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upcoming events

Aug 5
Committee Meeting, 7-9PM
Tufts University, Lincoln Filene Center, Rabb Room
Guest speaker: MyRWA's Patrick Herron on green infrastructure in the Mystic River Watershed, 7-8pm

Aug 9
Water Chestnut Removal Event, 9AM-1PM
Auburn St., Medford - across from Whole Foods Market Medford
*Registration required

Sept 6
Citizen Scientist Training Workshop, 9-11AM
Registration required!

Sept 9
Friends of the Malden River meeting, 6:30-8PM
location to be deteremined


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.



MyRWA is happy to announce that we are the recipient of a $60,000 grant through the US EPA Urban Waters Small Grants program. The goal of the Urban Waters Small Grants program is to fund research, investigations, experiments, training, surveys, studies, and demonstrations that will advance the restoration of urban waters by improving water quality through activities that also support community revitalization and other local priorities.

Through this grant, 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 from Malden, Medford and Everett 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.

Read the official announcement here.


Learn about Green Infrastructure in the Mystic River Watershed August 5th

MyRWA's rain garden at Hurd Field in Arlington, MA.On Tuesday, August 5 join the Mystic River Watershed Association to learn more about Green Infrastructure. Green Infrastructure or Green Best Management Practices (BMPs) represent an approach to wet-weather management that utilizes small-scale facilities to slow down, cleanse, infiltrate, and reuse rainwater where it falls.  Green Infrastructure includes vegetated swales, bio-retention structures, permeable pavement, and street trees. MyRWA’s Patrick Herron will discuss current MyRWA projects that promote Green Infrastructure from 7-8pm as part of MyRWA's monthly Committee Meeting. This meeting is open to the public and we encourage all to attend.

Join us on August 5th, 7-9PM, at Tufts University, Lincoln Filene Center, Rabb Room.


UPDATE: Invasive Species Control in the Mystic River

A small crowd gathered on a dock overlooking the Mystic River at the Blessing of the Bay Boathouse in Somerville, MA for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) press conference on July 15, 2014. The DCR announced their dedication to invasive species control in the Mystic River, noting that 850 tons of water chestnut has been removed thus far in 2014. An expected 85% of the invasive water chestnut will be removed this year, primarily via mechanical harvesting. The DCR thanked their partners in this effort – the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, the Cities of Medford and Somerville, Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA), Friends of the Mystic River, Groundwork Somerville, Gentle Giant Rowing Club and area boat and yacht clubs. The DCR will invest $125,000 in invasive species removal in the Mystic River Watershed in FY2014 and project partners have dedicated an additional $25,000 to the cause.

Secretary of Environmental Affairs Maeve Vallely Bartlett stated that we are gathered “to celebrate the over-arching goal of restoring the use of the lower Mystic River as a viable habitat for fisheries and wildlife through a program to remove the water chestnuts. With the investment in an annual program we can knock back the spread of water chestnut each year with the mechanical harvesting until it can in fact be managed with volunteer hand-pulling alone.”

“The Mystic River Watershed is an urban gem,” stated EkOngKar Singh Khalsa, Executive Director of the Mystic River Watershed Association. “The invasive species program helps to preserve the value of this beautiful living system."


MyRWA’s EkOngKar Singh Khalsa, Medford Mayor Michael McGlynn, State Representative Denise Provost, Secretary of Environmental Affairs Maeve Vallely Bartlett, Department of Conservation and Recreation Deputy Commissioner Jack Murray, Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, Dan Hurley from State Representative Donato’s Office and Chief of Staff for State Senator Jehlen, Tim Snyder are pictured above.


Metro North Land Use Priority Plan Meeting July 31

Join the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, MassDOT, and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council for a presentation and discussion about:

  • Local, Regional and State Priority Preservation Areas and Development Areas
  • Regionally Significant Infrastructure Improvements
  • Innovative ways to preserve/create open space and recreation
  • Challenges to Growth in these Communities

Date:         Thursday, July 31, 2014

Time:        Open House begins at 5:00PM to view maps and talk to project staff

                 Meeting begins at 5:45 PM

Location:  Malden Government Center, 200 Pleasant Street, 3rd Floor Council Chambers, Malden, MA


Citizen Scientist Training Workshop Announced

Attendees at a Citizen Scientist Training Workshop.Please join MyRWA on Saturday, September 6 for a Citizen Scientist Training Workshop. This Workshop allows interested volunteers to learn about water quality monitoring methods and concepts. By completing this workshop, you’ll be prepared to join MyRWA’s Baseline Monitoring Program. The Baseline Monitoring Program requires a monthly commitment between 6am and 8am. No experience is necessary - all are welcome!

