Mystic River Watershed Association Launches 'Clean Water Campaign'

The Mystic River received a D grade for water quality, which is "unacceptable," says the Mystic River Watershed Association.

The Mystic River Watershed Association recently launched its Clean Water Campaign, calling for a greater effort in cleaning up the waterway.

Below is the announcement from the conservation group:

[Monday,] as part of its Clean Water Campaign for the Mystic, the Mystic River Watershed Association unveiled its new Water Quality Policy Statement. This policy statement outlines clear objectives that will, when implemented, move the Mystic River Watershed toward much improved water quality. The new Policy states, for example, that all storm water discharges to the river shall meet established State and Federal water quality standards and that human sewage will no longer be discharged to the Mystic Rivers, or its lakes, streams or tributaries. In recent years, there have been improvements made in the Mystic River Watershed and there is a growing consensus that the Mystic River is a treasure worth preserving. There have been remarkable improvements in water quality achieved nearby the Mystic - the Charles River now earns a “B” water quality rating and the Boston Harbor Clean-up has brought new life to harbor front neighborhoods in Boston and to the harbor islands and there have been many improvements completed in the Mystic River Watershed as well. 

The Mystic River Watershed needs similar attention, funding, financial resources and citizen involvement to move above its “D” grade status.

Forty-two years ago the US Environmental Protection Agency was created to protect America’s environment, including the restoration of its rivers. Shortly thereafter, in 1972, the Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) came into existence to engage the residents of the watershed’s twenty-two cities and towns to support efforts to maintain a healthy Mystic River. Since that time, the watershed and its 500,000 residents have benefited from the efforts of the association’s work to protect and restore the local environment. 

EkOngKar Singh Khalsa, Executive Director of the Mystic River Watershed Association states, “The Mystic has a spectacular history and has been integral to the economic growth and prosperity of the Boston region. This extensive river system has suffered, however, as water quality and the natural environment subsidized much of this development. While the Mystic River’s role as a support to local industry will continue, the Mystic River Watershed Association and its partners are determined to have the Mystic and all its tributaries, lakes and streams become an uncompromised destination to those who come to enjoy its terrific recreational potential and its natural beauty.” 

For 40 years, the Mystic River Watershed Association has monitored water quality and advocated for pollution control, ecological restoration, and recreational opportunities within the watershed’s 22 communities. The water chemistry within the Mystic, and the sources of pollution are now well understood. To attain the high goals set out in MyRWA’s Water Quality Policy, the Mystic needs concerted action from residents, municipalities, regulators and legislators. To this end, MyRWA will engage with all stakeholders to help develop appropriate clean-up plans and to secure funding to implement those plans. MyRWA will also enhance its communication programs to increase awareness of water quality challenges and opportunities in the Mystic. 

“This new resolution,” stated Khalsa, “underscores our commitment to working closely with cities and towns and with regional authorities and to step up our outreach to watershed residents – 8% of the state’s population – to achieve the goal of a healthy Mystic. The river now holds a “D” water quality rating. This grade is unacceptable and we are working to resolve this to bring environmental conditions in line with the cleanest urban rivers in Massachusetts and the world. This is entirely possible and will bring a huge benefit to public health and help preserve a popular recreational resource. At the end of the day, we want to restore people’s confidence in a vital natural resource that we share and have in common.” 

More information is available at www.MysticRiver.org. Volunteers are sought to participate in this endeavor; please contact the MyRWA office at 781-316-3438 to get involved. 


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