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upcoming events

Oct 25
Friends of the Mystic River Annual Fall Cleanup, 9am-1pm
Condon Band Shell, Rt. 16, Medford

Oct 28
Wynn Resorts Presentation, 7PM
Tufts University, 51 Winthrop Street, Medford

Nov 18
Friends of the Malden River meeting, 6:30-8PM

Dec 2
Committee Meeting, 7-9PM
Tufts University, Lincoln Filene Center, Rabb Room

Wednesday
Oct222014

Forest Preservation versus Development along the Alewife

By EkOngKar Singh Khalsa, Executive Director, Mystic River Watershed Association

Over the weekend a stand of mature silver maple trees were felled in the Town of Belmont.  While this event was enormously important to local activists that have worked for ten years to preserve this small forest, for the most part few people noticed. 

The trees are being removed to make way for a 300 unit apartment building being constructed under Chapter 40B – the Massachusetts Law intended to promote affordable housing in the Commonwealth. This law allows developers to ignore the land use restrictions and environmental protection provided by local zoning bylaws.  In this case, Chapter 40B creates a pathway for the construction of extraordinarily dense development in an already over-stressed ecosystem. 

The parcel on which this project is proposed is located adjacent to Alewife Reservation, a tiny remainder of green space in a former wetland long ago filled for residential and commercial use on the border of Cambridge, Belmont and Arlington.  Once constructed, the new project will send stormwater runoff into local waterways, including Little River and Alewife Brook, where leaking and overflowing stormwater and sewer systems cause significant water quality impairment.  The entire sub-watershed in which these 300 units will reside is also subject to significant flooding during moderate to severe storm events – all predicted to worsen as climate change impacts become more intensely felt in New England.

Environmental advocates are continuing efforts to prevent the development.  Recent protest actions resulted in the arrests of thirteen local residents (read more here). There is still a chance that the land can be placed into conservation – but from the start this has been an uphill battle. 

Why is this project being constructed? Why were none of the efforts to preserve this land successful so far?

The answer is simple.  As a result of the number of housing units permitted under Chapter 40B, the price of the property moved out of reach from even the most avid conservationists.  Without these permits, the land value is substantially reduced, acquisition becomes possible and sellers become more willing as their development options become more limited.  The fact is that the forest is being removed so that the goals and objectives of affordable housing and transit oriented development advocates can be realized.  Unfortunately in cases such as this, much is sacrificed when impacts to the local natural environment do not receive appropriate consideration or accurate assessment under the law.

This is an important concern in the Mystic River watershed.  Unless there is more attention to and funding for the preservation of open space in urban areas such as ours it is certain that the next generation will be working to unwind the impacts of the poor planning decisions we make now.

The intense development pressures along Route 2 in the Alewife Brook sub-watershed are not the only major challenges looming for the Mystic.  The Metro North Land Use Priority Plan, a collaboration between the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), the Executive Offices of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) and Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA), and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), proposes to construct more than 40,000 new housing units in the next 15 years in East Boston and Charlestown in Boston, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Revere, Somerville and Winthrop – all communities in the Mystic River watershed.

While there is consideration given in this plan to what are called Priority Preservation Areas, stronger measures must be taken to protect, preserve and restore local waterways and open space.  If not mother nature will once again lose out to the need for additional jobs and housing in Mystic River communities north of Boston.

I am certain it is not the intention of these planners or housing advocates like the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance, the Citizen’s Housing and Planning Association, or the Massachusetts Housing Alliance to preside over the destruction of the last of a flood plain forest.  Unfortunately this is the result when public policy ignores the long term value of vital environmental resources like the Silver Maple Forest.

It is time to rewrite the conditions associated with Chapter 40B permitting to make sure that stronger consideration is given to project impacts upon wetlands, stressed waterways and flood plains and more intensive review is provided of environmental impacts in general.  Over the last 40 years, the work of the Mystic River Watershed Association and others has brought great improvement to the local natural environment.  We know that affordable housing and environmental protection need not be at odds. Now is the time to take a new look at environmental conditions in densely developed communities so that sensible decisions are made when we locate new development – especially development designed under Chapter 40B.

