Credit: Paul Marotta

Credit: Paul Marotta

Herring run and paddle

Join us at the 23rd Annual Mystic Herring Run and Paddle on Saturday, May 18th—a 5k and paddle race to celebrate the Mystic and the annual river herring migration! Compete in both the running and paddling race to be eligible for the Iron Herring Award.


There are many places in the Mystic River Watershed for canoeing, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding including both official and unofficial places to put-in. Seasonal boat rentals are available at DCR's Blessing of the Bay Boathouse in Somerville and at Spy Pond in Arlington. Use our paddle map to locate boat launches and swimming locations, and to find paddle routes starting from Blessing of the Bay Boathouse.

Safety first. MyRWA advises you to AVOID swimming and boating for 48 hours following a heavy rain storm as pollution levels can spike due to stormwater runoff and sewer overflows


Swimming locations include Shannon Beach in Winchester, Wedge Pond in Medford, and the Arlington Reservoir in Arlington.


There are many great fishing opportunities both on the saltwater Lower Mystic, as well as the freshwater river and the many lakes and ponds.  For the Upper Mystic (upstream of the Amelia Earhart Dam) it is catch and release--see more information here. For the Lower Mystic River (Boston, Chelsea, Everett, Revere, and Somerville), the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) has just issued a fish advisory to provide guidance on fish consumption. More information can be found here. The advisory says:

  • Children under 12, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and women that may become pregnant should not consume any fish in the area

  • Everyone else can eat bluefish and striped bass

  • Nobody should eat any other fish caught in this area


Opportunities abound for exploration in the 22 community watershed! See the map for park locations and links to some of the community groups advocating for these parks and special places in the Mystic River Watershed. You can also check out the great routes in our Wegmans Hit the Trails guide. Hard-copies available at our office and at the Medford Wegmans.


There are many great locations for birding within the watershed- check out these bird lists from the Friends of the Fells/Menotomy Bird Club, the MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, and the eBird observation list from local birders. You can also find information about Massachusetts birds at MassBird.Org and on the Mass. Avian Records Committee List.

iNaturalist ID example.

iNaturalist ID example.


Explore and celebrate nature in an urban setting using an amazingly fun and powerful app called iNaturalist.  It's as easy as downloading an app to your phone, and then going outside to a naturalized space and photographing some living thing! You upload the picture attach an ID (if you know it) and add your observation to a huge, growing library of observations.  Other observers will look at what you've uploaded and attach their own identifications.  If three observers agree on a species, it gets raised to to a "research level" observation. 

We would especially love to document what's in the biggest green space on the Mystic River, namely Macdonald Park in Medford. But you can document biodiversity anywhere in the watershed!