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upcoming events

April 25
MyRWA Earth Day Cleanup, 9AM-Noon
MacDonald Park, Medford

April 25, May 2, May 9
Mystic Community Earth Day
Various locations

May 12 *Note date change
Committee Meeting, 7-9PM
Tufts University, Lincoln Filene Center, Rabb Room

 May 17
Mystic River Herring Run & Paddle, 9AM
Blessing of the Bay Boathouse, 32 Shore Dr., Somerville



Stormwater Awareness Series: "After the Snow"

Stormwater Awareness Series: Session #16
The Town of Arlington Engineering Division is hosting a Stormwater Awareness Series open to residents of the Town of Arlington and the general public.
The series is designed to educate residents on Stormwater and the impacts on runoff, water quality, flood control and prevention, erosion and other stormwater related impacts within the Town of Arlington.  Information will be provided by stormwater professionals for the purpose of increasing awareness of these issues within the Town and to provide information for residents to help understand how the surrounding environment affects, and impacts, the local water resources and what can be done to reduce these impacts.
The next presentation is scheduled to be held on April 14th 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. in the Selectmen’s Hearing Room, Arlington Town Hall, 2nd floor.  The session will include a presentation “After the Snow” and will provide information for businesses and residents on how to clean up the affects of winter and address stormwater issues and the related impacts. The session will be followed by a question and answer session related to the presentation session topics.

Wayne A. Chouinard, Town of Arlington;  Engineering Division

This presentation will provide an overview of stormwater runoff and information for springtime maintenance tasks to counter the side effects of winter.   Sand & salt, freeze & thaw, ice and snow present negative impacts on stormwater runoff and water quality.  This presentation will review areas for businesses and residents to consider as the cleanup from the winter begins. 
After the Snow
The following is an outline of scheduled presentation:
  1. Overview of Stormwater Runoff
  2. Winter Impact
  3. Performing Inspections
  4. Springtime Cleanup
  5. Maintenance & Repairs
    • Gutters & Downspouts
    • Parking Lots & Driveways
    • Catchbasin, manholes and drywells
    • Grading & Landscaping

Malden River Use Survey

The Mystic River Watershed Association and Friends of the Malden River are conducting a survey on recreational use and property values along the Malden River and would like for you to participate!

Depending on how much you use the Malden River, the survey should take between 10 and15 minutes to complete. Your responses will help us better understand how people are using the Malden River and how they might like to use it in the future. We sincerely appreciate your input and thank you in advance for your participation.

Please take the survey here and share with your friends and colleagues!


"Trashed - No Place For Waste"

"Trashed - No Place for Waste" looks at the risks to the food chain and the environment through 
pollution of our air, land and sea by waste. The film reveals surprising truths about very immediate and 
potent dangers to our health, a global conversation from Iceland to Indonesia between the film star 
Jeremy Irons and scientists, politicians and ordinary individuals whose health and livelihoods have been 
fundamentally affected by waste pollution. Visually and emotionally the film is both horrific and 
beautiful: an interplay of human interest and political wake-up call. But it ends on a message of hope: 
showing how the risks to our survival can easily be averted through sustainable approaches that provide 
far more employment than the current 'waste industry'.
There will also be a presentation by a local community group about recycling and waste in our own 
This free screening is sponsored by the Medford Film Collaborative, Grace Episcopal Church and the City 
of Medford Office of Energy and the Environment. The program is funded in part by the Medford Arts 
Council and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. For more information, go to
“Trashed” will be screened at the Grace Episcopal Church, 160 High Street
Medford, on April 29, 2015 at 6:45PM

