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upcoming events

March 1
Committee Meeting, 7-9PM
Tufts University, Tisch College of Citizenship & Public Service, Lincoln Filene Hall, Rabb Room, 10 Upper Campus Road, Medford

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

April 30
Earth Day events

May 15
Herring Run & Paddle
32 Shore Dr., Somerville, MA


Malden River as Top Priority for Everett Mayor

In the January 28th Everett Independent article, Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria names the Malden River as an area of focus for the next two years. Specifically, Mayor DeMaria mentions the creation of a public canoe and kayak launch near BNY Mellon Bank and pursuing a cleanup of the river’s sediments. Read the article here.


Mystic River Watershed Association's 2015 - 2020 Strategic Plan Now Available

Click to viewThe Mystic River Watershed Association’s Strategic Plan 2015-2020 builds upon our history of sound scientific practice and community engagement. The Plan places special emphasis on increasing our role in climate resilience and determining impacts and possible solutions to these new conditions. Since our founding in 1972 we have utilized volunteer efforts to achieve our goals. Grassroots community support and engagement is essential to our work and we look forward to expanding our community connections and partnerships to improve environmental conditions in the Mystic River Watershed.

Our vision is for a Mystic River Watershed where:

  • There are opportunities for safe boating and swimming
  • Rivers, lakes, and streams host abundant fish and wildlife habitat
  • Well-designed and accessible parks and open spaces along the Mystic River allow pedestrians and bicyclists to move easily and safely in connected spaces along the waterfront
  • All local, state, regional and national stakeholders – from local municipalities to federal regulators – take seriously and ambitiously their role as stewards of the watershed, and value and invest in its future.

While seeing water quality improvements takes time, we are confident in our approach outlined in the Plan. Together with our members, donors, partners, volunteers and state, federal and local policy-makers we will protect and restore the Mystic River for future generations.

Read the Strategic Plan.

Please note, if you would like a more detailed version of our 2015-2020 Strategic Plan please contact us.



Winter Bird Walk with Paul Roberts

Information courtesy of Friends of the Mystic River


with Paul M. Roberts

Saturday, February 6, 2016, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Take a two-hour birding walk along the Mystic Lakes and the upper Mystic River to discover what birds can be found in the middle of winter. Each year hundreds of birds winter on and around the Mystic River and Lakes as long as open water is available. We'll look for raptors, such as Bald Eagle, Merlin, Cooper’s Hawk and Red-tailed Hawk; waterfowl, including Common and Hooded Mergansers; Red-bellied Woodpeckers and more.

Dress appropriately for the weather. In very cold weather, this means in layers with hat or cap, gloves, and warm water resistant boots with good tread. Meet on Saturday, February 6 at 10 a.m. at the Mystic Lakes Dam. Park at the Medford Boat Club parking lot in Medford directly off the Mystic Valley Parkway. (The parking lot is your first left about a half mile north of the Rte 60 bridge crossing the Mystic.) Canceled in persistent rain, icy conditions, moderate+ snow falling, or if the parking lot is unplowed from previous substantial snowfall. Will go in light snow flurries as long as parking is open at the Mystic Lakes. Bring a birding field guide and binoculars if possible; there will be car pooling and walking short distances from the cars. Led by Paul M. Roberts. Co-sponsored by the Friends of the Mystic River and the Menotomy Bird Club.

For more info call Paul Roberts at 781-483-4263 or email or


Employment Opportunity: Director of Development


Director of Development (posted 1/15/2016)


The Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) has need of an energetic and dedicated development professional to build on our current success and to develop sustainable funding for our growing organization. To date, MyRWA has had success in securing broad, diversified support from members, corporate partners, private foundations and government grants.  Since 2008, revenues have increased five-fold and our programs continue to expand. The Director of Development will be called upon to create and execute an effective and systematic approach to fundraising while cultivating deeper relationships with existing and potential funders. This new position represents a unique opportunity for an experienced professional to leverage their skills in development, strategic planning and relationship-building to take our organization to the next level of impact and visibility.


