our Arlington and Watertown neighbors to raise awareness among our three connected communities. The goal of the Forum is to educate citizens to:

  • Take action to improve water quality through better stormwater management
  • Reduce the ill effects of flooding through green infrastructure

Our panel of experts will discuss stormwater projects and issues relevant to Arlington, Belmont, and Watertown, as well as green infrastructure, water quality and rivers, and infiltration strategies for urban soils.

Anne-Marie Lambert, BCF director and cofounder of the Belmont Stormwater Working Group, will facilitate the discussion.

If you'd like to volunteer for this event, please contact the Belmont Citizens Forum at  For more information about the Belmont Citizens Forum, visit


Canoemobile coming to the Mystic!

This fall, the National Park Service, Groundwork Somerville, YMCA Boston and Wilderness Inquiry will be hosting an exciting canoeing event on two of our important local rivers: the Mystic River in Somerville (September 22nd, 2015) and the Neponset River in Boston (September 23rd, 2015). The Wilderness Inquiry Canoemobile, a fleet of six 24’ Voyageur canoes, delivers place-based education on urban rivers and waterways that offers youth a chance to canoe, learn, and interact in and around their local rivers. As part of its national tour of 31 cities, the Canoemobile will be delivering 2 days of programming in Boston and Somerville.
The event is coordinated and funded by the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program, hosted by YMCA Boston and Groundwork Somerville and implemented by Wilderness Inquiry and a number of community-based organizations. The Canoemobile is a program of Wilderness Inquiry in partnership with Nature Valley and many federal, state, and local organizations that care about healthy lifestyles for today's youth.
The event will include water and land-based activities throughout the day. Each of the canoes (24-foot, hand built wooden boats) seats nine students and one environmental educator-canoe guide, allowing participants who have never been on the water to have their first paddling experience. Participants study water quality, climate change, and ecosystem restoration while on the water. Partner organizations facilitate interactive land-based curriculum stations, which typically includes environmental education (i.e. water quality and wildlife ecology), outdoor recreation (i.e. pitching a tent, building a small raft or tying knots) and historical/cultural interpretation (i.e. learning about the history of the river).
For more information: