On September 21, 2011 MyRWA's EkOngKar Singh Khalsa and Patrick Herron, along with other members of the Mystic River Collaborative delivered a legislative briefing at the Massachusetts State House. Sponsored by Representative Denise Provost and Senator Pat Jehlen, this presentation engaged legislators in the specific challenges and opportunities in the Mystic. Attendance at the event was standing room only with legislators, legislative assistants, environmentalists, community organizers and the public at large.
Patrick Herron presented on four aspects of the Mystic River: The Urban Watershed, Natural Resources, Source of Pollution and Resiliency. The presentation drew attention to the considerable beauty and resources of the Mystic River Watershed and highlighted the challenges that face densely urbanized watersheds. Kim Foltz of the Neighborhood of Affordable Housing (NOAH) in East Boston followed with a presentation on what the conditions of the Mystic means for the residents of the watershed and the role that these residents play in bringing improvements.
To conclude the briefing, EkOngKar Singh Khalsa urged members of the audience to keep Shannon Beach (need for new bathhouse) and the Mystic Lakes Dam (herring ladder) in mind as well as consider legislation on phosphorus. He further asked for collective support of the strong work that the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) is performing and green infrastructure projects that improve water quality and the quality of life of residents. The excitement of the event spilled over as participants stayed in the room for an extended period of time to further discuss the issues. MyRWA is happy to have had the opportunity to be part of the legislative briefing and is eager to see further attention brought to the Mystic as we continue our efforts of protecting and restoring this valuable natural resource.