  •  Work with the ED and Executive Committee to set and achieve annual funding goals
  • Develop and implement strategies to increase funding
  • Identify and develop corporate, community, foundation and individual prospects
  • Institute practices that monitor and make transparent the success of the fundraising plan
  • Lead the development of a “wealthy individuals” program – research and coordinate the “ask” both personally and by assigning various board or staff to each ask as appropriate
  • Develop and maintain relationships with major donors including acknowledgement letters and other correspondence, premiums, newsletters, special mailings, telephone and in-person contact
  • Coordinate the design, printing and distribution of marketing and communication materials for development efforts
  • Oversee organization of special fundraising events
  • Write grant proposals and budgets and reports for foundation and corporate fundraising
  • Assist in integrating the Board of Directors directly into fundraising efforts


  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • 3+ years experience in development (fundraising/donor relations), including highly developed fundraising research and messaging of fundraising requests.
  • Experience in grant writing and proposal development.
  • Proven track record with NGOs and demonstrated ability to raise funds, make presentations, organize direct mail activities, prepare foundations requests and coordinate an energetic professional staff.
  • Superior project management and organizational skills, interpersonal skills, flexibility, and the ability to prioritize and handle multiple tasks effectively and efficiently.
  • Energetic and self- directed work style.
  • Capacity to collaborate with others in a working team.
  • Strong commitment to protecting the environment and passion for the MyRWA’s objectives.
  • Experience with donor database and fundraising software.
  • A good sense of humor.


The Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) is a 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1972 that has worked for over forty years to protect and restore the Mystic River, its tributaries and watershed for the benefit of present and future generations. MyRWA is engaged in scientific research, water quality monitoring, habitat restoration, greenways and park rehabilitation and environmental advocacy. We accomplish our mission by forging links with citizens’ groups, universities, businesses, and government agencies. MyRWA employs five staff, has 500 members and engages 1,200 volunteers annually. The organization has an annual budget of approximately $700,000. MyRWA’s dedicated staff performs outstanding work that is widely respected in the environmental community. MyRWA’s current trajectory presents an extraordinary opportunity for the right development professional to make significant impact - on the natural environment and on the future of our organization. 


 - Opportunity for impact: MyRWA is the only environmental organization focused exclusively on transforming the urban 76 square mile Mystic River Watershed into a healthy, sustainable environment.

Entrepreneurial spirit: As a small organization, we welcome innovation and are continuously improving. We encourage constant learning, honest feedback and ideas that challenge.

Collaborative work environment: We work closely on a daily basis to realize the potential of the organization.

Healthy work/life balance: We support every staff member in maintaining a wise balance between meaningful work, professional growth and a healthy personal life.


Salary: Commensurate with experience. Health insurance, flextime and professional development opportunities also provided.
Start Date: April 2016 (negotiated).


Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and resume to Please indicate “Development” in the subject line.  Application deadline is February 22, 2016 or until a suitable candidate is found. No phone calls please.  Applications will be reviewed as received.



Spring & Summer Internships Available

Gain environmental science experience through a MyRWA internship! We are looking for a Herring Monitoring Program Coordinator to assist in a scientific study on river herring populations from March to July. We are also seeking several Invasive Species and Water Quality Interns - allowing the candidates to be a part of several programs MyRWA has underway this summer.

Read more.


Mystic Bird Report, 12/6/2015 - 1/6/2016

Mystic Birds Report

December 6, 2015 to January 6, 2015


Notable birds

Species Location Most recent Number of Checklists reporting
Northern Shoveler Horn Pond Recreation Area 2015-12-25 4
Redhead Amelia Earhart Dam 2016-01-03 9
Barrow’s Goldeneye Amelia Earhart Dam 2015-12-30 1
Double-crested Cormorant Mystic Lakes, Sandy Beach, Winchester 2016-01-02 2
Great Cormorant Mystic Lakes, €“Medford 2015-12-11 3
Lesser Black-backed Gull Amelia Earhart Dam 2016-01-03 1
White-crowned Sparrow Amelia Earhart Dam 2015-12-20 1

Complete sightings

Shown are most recent counts of each species at each site. The five sites are eBird “hotspot” shared locations.