 

Thursday
Oct162014

Oaktree Appellants Award Mystic River Watershed Association

EK Khalsa, Carolyn Mieth & Minka vanBeuzekom.On October 7, 2014 the Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) was grateful to receive $30,000 from the Oaktree Appellants, a group of local activists. This funding will be used to restore environmental conditions in the Alewife Brook sub-watershed which includes parts of Cambridge, Belmont, Somerville and Arlington, MA.

The history and source of this funding will define the work Mystic River Watershed Association undertakes through this grant. In the early 2000’s the Oaktree Appellant activists objected to a proposed residential development adjacent to the Alewife MBTA station based upon the excessive size of the project, the high levels of traffic it would generate and the lack of sufficient flood storage on site. An appeal to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection approval of the development plan was filed by Oaktree Appellants and subsequently a lawsuit was filed by the developer against these individual litigants. Funding provided to the Mystic River Watershed Association under this grant is derived from the settlement of these suits, totaling $135,000. This funding, under the terms of the settlement, must be used for improvement of the Alewife floodplain. The Mystic River Watershed Association’s expertise and experience in the Alewife area will ensure that is how the funds are deployed.

Friday
Oct102014

Wynn Resorts Development on the Mystic, By EkOngKar Singh Khalsa

For the past eighteen months, the Mystic River Watershed Association has closely followed proposed plans for hotel/casino facilities on the banks of the Mystic River in Everett. Now that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission has voted to award a casino license to Wynn Everett it is important to reflect upon the ways that this enormous project can change the Mystic River Watershed.

From our very first comments, the Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) has encouraged both the proponent and the Gaming Commission that Wynn Resorts has an extraordinary opportunity and an obligation to make significant contributions to the revitalization of the Mystic River waterfront and to restoration of natural habitat, including water quality, as part of its efforts. It remains our position that the Wynn Resorts team can make a big difference – there are certainly many opportunities for good work.

MyRWA pointed out in its comments on the Environmental Notification Form (ENF), for example, that emergence of new salt marsh adjacent to the project site gave evidence that restoration of river bank and tidal habitat was feasible at the Wynn property. MyRWA recommended a more naturalist approach to site development and to the water’s edge. At the same time, we recommended substantial increases in public open space and access and urged that off-site connections be made to allow for improved pedestrian and bicycle circulation along the waterfront. The Wynn Resorts development team embraced these concepts and substantially modified their approach. Expanded public open space along a new “Living Shoreline” was included in subsequent iterations of the Wynn development plan.

We applaud these efforts to expand and enhance public open space and to restore nearby tidal and wetland areas. This innovative approach will serve as an important model for future development and salt marsh and habitat restoration along the Mystic River. The “Living Shoreline” will provide greater capacity for storm surges and sea level rise and will allow these to be more naturally attenuated. Proposed improvements of area bicycle and pedestrian pathways will help connect visitors to the local natural environment and to the Mystic River.

Restoration of this long vacant Brownfield to productive use can provide substantial benefit to Mystic River communities and to water quality and natural life. It is important however that Wynn Resorts continues to do more to protect and preserve the Mystic River and its watershed and MyRWA will steadfastly advocate for those results.

There will be many things to consider as this project moves forward through the permitting process – traffic, impacts on local businesses and surrounding communities and apprehensions about expanded gaming in the Commonwealth. We respect the concerns our members and residents of Mystic River communities have with regard to these issues. Our focus will remain on the health and well being of the Mystic River. From our perspective, the size and scope of the development proposed warrants that significant measures are taken to ensure this project produces overwhelmingly positive results for the Mystic River and the local natural environment if it is built.