"Trashed - No Place for Waste" looks at the risks to the food chain and the environment through 
pollution of our air, land and sea by waste. The film reveals surprising truths about very immediate and 
potent dangers to our health, a global conversation from Iceland to Indonesia between the film star 
Jeremy Irons and scientists, politicians and ordinary individuals whose health and livelihoods have been 
fundamentally affected by waste pollution. Visually and emotionally the film is both horrific and 
beautiful: an interplay of human interest and political wake-up call. But it ends on a message of hope: 
showing how the risks to our survival can easily be averted through sustainable approaches that provide 
far more employment than the current 'waste industry'.
There will also be a presentation by a local community group about recycling and waste in our own 
This free screening is sponsored by the Medford Film Collaborative, Grace Episcopal Church and the City 
of Medford Office of Energy and the Environment. The program is funded in part by the Medford Arts 
Council and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. For more information, go to
“Trashed” will be screened at the Grace Episcopal Church, 160 High Street
Medford, on April 29, 2015 at 6:45PM


"NO" vote to store contaminated dredge in Chelsea Creek

The Chelsea Conservation Commission (ConCom) last week voted down Massport’s plans to store contaminated dredge from the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal dredging project in the Chelsea Creek.

Read the article here.


April 7th Committee Meeting with presentation by Tufts Univ. WSSS group

From 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on April 7th, MyRWA will be joined by a group of Tufts University graduate students as part of the Water: Systems, Science and Society program. The students will present on their project surrounding the Malden River. Below is a synopsis:

"The Malden River is heavily polluted due to past industrial activities and current stormwater runoff and outflow from surrounding communities. This pollution has been preventing citizens from fully utilizing the river. In order to understand the complexity of this urban river system and to foster increased public utilization of this resource, this project pursues two different but complementary goals. The first goal is to assist the Mystic River Watershed Association with a public health assessment and risk characterization by collecting data on visitor uses, exposure pathways, potential future uses and perceptions of the Malden River. The second goal is to determine the potential impact of river restoration on property values along the Malden River and to identify the possible economic benefits to the surrounding cities. The project will primarily use interviews to identify current user groups, potential future uses and perceptions of the Malden River, as well as a comprehensive literature review on river restoration of urban waterways and the economic impacts of river restoration."

This special presentation is part of the monthly Mystic River Watershed Association Committee Meeting. After the Tufts 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, April 7th, 7-9:00 p.m.
Tufts University, Lincoln Filene Center, Rabb Room


Special event: Let Justice Roll on Like a River

As part of Earth Month at Grace Church in Medford:

Wednesday, April 15th, 6:45 p.m. (community meal at 6:00 p.m.)
Grace Episcopal Church, 160 High Street | Medford, Massachusetts 02155


“Let Justice Roll on Like a River” A Presentation about River Stewardship and Access

Russell Cohen, Rivers Advocate at Division of Ecological Restoration/ Riverways Program, Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game

Russ Cohen will address the adverse impact of urbanization – particularly impervious surfaces on water quality and quantity – and provide examples of Best Management Practices being used to mitigate this impact.

Russ Cohen currently serves as the Rivers Advocate for the Massachusetts Department of Fish & Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration.  One of his areas of expertise is in riparian vegetation. He has compiled a list of native plant species suitable for planting in riparian areas; written numerous fact sheets on the ecological and other beneficial functions of naturally vegetated buffers along rivers and streams intended to aid the effective implementation of the Mass. Rivers Protection Act; and (with the Appalachian Mountain Club) prepared Trees, Paddlers and Wildlife, a set of outreach materials intended to raise the awareness of paddlers, riparian land-owners and managers, and others about the ecological benefits of retaining trees and other woody vegetation in and along rivers and streams. 

Cohen has won numerous awards for his rivers work, including: the 2013 Education Award from the New England Wild Flower Society in recognition of both his rivers work and foraging programs; the River Steward Lifetime Achievement Award from the League of Women Voters and Sudbury-Assabet-Concord River Stewardship Council in 2012; a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Massachusetts Wetland Scientists in 2011; an Environmental Merit Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2003; and the Public Servant of the Year Award from the Environmental League of Massachusetts in 1997.