When: Saturday, September 6, 2014, 9:00am-11:00am
Where: MyRWA office building - 20 Academy Street, Arlington, MA

Space is limited! Please register today by emailing

Learn more about MyRWA's water quality monitoring programs here.



Action Alert: Mystic River Water Quality Commission

As a supporter of the Mystic River Watershed Association, I am writing to ask you once again to reach out to the House Ways and Means Chairman to urge him to release H785 Establishing a Mystic River Water Quality Commission for a vote by the full House. There are only three weeks remaining in this legislative session and an outpouring of support is essential to move this important legislation forward!

Below I have included contact information and sample text for your correspondence with Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Thank you in advance for your prompt action!


Representative Brian S. Dempsey
House Ways and Means Chair
State House, Room 243
Boston, MA 02133

Dear Honorable Brian Dempsey,

I am writing to urge you to release H785 Establishing a Mystic River Water Quality Commission for a vote of the full House. This important commission, proposed by Representative Denise Provost and supported by many members of the House, will investigate and study the Mystic River ecosystem. The Mystic River Water Quality Commission will make recommendations to improve water quality conditions to a level that supports fishing, boating, swimming and wildlife. As a resident of the Mystic River Watershed, I feel I deserve clean water!

For too long, impaired water quality and environmental conditions have been overlooked in the Mystic River and its tributaries. This commission will provide critically important support to efforts to restore environmental conditions in the Mystic River in three important ways:
  1. The Commission will elevate the issue of impaired water quality in the Mystic River and will make clear the impact of poor water quality on local ecology and recreational use
  2. The Commission's report will provide a clear understanding of the best and most effective ways to deploy limited local and regional resources and funding
  3. Environmental activists, advocates and concerned State legislators will use the commission's report and findings to strengthen their environmental advocacy.

Much work is already underway and the story of the Mystic River as an important living system and recreational destination has been gaining much momentum. The Mystic River Water Quality Commission will bring important and appropriate attention to this work from the State Legislature and will amplify the efforts of local advocates and State and Federal partners. It will generate further political momentum for legislative action and additional Federal funding that is very much needed to ensure that the Mystic River is included in the successful water quality improvements experienced in Boston Harbor and the Charles River.

Thank you in advance for releasing H785 Establishing a Mystic River Water Quality Commission for a vote of the full House.

Sincerely yours,

(your name)

(your address)



Thank you for taking this important action and for supporting the Mystic River Watershed Association.


Special Opportunity: Marine Invader Monitoring and Information Collaborative

The Marine Invader Monitoring and Information Collaborative (MIMIC) is a network of trained volunteers, scientists, and state and federal workers who monitor marine invasive species along the Gulf of Maine. The collaborative provides an opportunity for the general public to actively participate in an invasive species early detection network, identify new invaders before they spread out of control, and help improve our understanding of the behavior of established invaders. More than 100 volunteers are monitoring 38 sites in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine.

The four primary components of the MIMIC program are:

  1. Coordination
  2. Training
  3. Monitoring
  4. Information Transfer

The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management coordinates the program and data are housed at MIT Sea Grant.

The Invasive Species monitoring in the Mystic River Watershed is scheduled for:

  1. Monday July 14, 7:00pm
  2. Tuesday Aug 12, 6:00pm
  3. Wednesday Sept 10, 6:30pm

The site is at the Boston Harbor Shipyard & Marina, 256 Marginal St, East Boston

If you would like to participate in this program please call Beth at 781-316-3438.

This is a collaboration of the Mystic River Watershed Association and The Surfrider Foundation.


2014 Herring Run Estimated at 239,059

The 2014 herring migration was tracked by nearly 100 trained volunteer herring monitors at the DCR Upper Mystic Lake dam in Medford, MA. Their efforts resulted in 31,296 herring counted. With this data the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries estimates the run size at 239,059 +/- 37,288 herring. These results suggest the number of river herring entering into Upper Mystic Lake increased in 2014.

Read more about the Herring Monitoring Program here.