The Mystic River Watershed Association will continue to closely monitor plans for the Wynn Resorts development and will remain in contact with the proponent and relevant authorities during the next stages. We are encouraged by improvements to the site plan made to date, by proposed mitigations and by the stated commitment of the Wynn Resorts development team to set high standards of excellence with regard to site design and environmental protection. We will certainly keep our members and concerned stakeholders closely posted as this moves forward.

Sincerely,

EkOngKar Singh Khalsa, Executive Director

 

Thursday
Oct092014

Mystic River Water Chestnut Update

What is that weed blanketing the Mystic River? What is that giant orange contraption sucking it up?

What you may have observed on the Mystic River this summer was removal of the invasive plant water chestnut. While water chestnut would literally take over the river from shore to shore, the Mystic River Watershed Association and many partners battled the invasive plant with the help of mechanical harvesters – those large orange contraptions – and by organizing volunteer hand-pulling events. 

Water chestnut (Trapa natans) is native to Asia, Europe and Africa. It was introduced in 1897 by a gardener as an ornamental plant in Fresh Pond in Cambridge. Since then, it has spread to rivers and lakes throughout the Commonwealth. Eradication efforts of water chestnuts in the Mystic River have been ongoing. Beginning in 2010 the Mystic River Watershed Association has aggressively combated water chestnuts by partnering with municipalities, local organizations, boat clubs, corporations and community members.

We are happy to report that in 2014 we had our most successful year yet! We hosted a record number of events this summer – 19 – by partnering with 34 corporations and community groups. All in all, we engaged more than 940 volunteers to hand-pull 6,603 baskets of water chestnuts from Whole Foods in Medford to Mystic Wellington Yacht Club across from Assembly Row. That is, of course, not to mention the 1,000 tons (2,000,000 lbs.) of water chestnuts removed by the mechanical harvester. By working together, we cleared 2.3 miles of the Mystic River of this invasive plant and filled fourteen 30-yard dumpsters with plant material!

As the fifth season of the Water Chestnut Removal Project comes to a close we have been reflecting on the amount of time and energy that goes into this project. Luckily we are not alone in what can seem like an uphill battle. We are fortunate to work with many partners in this effort, including the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, river boat and yacht clubs, Tufts University, Charles River Canoe and Kayak, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Cities of Medford and Somerville. We also enjoy strong support from our corporate partners including Wynn Resorts, Biogen Idec, AIR Worldwide and the many other local companies listed below. This invasive weed wreaks havoc on many rivers throughout New England. With continued efforts we can control water chestnuts in the Mystic…but we do need community support, and will be seeking volunteers at these fun on-the-water events again next summer!

 

For more information see http://mysticriver.org/water-chestnut-removal-project/.

Wednesday
Oct082014

MassBays Green Infrastructure Workshops Offered

MassBays Green Infrastructure Workshops - In October, MassBays will host four Green Infrastructure Workshops, Using Green Infrastructure to Treat and Control Stormwater in Coastal Communities. These workshops will be held across the MassBays planning region to present an upcoming handbook developed in partnership with EPA for MA departments of public works and planning, conservation commissions and agents, and nonprofits concerned about water quality in coastal ecosystems. Each workshop will include a case study and step-by-step process to install infrastructure that utilizes natural processes to treat and manage runoff. The workshops will be held on October 23 in Danvers (North Shore region), October 24 in Milton (MetroBoston region), October 28 in Barnstable (Cape Cod, and October 29 in Pembroke (South Shore).

For more information and to register, see the workshops web page.

 

Monday
Oct062014

Wynn Resorts development on the Mystic River

Please plan on attending a public presentation and discussion forum on environmental issues associated with the proposed Wynn Resort development project on the banks of the Mystic River in Everett.

This major development will prospectively bring many changes to the Mystic River watershed, including the clean-up of a waterfront Brownfield site that has been vacant for decades. Representatives from the Wynn Resorts development team will be available to answer your questions about plans for this project. Come learn more about ways this important proposal may affect the Mystic River watershed.