Richard Beinecke, Professor in the Suffolk University Institute for Public Service

Dr. Beinecke will discuss opportunities for public access to the Mystic River, addressing issues many citizens are unaware of – which could use advocacy with “the powers that be” to effect lasting change – including full pedestrian access to/along the river near I-93, part of the Mystic River Master Plan.

Richard Beinecke is a professor in the Suffolk University Institute for Public Service, where he teaches courses on leadership, and U.S. and global health policy and conducts research on management of mental health programs (most recently on the mental health response to the bombings) and leadership (three books on Change Leadership due out May 2015). The author of The Mystic River A Natural and Human History and Recreation Guide, he made over twenty-five presentations on the Mystic during the past two years. He led historic/birding canoe and kayak trips for over thirty years on area rivers (currently on the Mystic River with the Mystic River Watershed Association).  He was a Board member of the Massachusetts Audubon Society for over ten years, and was the “Green Man” leading Concord’s Earth Day festivities for many years. He is an active birder, fisherman, and cyclist.


Mystic River Earth Day Cleanup Scheduled for Saturday, April 25th

Calling all volunteers!

Celebrate Earth Day (April 22) with MyRWA on Saturday, April 25th! Volunteers are needed to help with a park and river cleanup at DCR Torbert MacDonald Park in Medford from 9:00 a.m. to noon. All supplies are provided at this family friendly event. This cleanup is one of many events scheduled as part of Mystic Community Earth Day - for event details and to find an event near you click here.



Community groups from across the watershed have joined together for the sixth consecutive year to coordinate Mystic Community Earth Day. The official Earth Day is April 22nd, but we’ve scheduled events to be family and work friendly on Saturday, April 25th in Cambridge, Medford, Somerville, and Revere. Groups are welcome at these family-friendly events! For event details click here.


Corporate Volunteer Opportunity

The Mystic River Watershed Association has a unique opportunity for your business, church or community group. We are seeking groups of up to 100 people to help remove water chestnut, an invasive plant, from the Mystic River while offering a fun team-building day!

The Need

Water chestnut is an invasive plant that has recently exploded in the Mystic River. It forms huge stands that impede boats and have negative effects on fish, native plants, and water quality. Managing water chestnut is a major goal of river front towns and cities, boat clubs, river advocates, and citizen groups.

The Opportunity

One of the most effective ways to remove water chestnut is also fun! A four-hour event with 10 to 100 people in canoes can have a tremendous effect, clearing acres of this invasive plant. By sponsoring a corporate event, your company can participate in a major green initiative while providing a great team-building opportunity and rewarding day on the river for your employees. We have worked with many organizations and companies over the past five years, including IBM, FedEx and Citizens Bank, and supply all the materials and expertise necessary.

The Impact

In five years, thousands of volunteers have removed tens of thousands of baskets of water chestnut, clearing many acres of the river. We are aiming to expand our efforts every year. Studies have shown that the key to ultimate success in management is sustained effort at the same site over several years. Join us this year to help us meet our goals!

For More Information

Chris Brown, Water Chestnut Project Coordinator,, 781-316-3438.


Job Opportunity at Spy Pond Condominium

The Shoreline Manager will care for shoreline plants at the Spy Pond Condominium in Arlington, Massachusetts. Schedule is flexible and depending upon seasonal growth will require five to fifteen hours per week beginning March or April through November.  Responsibilities involve attending an orientation to the shoreline, developing working knowledge of the plants, tending to them, and controlling and eradicating invasive species.  The successful candidate must be self motivated and have the ability to prioritize independently.  Candidates with working knowledge of invasive species are preferred.  The hourly rate is $15.00. Tools, gloves, and gardening supplies will be provided.  The Shoreline Manger will report to the Co-chairs of the Landscape Committee at the Spy Pond Condominium.  Interested candidates should contact Adrienne Landry at


MyRWA Comments on EPA Small MS4 Permit for Massachusetts

MyRWA staff and the Policy Committee submitted extensive comments on the 2014 Draft Massachusetts Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) General Permit issued by the US EPA. When approved, the permit will provide guidance to municipalities that will result in improved management of stormwater infrastructure and eventually cleaner water. The content of the permit is important to our members as the rivers, lakes, streams and ponds of this watershed are a long way from being the resource that the Clean Water Act promises. MyRWA commends the strong efforts of Rusty Russell, Nathan Sanders, Tracy Olson and Veronique Vicard, among others, in helping to write this comment letter.



