The Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) has been monitoring water quality at ten sites in the Mystic River Watershed on a monthly basis since the summer of 2000. With the help of a dedicated group of nearly 30 volunteers, the Mystic River and several tributaries are tested for bacteria levels (E. coli), nutrients (total phosphorus and nitrate-nitrite), total suspended solids, dissolved oxygen, and water temperature. The 2007 Baseline Index Report provides a qualitative summary of these water quality parameters over a seven-year period. The report includes color-coded Baseline Index tables for each year, and provides a general assessment of water quality trends.
The 2007 Baseline Index Report indicates that none of the 10 monthly monitoring sites is pollutionfree in the Mystic Watershed. Each site has received a poor score for nutrient pollution in each year of monitoring. Bacteria contamination is also highly concerning, particularly during wet weather. Upper Mystic Lake often receives an excellent score for swimming and boating in dry weather, but some
tributaries regularly receive a poor score for both swimming and boating in dry weather.
Although there has been no overall improvement in water quality over the past seven years, this Baseline Index report marks an important contribution to our understanding of where problems in nutrient pollution, bacteria contamination, and low dissolved oxygen levels are the most pressing in the Mystic River Watershed. This information has enabled us to design increasingly rigorous sampling programs to precisely target pollution ‘hot spots’ and report our findings to municipalities and other stakeholders.
The information in this report also signals a call to action on the part of municipalities, state and federal agencies, citizens, and concerned community groups. The data we have collected since 2000 speak to the need for dedicated support from all stakeholders to clean up the Mystic Watershed. We encourage all stakeholders to contact us to learn more about opportunities to help reach MyRWA’s goal of a fishable and swimmable Mystic River.