The event, sponsored by Mystic River Watershed Association and hosted by Tufts University will be held on Tuesday, October 28 at 7:00 p.m. at Tufts University, 51 Winthrop Street, Medford, MA.

Monday
Oct062014

Mystic River Celebration Oct. 11th!

Spend the afternoon at the Condon at Medford's biggest arts festival on Saturday, October 11 from 12-4 PM - and come stop by the MyRWA table! The event features musical performances by Black Sea Salsa, bluegrass band Chasing Blue, Medford’s own Susan Cattaneo, and Will Dailey, three-time winner of the Boston Music Award for Best Singer/Songwriter. Artisans, local food, dance performances, a public art installation, live art-making, and a variety of programs and activities will fill this beautiful afternoon along the banks of the Mystic River. The Condon Shell is located just off of Route 16. The Mystic River Celebration is produced by the Coalition for Arts, Culture, and a Healthy Economy (CACHE in Medford, Inc.) and is funded in part by Brookline Bank and the Medford Arts Council. www.medfordfestival.org

Mystic River Celebration
Saturday, October 11, 2014
12 – 4 PM
Condon Shell (2501 Mystic Valley Parkway), Medford, MA

www.medfordfestival.org

 

 

Tuesday
Sep302014

Climate Change impacts to the Alewife area

The Urban Land Institute is releasing a new report, The Urban Implications of Living with Water, exploring how to mitigate the risk of sea level rise and flooding for some of the most vulnerable areas of the Boston area: Alewife, Back Bay, Innovation District and Revere. Urban Land Institute Boston/New England members have spent the last 6 months developing solutions to the impacts of sea level rise on our community.  These ideas are presented in a report, by the industry and for the industry, that helps illuminate the opportunities that exist in this changing landscape.

“In the low-lying Alewife section, new residences might have to be concentrated into taller buildings with more space between them to make room for water infiltration. The report also suggested that retail shops be concentrated into a raised corridor to keep them above flood waters.”

View the Urban Land Institute website here; read the Boston Globe article here.

Friday
Sep262014

Vote Yes on 2: Updating the Bottle Bill

MyRWA, along with more than 100 other organizations and Governor Deval Patrick, has endorsed the Bottle Bill. A YES vote on Question 2 on November 4th will update the 1982 Bottle Bill to include five cent deposits on water bottles and sports drinks. This will increase recycling rates and help prevent plastic bottles from ending up in our parks and waterways. Plastic bottles are the most common item at Mystic River cleanups – please consider voting yes on question 2 to help cleanup the Mystic!

Read more here.

Thursday
Sep112014

Seeking Graphic Design Intern

The Mystic River Watershed Association seeks an experienced graphic designer to create beautiful and easy to understand educational handouts and displays. The work products will be both printed and electronic and may include some website design depending on the candidate. This is a great opportunity to grow your portfolio and help a small environmental nonprofit!

Qualifications

  • Experience working with and access to Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator & InDesign
  • Experience with HTML code or Square Space a plus
  • Strong typography and layout skills
  • Basic knowledge about marketing
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • An interest in data visualization, science and the environment is encouraged

This is a part-time position with a flexible schedule and the ability to work remotely. Exact dates can be flexible depending on the candidate. This is an unpaid position.

Since 1972, the Mystic River Watershed Association has played a unique role in the whole of the watershed by its science, advocacy, and outreach efforts. The Mystic River Watershed Association is based in Arlington, MA and is accessible via several bus routes. The Mystic River Watershed Association is an equal opportunity employer.

If interested, please send your resume, cover letter and three samples of your work to internopps@mysticriver.org. No phone calls please.  Position open until filled.

Wednesday
Sep102014

EK takes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

EK Khalsa, Executive Director of the Mystic River Watershed Association accepts the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on September 5, 2014 from Tim Purinton of the MA Division of Ecological Restoration. EK fills his bucket with water from the Lower Mystic Lake in Arlington.