Press Release provided by Robert Barossi



By Robert Barossi

ARLINGTON, MA - Their efforts often overlooked, volunteers play a vital role in the environmental solutions of our time. Freely giving of their time and devotion, environmental volunteers are ordinary citizens who consistently give back to their local communities, both man-made and natural. These are the stories of those volunteers and their extraordinary work.

Being Where You Are: How Environmental Volunteers Impact Their Community and the Planet Every Day features the stories of an eclectic group of environmentally involved citizens. They include a frog song monitor who used to be terrified of frogs, a man whose personal mission and life’s work is to clean his town’s beaches, and a mother-daughter team of suburban beetle ranchers, among others. Their efforts run the gamut from monitoring osprey nests and banding songbirds to pulling trash out of rivers and educating children at nature centers. While the locales range from small coastal towns and mountain villages to major cities, all of the volunteers have a deep connection to the special places where they live. They also have a lot to say and teach about the environmental problems we all face and how every person, regardless of location or stage of life, can get involved and do their part.

Told by the volunteers, in their own words, these are stories of giving back to the community and the planet. Stories of finding special connections to special places. Stories of the many ways that anyone who is willing and able can have a powerful and lasting impact on those places. This includes stories from Michael Ripple and Karen Buck, both active volunteers for the Mystic River Watershed Association who give of themselves, their time and effort, in many ways. These dedicated and passionate citizens demonstrate how volunteers can and do get involved in important environmental work along the Mystic River and in similar watersheds everywhere.

Being Where You Are is currently available as an eBook, with a print version planned for the near future. It can be downloaded for $1.99 at,, the Apple iTunes store, and other online eBook retailers.

About the Author: For more than three years, Robert Barossi has been immersed in the world and work of environmental volunteers. In April of 2011, he began working with the Trustees of Reservations, the largest land conservation organization in Massachusetts, on a public relations project aimed at the group’s volunteers. Robert spent that spring and summer attending volunteer events, meeting with volunteers, speaking with them and interviewing them, at Trustees properties across the state. Over the summer and fall of 2011, he worked with the Trustees’ Public Relations Manager, writing press releases detailing the stories of the interviewed volunteers. The following spring and summer, Robert began the process of contacting and interviewing volunteers for the work that culminated in Being Where You Are. Over the course of the project, approximately eighty environmental organizations were contacted. Many volunteer program directors and managers responded, enthusiastically interested in taking part and willing to facilitate contact with the organization’s volunteers. He then contacted volunteers at all of the responding organizations, eventually interviewing roughly sixty of them, from Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, varying in age from twenty-three to eighty years old. Those interviews now make up the chapters of Being Where You Are. Robert is a recent graduate of Green Mountain College, where he received his Masters of Science in Environmental Studies, with a concentration in writing and communications.  Recently, his environmental writing has appeared on the blog for The Trustees of Reservations, as well as a new environmental blog which he helped to launch, The Ecotone Exchange ( He has continued to tell the stories of environmental volunteers at his own blog, Being Where You Are ( and can be followed on Twitter @RobBarossi.


volunteer to count fish!

The Mystic River Watershed Association will launch the fourth year of the Herring Monitoring Program on April 1st. Volunteer herring monitors are needed to count fish for a ten minute slot at the DCR Upper Mystic Lake Dam in Medford. Training will be held on Saturday, March 21st from 10am until noon at the Medford Boat Club. All herring monitors MUST REGISTER for this training (if you can’t make it on March 21st we’ll find another date to train you. If you have participated as a herring monitor in the past and would like to participate again in 2015 please register as well.)



