2016 proved to be an exciting year for the Mystic River Watershed Association as we continued to work to improve environmental conditions across the 22 community watershed and connect people to the river. Below are select highlights from the year.
DATA MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Deployed our robust water-quality monitoring programs to generate data that makes a difference. Specifically, in 2016 our data was:
- utilized by the US Environmental Protection Agency to issue its annual Water Quality Report Card highlighting problem tributaries;
- publicized by The Boston Globe in a series of articles that convinced the Town of Belmont to invest more in clean water;
- referenced by multiple mayors in the watershed to help determine what their communities needed to do to improve water quality; and,
- applied to change management practices that led to reduced bacteria levels at the Blessing of the Bay in Somerville.
Data is the first step to making these water quality improvements–and ours is top notch–thanks to our professional staff, dozens of volunteers, and committed partners such as the US Environmental Protection Agency, Mass. Department of Environmental Protection, Mass. Water Resources Authority and the United States Geological Survey.
REALIZING WORLD-CLASS PARKS ON THE MYSTIC
Secured more than $500,000 to begin improving our riverfront parks and paths, and to install additional pollution-reducing green infrastructure. Look for park improvements like newly paved paths and invasive species removal at Medford’s Torbert Macdonald Park, the largest riverine park in the Boston area. Further downstream we, along with GreenRoots are building a playground and creating improved access to Mill Creek.
PUSHING FOR PROTECTON & ACCESS
Successfully advocated for strong stormwater testing requirements in the new stormwater (MS4) permit and for a public boat launch at the Medford Mews development along the Malden River. Policy committee members and staff monitor permits and policies that could positively or negatively impact our shoreline and water quality. We commented on 13 such projects last year and rallied dozens of supporters to public meetings.
RESTORING HABITAT FOR HERRING
Documented the second largest river herring run in the state bringing much-needed attention to this important anadromous fish. This program, in turn, spurred the building of a second fish ladder in Winchester Center, opening up additional spawning grounds. Volunteers tirelessly documented an estimated 448,060 herring passing through the Mystic Lakes Dam fish ladder. Through a new program coming this spring the migration will even be broadcast to classrooms and private homes through the use of underwater cameras.