Budget Includes DCR Funding for Mystic Master Plan

On June 30th the State House and Senate Conference Committee released a consensus budget that includes funding for the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) not less than $250,000 to be expended to finalize the designs and to obtain the permits necessary for implementation of the Mystic River Master plan, including aquatic invasive species control on the Mystic River. Senator Pat Jehlen worked tirelessly on this issue and provided important leadership in the Senate as did Representatives Denise Provost and Paul Donato in the House. MyRWA very much appreciates the dedication of local residents and the hard work of members of House and Senate who fought to see this important funding was included in FY2015 budget!

Read more here.


Medford's First Environmental Art & Film Festival was a Huge Hit!

More than a hundred people saw the premiere of "The Mystic Herring Run: The Return of 2012 and Beyond" the weekend of June 21. What an amazing film it was: incredible underwater photography of schooling alewives and blueback herrings making their way to the Upper Mystic Lake to spawn, great command of science, and real passion. Congratulations to filmmaker Shervin Ayra, who discussed the long path to this premiere and answered questions from the rapt audience.

And many more people came to the opening reception. Artists Jane Estella, Keith Maddy, Doc Madison, Peg Drummey, Chris Naitza, George McLean, Darlene Stout, Sydney Smith, Bernadette Murah, Susan Altman, Katie Cornog, Henry Olds, Sherry Leffert, and David Mussina won awards for their artwork. Three excellent short films on rivers were screened, and the Hyatt provided a lovely spread.

Enjoy all the photos from the festival on the Mystic Art Gallery's Facebook page


Reprinted courtesy of the Medford Arts Center.


A fish ladder in Winchester?

Come hear about the prospect of installing a fish ladder to the Center Falls Dam in Winchester center. We’ll also share preliminary 2014 herring run data and present the results of the 2013 herring habitat assessment. Join us at the next Committee Meeting on Tuesday July 1st, 7-8PM, Tufts University, Lincoln Filene Center, Rabb Room, Medford.


MyRWA Receives "Education and Public Service Award"

MyRWA was awarded the 2014 Education and Public Service Award by the Board of Directors of the Universities Council on Water Resources on June 19. The award “acknowledges with sincere appreciation the vision and leadership in the advancement of water resources education and public service.” MyRWA’s Patrick Herron, Water Quality Monitoring Director, received the award on behalf of the Association. Thank you for your recognition UCOWR!


Asphalt spilled into the Mystic River (updated 6/20/14)

An estimated 2,100 to 10,794 gallons of asphalt were spilled into the Mystic River on June 19, 2014 – this estimate has been revised from 11,000 gallons. The spill occurred from a Sprague Energy vessel at the ExxonMobil facility in Everett, MA. Mystic River Watershed Association staff met with officials from ExxonMobil and Sprague Energy to discuss the incident and learn more about cleanup plans on June 20.

Officials stated the asphalt product solidified upon contact with the water, allowing for efficient removal within a contained area. No one was hurt during the incident and Sprague Energy is reporting that the clean-up is almost complete within 24 hours of the event. MassDEP, NOAA, US Coast Guard as well as Clean Harbors and TMC Environmental were reported to be on site to assess conditions and aid in the cleanup. It was reported that no sheen was observed in the vicinity of the spill or the congealed asphalt mat that covered the river as a result of the spill. A diver investigated the area to determine whether any of the product was present in the water column, on the river bottom or in the sediment.


Paddling Tour July 21

Rick Beinecke leading a paddling tour on the Mystic River.Join the Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) on Monday, July 21st as we explore the Mystic River and hear from author Rick Beinecke about the rich history and natural life of the river. Rick recently published “The Mystic River: A Natural and Human History and Recreation Guide” - for more information about his book click here. The paddling tour will start/end at the Upper Mystic Lake Dam, Mystic Valley Pkwy, Medford. 6:00PM – 8:00PM. Limited to 15 people. Bring your own boat and PFD. Heavy rain cancels the event.

RSVP (required) to or call 781-316-3438.


Mystic River Presentation with Rick Beinecke

You are invited to a presentation by Professor Richard Beinecke of Suffolk University on the history and development of the Mystic River and its environs at the Tufts University Crew Boathouse on the Malden River on June 27 at 5:00pm; 300 Rivers Edge Drive, Medford, MA.

Abundant free parking. Easy access via Route 16 at the Wellington orange line MBTA station.  Modern building in a riverside park.

Event co-sponsored by the Mystic River Watershed Association and the Massachusetts Association of Consulting Planners.

Proessor Beinecke recently published a book titled “The Mystic River: A Natural and Human History and Recreation Guide” which will be the basis of his talk.  A discussion period will follow the presentation.