Mystic River Watershed Initiative Science Forum - April 9th

The Mystic River Watershed Initiative Science Forum will be held on Thursday, April 9th in Court Room 6, on the 15th floor at EPA New England: 5 Post Office Square, Boston. We recommend arriving early to leave time for EPA's airport style security. Coffee and snacks are available for sale on the 3rd floor. If you plan to attend, please RSVP by emailing


Thursday, April 9, 2015
8:30 am to 1:00 pm
EPA Region 1
5 Post Office Square, Boston
Court Room 6

8:30      Sign-in

8:45      Welcome and Introduction, The EPA and the Consensus Building Institute

9:15      Conditions in Alewife Brook, Mystic River mouth and update on basin overenrichment, Kelly Coughlin and David Taylor, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA)

10:00    Modeling storm event phosphorus in Alewife Brook with respect to climate change, Kate Munson, Tufts University

10:30    State of the Mystic in 2014: Current conditions, trends, and new insights, Andy Hrycyna and Patrick Herron, Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA)

11:00    Break 

11:15    The Mystic River Watershed: CEHS and MIT Engineering field lab experiences for students past and present, Harry Hemond, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

11:45    Alewife Constructed Wetland: stormwater attenuation, water quality improvements, ecological enhancements and recreational opportunities, Catherine Woodbury, City of Cambridge

12:15    Opportunities for Coordination and Collaboration in 2015

 Consensus Building Institute

  • Briefly share planned activities in 2015 - EPA, MyWRA, and Forum Participants
  • Discuss opportunities to collaborate or coordinate efforts to better understand the conditions of the Mystic Watershed - All
  • Feedback on Forum/Input for next year

12:55    Closing Comments, Patrick Herron, MyRWA

1:00      Adjourn


Summer 2015: Water Quality Monitoring Internship

Summer Internship with the Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA)

The Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) seeks two Water Quality Monitoring Interns to assist in a water quality monitoring program from late May through August.  Since 1972, MyRWA has played a unique role in the whole of the watershed by its science, advocacy, and outreach efforts. Among these efforts MyRWA characterizes water quality problems in the Mystic River Watershed, informing stakeholder efforts to reduce pollutant inputs and thereby improve water quality.

Water Quality Interns will conduct water quality monitoring at several sites across the watershed, collecting data on a variety of parameters, including bacteria. Interns will also collect data on cyanobacteria populations from several recreational sites to safeguard the public health of residents who live in the watershed. Data is shared with stakeholders including the public, municipalities, Department of Public Health and the US Environmental Protection Agency.  (Learn more about MyRWA’s Cyanobacteria Monitoring Program here.)

Interns will work both in and out of the office, and must be able to work independently and as a team. This is a part-time position that requires a commitment of two days a week during the Monday through Friday work week that are agreed upon between the interns (14-16 hours/week).  Start times of 7AM will be necessary, because of sampling protocols. Primary duties include monitoring local water bodies, collecting water samples (training provided), analysis of samples, and data entry.  Additional duties may include assisting with database and data reporting.  Interns will learn about the scientific tools applied to monitor water quality and the efforts that a watershed association undertakes to advocate for water quality improvements based on this information. 


  • An interest in science, the environment and advocacy is encouraged.

  • Experience with Microsoft Excel preferred, Microsoft Access considered an asset.

  • Having reliable transportation is strongly preferred, and mileage will be reimbursed.

Exact dates can be flexible depending on the candidate. These are unpaid positions.

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.

Deadline to apply is March 15 but applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis starting February 15, 2015.  To apply send your cover letter and resume to  No phone calls please.


2014 Year In Review Now Available

The Mystic River Watershed Association maintained its core water quality monitoring programs, water chestnut removal efforts, and outreach and education programs in 2014, while adding new and exciting projects and initiatives. We hope you'll enjoy reading about some of the highlights of the year in our Annual Report. Thanks to the many supporters that make this work possible!