Group Species Amelia Earhart Dam Horn Pond Recreation Area Mystic Lakes–Medford Mystic Lakes–Sandy Beach–Winchester Torbert McDonald Park
Ducks, Geese and Swans Canada Goose 33 150   7 12
  Mute Swan 22 2 4 2 15
  Wood Duck   1 1    
  Gadwall 1 2      
  American Black Duck 2 1     2
  Mallard 9 200 28 39 30
  Northern Shoveler   1      
  Green-winged Teal   1      
  Redhead 3        
  Bufflehead 18 1 1   7
  Common Goldeneye 8        
  Barrow’s Goldeneye 1        
  Hooded Merganser 9 1 5 5 3
  Common Merganser 1 2 8 9 5
  Red-breasted Merganser 4       2
  Ruddy Duck 1        
Grebes Pied-billed Grebe   1 1    
Cormorants Double-crested Cormorant 13   1 1  
  Great Cormorant 1   1    
Herons, Egrets and Bitterns Great Blue Heron   1 1 1  
Hawks and Eagles Sharp-shinned Hawk 1 1 1    
  Cooper’s Hawk 1 1 1   1
  Bald Eagle   1      
  Red-tailed Hawk 1 2 2   1
Rails, Gallinules and Coots American Coot 16 17     24
Gulls and Terns Ring-billed Gull 81 7 3 1 5
  Herring Gull 62 5 4 2 50
  Lesser Black-backed Gull 1        
  Great Black-backed Gull 4 1   1 3
  gull sp. 60 13 X 2  
Pigeons and Doves Rock Pigeon 28 X X   3
  Mourning Dove 2 3 6 2 4
Kingfishers Belted Kingfisher 1 2 1 1  
Woodpeckers Red-bellied Woodpecker   1 1 1 2
  Downy Woodpecker 1 4 1 3 8
  Hairy Woodpecker   1      
  Northern Flicker   1   1  
Falcons Merlin   1      
  Peregrine Falcon 1 1      
Crows and Jays Blue Jay 2 3 X 2 6
  American Crow 3 4 2 2 16
Chickadees and Titmice Black-capped Chickadee 3 10 X 3 6
  Tufted Titmouse   2 X 3 6
Nuthatches Red-breasted Nuthatch   1      
  White-breasted Nuthatch   2 5 2 5
Treecreepers Brown Creeper   1 1    
Wrens Carolina Wren   1 1    
Kinglets Golden-crowned Kinglet   2     2
Thrushes and Allies Hermit Thrush   1     1
  American Robin 3 3 X 6 1
Mockingbirds and Thrashers Northern Mockingbird 1 1 1 1 2
Starlings European Starling 160 15 150   80
Waxwings Cedar Waxwing   22      
Sparrows and Allies American Tree Sparrow 3 2      
  Song Sparrow 1 1 4 1 6
  White-throated Sparrow 8 3 2   2
  White-crowned Sparrow 1        
  Dark-eyed Junco   1 25 15  
  sparrow sp.   2      
Cardinals and Allies Northern Cardinal 3 1 2 1 4
Blackbirds and Allies Common Grackle 1        
  Brown-headed Cowbird   3      
Finches and Allies House Finch   2 1 3  
  American Goldfinch 3 2 8   2
Old World Sparrows House Sparrow 8 100 X   1
  passerine sp.   2      

X = reported, but no numerical count given

Credits and sources

Data source: eBird. 2012. eBird: An online database of bird distribution and abundance [web application]. eBird, Ithaca, New York. Available: Most recent counts by species and hotspot scraped from eBird API , This list edited weekly by Andrew Hrycyna.

The eBird project at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology collects bird observations from citizen science observers all over the world. For more on eBird and to explore data, visit eBird:


Alewife Sewer Project Complete!

The $100-million Alewife Sewer Separation Project is complete, marking a significant step forward in efforts to clean up local rivers.

Rainwater and sewage discharged into the Alewife Brook will now be reduced from 50 million to seven million gallons per year, according to Cambridge officials.