Wednesday
Sep102014

Mystic Valley Development Commission Community Outreach Meeting

Please plan on attending a Community Outreach Meeting hosted by the Mystic Valley Development Commission on Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 6:00 P.M. at 200 River’s Edge Drive in the first floor conference room.  Mr. Lawrence Oliver from the Army Corps of Engineers will present the latest plan for the Malden River Ecosystem Restoration Project and Jeff Nangle of Nangle Consulting Associates, Inc. will provide an update on the work done with the MVDC’s EPA Brownfields Assessment Grant.

Tuesday
Sep092014

Seeking Members to the Board of Directors!

Are you interested in getting more involved in improving water quality in the Mystic River Watershed?

MyRWA’s Board of Directors is looking for dedicated and enthusiastic individuals to join them as members of the Board to steward this very energized voice for the Mystic River Watershed.  Ideally, Board candidates will have a background in non-profit management, finance, or policy and/or will have a strong background in environmental law, science or community service and advocacy.  What is essential is a desire to help protect and restore the Mystic River and to improve environmental conditions in the watershed as a whole.  Board Members represent the interests of all the residents of the watershed from the environmental justice communities of the lower Watershed to the flood-challenged upper watershed to all those affected by the stormwater issues pervading the entire watershed. 

Please contact John Reinhardt, President of the Board at RiverReinhardt@gmail.com for more information.

Thursday
Aug212014

Malden River Festival & Dragon Boat Regatta!

Please plan on attending the 2014 Malden River Festival!

The event includes an art show featuring local artists, live music and dance performances, community information tables, and - NEW THIS YEAR - a Dragon Boat Regatta on the Malden River! This event is fun for all ages. Free children's bicycle helmets give-away. Rain or shine.

FREE parking, admission and shuttle bus from Wellington Station.

Saturday, September 20, 2014
11:00AM - 3:00PM
Park at River's Edge, 200 River's Edge Drive, Medford, MA

https://www.facebook.com/MaldenRiverFestival

Tuesday
Aug192014

Sept. 2nd: Regional Stormwater Approach - Lessons learned

On Tuesday, Sept. 2nd please plan to attend the monthly Mystic River Watershed Association’s Committee Meeting to hear from Aubrey Strause, co-facilitator of the Central Massachusetts Regional Stormwater Coalition from 7:00PM to 8:00PM. The Coalition is a group of 30 Massachusetts communities implementing a regional approach to stormwater management. The group has developed a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan Template, training and outreach materials for town personnel and volunteers, a sump pump discharge policy, a stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) toolbox and much more. Aubrey’s presentation will be followed by the Policy and Clean Water Campaign meetings. This meeting is open to the public and we encourage all to attend.

Join us on September 2, 7-9PM, at Tufts University, Lincoln Filene Center, Rabb Room.

Monday
Aug182014

MyRWA RECEIVES URBAN WATERS GRANT 8/18/2014

Curt Spalding, Regional Administrator, EPA Region 1At a press event on August 18, 2014, staff from the Mystic River Watershed Association received a $60,000 check from Curt Spalding, Regional Administrator of EPA Region 1 as part of the EPA Urban Waters Small Grant Program. The Association was thrilled to be joined by Curt Spalding who shared his enthusiasm for cleaning up the Mystic River Watershed. The event was held at the Park at River's Edge along the Malden River in Medford. Also in attendance were Mayor Michael McGlynn of Medford; John Preotle of Preotle, Lane & Associates; Representative Paul Donato; Jay Ash, City Manager of the City of Chelsea; and representatives from Tri-City Community Action Program, Alternatives for Community & Environment, Inc. and Chelsea Creek Action Group. After the press event Curt Spalding and others enjoyed a boat tour of the Malden and Mystic Rivers.