RETURNING LIFE TO THE ABERJONA - special event 3/5/15

Please join MyRWA and Sustainable Winchester for an evening about blueback and alewife herring! We'll provide an update on the possibility of installing a fish ladder at the Center Falls dam and the results of a two-year herring habitat study of the Aberjona River conducted by the Mystic River Watershed Association and funded by En Ka. Also of discussion will be the possibility of day-lighting the Aberjona River. We'll conclude the evening by screening a short film, "The Mystic Herring Run: The Return of 2012 and Beyond" by Shervin A. Arya.

Find out more and register for this (free) event here - space is limited!


Registration open for “The Future of Water in Southeastern Massachusetts”

Press Release provided by the Watershed Action Alliance of Southeastern Massachusetts.


Registration is now open for The Future of Water in Southeastern Massachusetts, a one-day conference organized by Watershed Action Alliance in partnership with Plimoth Plantation.  It will be held on Friday, April 24 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, MA. To register, click here. For more information, click here.

The conference will provide information and networking opportunities relevant to professionals and volunteers working or interested in water conservation, sustainable water management and river restoration.  Sessions include the four big areas in water conservation: stormwater, drinking water, recreational water and wastewater, as well as three crucial topics in nonprofit endeavors: fundraising, outreach, and science and data collection. For session descriptions and panelist biographies, click here.

The plenary speaker, Eric Walberg, is the Senior Program Leader in Climate Services at Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences. He will discuss past trends and future projections in temperature, precipitation and sea level rise for New England and the ramifications for watershed management.

An exhibit hall will feature displays and posters from nonprofit organizations, government agencies, businesses and students illustrating successes and some of the latest work in research, conservation, river restoration projects and techniques, and more. To register your display or poster, click here.

Water, critical to all of us, requires prudent management, realistic planning and effective regulation for protection of waterways, recreational areas, aquatic wildlife and drinking water. Our water resources are threatened by Increasing population and development pressures in southeastern Massachusetts. It is imperative that we work now to plan for a future with clean and plentiful water, restored rivers with abundant wildlife, and safe and efficient ways to treat wastewater and stormwater. Join Watershed Action Alliance and others at “The Future of Water in Southeastern Massachusetts” in striving toward this end.

Conference sponsors: Island Foundation, Sheehan Family Foundation, MA Division of Ecological Restoration, Mass Audubon: Shaping the Future of Your Community, Duxbury Cultural Council, Herring Ponds Watershed Association, Horsley Witten Group, Plymouth Area League of Women Voters, Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, Massachusetts Bays Program, Massachusetts Cultural Council, Neponset River Watershed Association, North and South Rivers Watershed Association, Plymouth Cultural Council, Save the Bay, Six Ponds Improvement Association, Weir River Watershed Association, Wildlands Trust, and Halifax Cultural Council. To become a conference sponsor, click here.

For questions and comments, please email the conference coordinator:


Mystic River Science Forum Feb. 23

Head to EPA Region 1 offices on Monday, February 23rd for the Mystic River Watershed Initiative Science Forum. The forum will include presentations and discussions  on local water quality and related topics. The meeting will be held at 5 Post Office Square, Boston and begins at 8:30 a.m. More details forthcoming.


2015 Water Chestnut Strategy

Join MyRWA’s Patrick Herron for a presentation on the Association’s popular Water Chestnut Removal Program. Patrick will provide an overview of the program which began in 2010 and detail MyRWA’s approach to tackling this invasive plant for 2015.

Patrick’s presentation will be followed by the Policy and Clean Water Campaign meetings at 8:00 p.m. The meeting is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend.

Join us on Tuesday, February 17th, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m., at Tufts University, Lincoln Filene Center, Rabb Room. (The Lincoln Filene Center is within the Tisch College building) (Note: Date rescheduled to 2/17!)