Congratulations to the City of Cambridge and MWRA for completing this project! 

Read more at the Cambridge Chronical & Tab.



Employment opportunity: Mystic Greenways Project Coordinator

MyRWA is hiring a Mystic Greenways Project Coordinator - this is a new full-time position. The coordinator will advance park and trail development in the Mystic River Watershed and will work on a regular collaborative basis with partner groups, MyRWA staff and volunteers. Read more.

We also have several internships available for spring and summer 2016.


Mystic Bird Report, 11/12/15 - 12/12/15

A new bird report is available! Explore what bird species were seen in the Mystic River area from November 12 to December 12, 2015. Data is compiled from eBird.


Mystic Bird Sightings

We set up a new web page that draws from the remarkable eBird project to show recent sightings of birds on and near the Mystic River. It will be updated every week or two. We hope it gives a glimpse of the diversity that surrounds us, even in the city. And it's powered by citizen science! 

Let us know what you think by sending comments to


Where do eels go to mate?

Where American eels mate has long been a mystery. For the first time, scientists have tracked American eels migrating to their legendary spawning grounds in the Atlantic Ocean. Read the NY Times article.

Did you know that MyRWA counts American eels at the DCR Upper Mystic Lake dam? In 2015 we counted 4,801 eels who migrate from the Atlantic Ocean to freshwater to mature - they are catadromous fish. Read more about MyRWA's Eel Monitoring Program.



MyRWA Gift Memberships Available!

MyRWA is happy to offer gift memberships as a meaningful, year long gift for your friends and family. The recipient will receive a customized membership certificate and the bi-annual Mystic Messenger newsletter. Membership begins at $35. Email for more information today!


MyRWA to work with Medford on Coastal Zone Management grant

On December 3, 2015 the Baker-Polito Administration announced $400,000 in grants to support local efforts to assess and treat nonpoint source pollution from roadway runoff and boat waste. The grants, provided by the Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM), were awarded to Fairhaven, Fall River, Kingston, Medford, Milton and Salem. 

“Pollution in Massachusetts waters affects not only the natural resources, but the economy and quality-of-life in our coastal communities,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “These grants will help local officials assess nonpoint source pollution issues and fund on-the-ground projects to improve coastal water quality.”

The City of Medford will partner with MyRWA to perform an assessment of opportunities for placement of stormwater best management practices (BMPs) in a single catchment area (429-acre drainage) to the Mystic River to address roadway-related pollution. This subwatershed area was identified in a prior Urban Waters project as having an overlap of high phosphorus loads and high feasibility for installation of BMPs. The proposed work will include desktop GIS analysis, field assessment, identification of best opportunities for BMP’s and development of ten conceptual designs. 

The Mystic River is a critical passage and spawning area for migrating Alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) and Blueback (Alosa aestivalis) river herring.  And yet this important diadromous fish habitat is significantly impaired by stormwater pollution, leading to eutrophication and reduced-quality spawning and juvenile habitat. This project aims to address stormwater pollution in order to improve herring habitat conditions.

Read the full press release.




3rd annual Mystic River Champions Breakfast Held

MyRWA Executive Director EK Khalsa provides a presentation about 2015 accomplishments.On December 1st representatives from more than 25 local corporations joined Mystic River Watershed Association staff and Board of Directors for the 3rd annual Mystic River Champions Breakfast. The event celebrated the generous corporate support received to date and provided an opportunity to share work underway to protect the Mystic River Watershed. We were joined by Heather McMann, Executive Director at Groundwork Lawrence, to hear about the successful urban river restoration of the Spicket River. Heather shared lessons learned that can be applied here in the Mystic.

The event was hosted by John Preotle at the River’s Edge development along the Malden River in Medford.

Thanks for all who attended!


Giving Thanks to YOU!

Thanks to everyone who participated in a day of giving back - #GivingTuesday! We are happy to report that we achieved our $4,000 challenge match from the MyRWA Board of Directors and raised a total of $10,965 on #GivingTuesday!


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!