Beth MacBlane (MyRWA), Patrick Herron (MyRWA), Medford Mayor Michael McGlynn, Curt Spalding, Regional Administrator, EPA Region 1, Philip Bronder-Giroux of Tri-City Community Action Program, Inc. (Tri-CAP) As part of this work, the Mystic River Watershed Association will promote green infrastructure in three environmental justice communities bordering the Malden River through education, outreach, planning charettes, GIS analysis, modeling of pollutant source and loads, development of a low impact development (LID) technical document, and analysis of zoning/ordinances. The program will work directly with municipal staff to train them on the principles of green infrastructure, provide a technical green infrastructure guidance document specific to the urban environment, and expose them to the variety of solutions available.

 

Chris Marchi of NOAH (Neighborhood of Affordable Housing), Jay Ash - City Manager of Chelsea, MA, John Walkey and Staci Rubin of Alternatives for Community and Environment, Curt Spalding, Regional Administrator, EPA Region 1, Roseann Bongiovanni and Maria Belen Power of Chelsea Creek Action Group.A second grant in the Mystic River Watershed was awarded to staff from Alternatives for Community & Environment, Inc., (ACE). ACE will partner with the Chelsea Creek Action Group (CCAG) to assist environmental justice communities in implementing their Chelsea Creek Community Improvement Plan. The project will engage residents in reviewing and updating the community vision for the Chelsea Creek; assist them in understanding existing regulatory mechanisms for protecting water quality; and facilitate them in taking a proactive role in the promotion of the Chelsea Creek as an environmental, recreational, economic, and educational resource.

Tuesday
Aug122014

Green Infrastructure in the Mystic River Watershed

The Mystic River Watershed Association’s (MyRWA’s) Deputy Director Patrick Herron, PhD, was the speaker at the August 5th monthly Committee Meeting. Patrick spoke about Green Infrastructure and the role it plays in the work being done by MyRWA. He began with a definition for this stormwater management approach, discussed the related concepts of Low Impact Development (LID) and Best Management Practices (BMPs), gave some practical examples, and addressed the question of “why focus on Green Infrastructure” for the Mystic River Watershed.

Common examples of Green Infrastructure include bio-swales, permeable pavement, green roofs, rainwater harvesting, rain gardens, and constructed wetlands. Patrick explained that a core guiding principle of these efforts is to achieve pre-development hydrology. In many cases, urbanized development of land increases the amount of impermeable surfaces, such as roads, roofs and parking lots. These types of surfaces block rain from infiltrating into the water table. When water can’t soak into the ground it leads to increased stormwater runoff which carries more pollutants, such as litter and nutrients into the water body. Increased runoff can also lead to flooding that damages wetland habitats, bridges, and roadways. Nutrients are not inherently dangerous, but high levels encourage excessive weed and algal growth that can lead to toxic conditions, as we have recently seen in Toledo, Ohio. Green Infrastructure can help to mitigate these issues by slowing down stormwater and allowing more water to be infiltrated into the ground, instead of flowing directly into water bodies. When water is absorbed by the ground, nutrients are captured by the soil and the water is released more slowly into rivers thereby reducing peak flows.

Patrick went on to explain how convincing all affected stakeholders to support Green Infrastructure comes with many challenges. Coordinating these newer strategies with traditional planning and design approaches can be met with resistance. Patrick highlighted the need to begin the Green Infrastructure projects as early as possible when included with larger projects. On the other hand, Green Infrastructures face the challenge of being seen as an added and unnecessary expenditure when considered alone. Patrick expressed optimism that new legislation currently being worked on may eventually provide an economic driver for this second issue. Until this becomes finalized, projects teams and supporters can look to “triple bottom line” (3BL) accounting, to identify the hidden value of Green Infrastructure. The 3BL approach realizes increased value by considering a wider set of parameters including people, and the planet, beyond traditional profits. A healthy and more attractive environment produces many of these values.    

