The Mystic River Watershed Association continues to protect and restore our watershed – for the benefit of both the people and wildlife that call the Mystic their home. See the highlights from 2017.
IMPROVING WATER QUALITY
It was a win for citizen science and for water quality when the Town of Belmont and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) entered into a consent agreement to improve the town’s aging infrastructure. With these improvements, the town will no longer discharge pollutants, including raw sewage, into the Mystic River watershed. Through our baseline water quality program, we documented and published water-quality problems in three tributaries of the Mystic that helped bring about this improvement.
Imagine a seamless waterfront park system along both sides of the Malden River, connecting neighborhoods in Medford, Malden and Everett to this important resource. During 2017, the Mystic River Watershed Association led a collaborative visioning process to do just this. The response was overwhelming: 380 community members, municipal leadership and local businesses were all actively involved in reimagining the banks of the Malden to include parks, paths and even a boat launch. Thanks to broad public support, municipal leadership and active projects, we’re well on our way to seeing the vision realized. Already four projects are underway in an effort to open up 3.5 miles of shoreline. Learn more about our Greenways progress at MysticRiver. org/greenways-progress.
ADVISING ON SAFE BOATING
Real-time data about when it is safe to recreate is now available on the Mystic, thanks to our Mystic Daily Boating Advisory program. Using data collected by our water-quality volunteers and staff, the Mystic River Watershed Association has created a model that can predict when bacteria levels will be at safe levels to support recreation. This information is then continually updated and made available on our website and the twitter feed @safemystic. Check out this new tool when spring arrives and get out on the water! (Funded by the Massachusetts Environmental Trust)
Volunteers in our invasive management program have made this the most successful program in New England. Thousands of volunteers, including you, helped us reduce water chestnut populations in the Mystic River from more than 50-plus acres in 2013 to just a few acres in 2017. On land, we are also reducing the impact of oriental bittersweet and improving tree survival at Torbert Macdonald Park by managing 18 acres with volunteer help.
INSPIRING CITIZEN SCIENTISTS
An underwater camera opened a whole new window onto a major urban fish migration in 2017. This herring migration starts in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and runs through Boston Harbor to the Mystic River, where it travels another seven miles up to the Mystic Lakes, largely out of sight and unknown to local residents—until now. In all, over 3,500 citizen scientists from 49 states and 16 countries watched more than 14,000 videos of the herring run in 2017, many of them helping count the number of herring as part of a multi-year study we are conducting. At the same time, we worked with six schools to train 20 teachers, visit classrooms and host trips to the fish ladder, thereby reaching 300 students with hands-on STEM education. Will the Mystic 2018 herring migration be the largest in the state again? Time will tell. Meanwhile, help us document this migration—at your home, business or school!