Malden River Walking Tour - Industrial Eden Program

Come learn more about the history of Spot Pond Brook and the Malden River! As part of the Industrial Eden Program, Ryan Hayward and MyRWA are leading a walking tour of the Park at River’s Edge.

When: Saturday, June 21, 10am - noon

Where: meet at 200 Rivers Edge Drive, Medford, MA

Free and open to the public!

Learn more by visiting

The Industrial Eden Program is funded in part by a grant from the Medford, Malden, Melrose and Stoneham Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency; in partnership with: The Preservation Collaborative Inc., The Historic Connection, and the Mystic River Watershed Association.


It's a bird, it's a's a drone!

Above Summit provided aerial drone videography and photography at the 18th annual Mystic River Herring Run and Paddle. Their work covered the 3, 9 and 12 mile paddling races as part of this event on Sunday, May 18th in Somerville, MA.


Mystic River Herring Run & Paddle from Above Summit on Vimeo.


Additional video coverage of the paddling races was captured by Trevor O'Brien.



MyRWA is THRILLED to have both videos to document the day and promote the races in the future. Thank you Emilie, Jovan and Trevor!


Mass Oyster Project Presentation 6/3

On Tuesday, June 3rd we'll hear from Andrew Jay or the Mass Oyster Project from 7-8pm as part of MyRWA's monthly Committee Meeting. Mr. Jay will discuss the Project goals and history as well as the prospect of a project in the Mystic River Watershed. This meeting is open to the public and we encourage all to attend.

Join us on June 3rd, 7-9PM, at Tufts University, Lincoln Filene Center, Rabb Room.


Art and Film Festival to Celebrate Mystic River June 19-22

The Mystic River will be celebrated in multiple forms during the “Into the Mystic” Environmental Art and Film Festival in Medford Square on June 19-22.

Four film showings, a juried art exhibit, and a river park cleanup will be among the activities during the first-year event, being organized by Medford Arts Center Inc. (MACI) and four environmental groups.

Festivities will begin on Thursday, June 19, with a “sneak preview” at Circle the Square from 4 to 8 p.m. The Into the Mystic booth will be near the Salem Street Burying Ground entrance on Riverside Avenue, where samplings of the winning art entries will be on view, along with an informational display on the headstone artwork at the historic cemetery. The trio of Arlington singer-songwriter Chris Nauman, Kenny Selcer and Steve Gilligan will provide musical entertainment from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

The festival officially gets underway Friday evening with an Opening Night Reception and three short films at the Hyatt Place hotel, 116 Riverside Ave., from 6 to 9 p.m. The films to be shown are:

  • “The Mystic Unseen,” produced by Emerson College students, about sanitary sewer overflows in the Mystic River
  • “Re-Storying the Anacostia River,” produced by the American University Community Voice Project, about engaging a community in river stewardship
  • “Hidden Rivers of Southern Appalachia,” produced by Freshwaters Illustrated, on celebrating the precious creatures who make their homes in our rivers

On Saturday afternoon, Grace Church of Medford’s GreenUp CleanUp will bring its volunteers to Clippership Park along the Mystic for a cleanup from 1 to 3 p.m. Participants should meet at the Mystic Art Gallery at 14 Main Street (behind Citizens Bank facing Clippership Drive).

Saturday evening, the festival’s feature film, “The Mystic Herring Run: The Return of 2012 and Beyond,” will be given its premiere at 7 p.m. at the Hyatt. The documentary, by independent filmmaker Shervin A. Arya, explores the past, present, and future of the Mystic River through the story of the blueback herring. Each spring, tens of thousands of the small fish journey from the inner Boston Harbor to the Upper Mystic Lake to spawn before swimming back out to sea. Arya, founder of Illuminating Minds Media, a cloud-based media production company focused on quality science-based films, will be on hand to discuss his film and take questions.

Meanwhile, the top 20 entries in the Into the Mystic art competition will be displayed festival weekend at the Hyatt all day Friday and Saturday and until 5 p.m. Sunday. The pieces include found art sculpture, photography, mosaic, painting, drawing and mixed media creations.

Admission to all of the festival events is free. Due to limited seating for the film screenings, RSVPs are requested for the Saturday night feature film at this web page.

In addition to MACI, co-sponsors are the Mystic River Watershed Association, Green Medford, the Friends of the Mystic River, and the City of Medford’s Office of Energy and Environment. The festival is also supported in part by a grant from the Medford Arts Council, which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.