MyRWA has had several grant-based projects to evaluate and prioritize potential locations for Green Infrastructure within the watershed. Patrick explained how this process has developed GIS maps that help municipalities and citizens select sites wisely, maximizing their return on investment. Some locations require major expensive construction works, and don’t have soil conditions that easily absorb stormwater. Meanwhile some sites don’t require as much investment in construction costs and provide better natural conditions. A potential site becomes very attractive when the second scenario is the case, and the public feels it is worthwhile to improve the aesthetics of a location. A significant takeaway has been the value of participatory stakeholder engagement. In some projects citizens became involved with the planning process through workshops. During these workshops, MyRWA and the rest of the project teams were able to identify more sites, and develop a better understanding of the total value for each location.

With each project MyRWA is learning more about the process of installing Green Infrastructure as well as educating both municipal staffers and the public about the importance of mitigating the effects of stormwater runoff.

More information about MyRWA’s Green Infrastructure projects, view the list of stormwater projects here.

The next Mystic River Watershed Association Joint Committee Meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 2, in the Rabb Room of the Lincoln Filene Center at Tufts University.  We will be joined by guest speaker Aubrey Strause, co-facilitator of the Central Massachusetts Regional Stormwater Coalition – a group of 30 Massachusetts communities implementing a regional approach stormwater management.

The public is welcome at all Mystic River Watershed Association Committee Meetings.

For more information on the Mystic River Watershed Association, visit www.mysticriver.org.

---------------------
Thank you Tommy Chase for submitting this article!

Monday
Aug112014

Call for Submissions: Volunteer of The Year

Each year the Mystic River Watershed Association has recognized the exceptional community service efforts of its members through the Mystic River Watershed Association Volunteer of the Year award. The Association relies upon the gracious efforts of our volunteers throughout the year and for a variety of projects. Each year, we select one volunteer to honor at our annual meeting, held in October.

Do you know a MyRWA volunteer who has gone above and beyond? Please submit your nomination of someone who has performed significant work towards protecting and restoring the Mystic River Watershed.

Submit your proposals to Beth@MysticRiver.org or by calling Beth at 781-316-3438.

Please include:

  • Your full name, email address and phone number.
  •  Full name, email address and phone number (if you have it) of your suggestion for Volunteer of the Year. Include a short explanation of this person’s contribution to a healthier Mystic River Watershed.
  • Volunteer of the Year nominations are due by Monday, Sept. 2, 2014.
Friday
Aug082014

Fighting Back Against the Water Chestnut Invasion

The Somerville Neighborhood News produced this film about water chestnuts in the Mystic River. This invasive plant is taking over the river and impacting water quality as well as recreation. For five years a group of partnering organizations, state agencies and cities and towns have banded together to fund the eradication efforts. Watch the film here and learn more about the Water Chestnut Removal Program here.

Tuesday
Jul292014

Two Promotions at the Mystic River Watershed Association

The Mystic River Watershed Association is pleased to announce two recent staff promotions.

Outreach Coordinator Beth MacBlane has been named Outreach and Communications Director. Beth’s work will continue to focus on community engagement and volunteer recruitment and management. In her new role Beth will also coordinate and implement strategic communications to raise the visibility and impact of the association and its mission. Beth, with the Mystic River Watershed Association since 2009, significantly expanded the Association’s presence on social media, added new outreach events and has grown the annual Herring Run and Paddle participation by more than 250%. As Outreach and Communications Director, Beth will work to further increase the Association’s online, media, and public presence, and will support the Executive Director and staff with advocacy, public policy, and research projects.  

Patrick Herron, PhD, previously Water Quality Monitoring Director, has been named Deputy Director for the Mystic River Watershed Association. Since 2009, Patrick has served as project manager and chief scientist for keystone water quality monitoring programs, the water chestnut removal project, and managed more than $1,047,000 in grant funding. Patrick serves as key liaison for the association with municipal officials and staff at 22 Mystic River communities and with state and federal agencies. As Deputy Director, Patrick will continue to supervise water quality monitoring and improvement initiatives. He will also work closely with the Executive Director to coordinate direction and management of all environmental restoration and advocacy programs and to chart the Association’s future growth and strategic response to increasing demand for its services.