The River Current || February 1, 2006 || Issue XXI ||
mostly monthly e-newsletter of the Charles River Watershed Association
...bringing our backyard river to your door...
In this issue:
First three decisions finally handed down in the Ipswich River appeals
Water Management Act permits due out soon - what to expect
7th Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup
24th Annual Run of the Charles Canoe & Kayak Race
CRWA is hiring! Seeking an
Office Manager/Publication Coordinator
From the Newton Tab: Throwing Water Away, by CRWA Exec. Dir. Bob Zimmerman
friends of the Charles River -
new year has opened with plenty of good news for CRWA.
The first three decisions were handed down involving water
withdrawals by towns in the Ipswich River watershed, a multi-year endeavor
by CRWA on behalf of Ipswich River Watershed Association (IRWA) and others
who intervened in the cases for the Ipswich River.
CRWA brought to the stand expert witnesses like IRWA's Executive
Director, Kerry Mackin, and CRWA's own Senior Environmental Engineer,
Nigel Pickering, to testify that the Ipswich River was being devastated by
unchecked water withdrawals. The
administrative magistrate upheld the conservation restrictions for which
we were fighting, and while we await decisions in other Ipswich cases,
this first round of decisions is a good sign.
decisions also cleared the way for revised water withdrawal permits to be
issued soon for the Charles, bringing our Blue Town Campaign to a head.
While we expect that the new permits will contain limits on outdoor
watering when streamflows are low and many of the conservation
restrictions we demanded, CRWA will be analyzing the conditions thoroughly
to ensure that the Charles is protected.
I invite you to read more about these exciting issues, as well as
encourage you to put the dates for CRWA's springtime events - the Earth
Day Cleanup and the Run of the Charles Canoe and Kayak Race - on your
a personal note, this will be my last River Current.
After three years at the helm of CRWA's e-newsletter, I'm leaving
the watershed business (for now) to join a human rights organization in
Cambridge, MA. I have so
enjoyed everyone's responses to the River Current over the last
three years, and I thank you all for being a part of a healthier Charles
First three decisions handed down in Ipswich River cases
General Counsel Margaret Van Deusen has been representing environmental
groups and citizens to strengthen the state's water permitting and protect
the highly impaired Ipswich River.
Massachusetts administrative magistrate has issued a long-awaited decision
on water withdrawal permits for the towns of Topsfield, Wenham and
Hamilton in the Ipswich River basin.
The magistrate, James Rooney, in a recommended final decision
upheld water conservation measures imposed by the Department of
Environmental Protection (DEP) that will help restore the river's
streamflow and ecological integrity.
Eleven towns appealed the new restrictions administratively and the
decision on these three towns is the first to be issued.
The cases will now go before DEP Commissioner Robert Golledge for
his final decision; they are expected to be affirmed since it is the DEP's
own conditions that were being challenged.
Van Deusen represented Ipswich River Watershed Association, Essex County
Greenbelt Association and twelve concerned citizens who intervened in the
towns' challenges to their modified permits, arguing that DEP's conditions
are not strict enough given the dire condition of the river.
In 2002, dirt bikes replaced canoes and kayaks on the river and
massive fish kills occurred when flows hit a record low.
does this mean for the Charles River?
studies have proven conclusively that Ipswich streamflows are reduced by
an order of magnitude by water withdrawals.
"The fate of the Charles is linked to the Ipswich.
If we can't get it right on the Ipswich, which is the poster child
for poor water management, and begin to protect fisheries and habitat, it
does not bode well the future of eastern Massachusetts rivers," said
Robert Zimmerman, CRWA Executive Director.
more on the Ipswich River decisions, click here:
Management Act (WMA) permits due out soon
the same time the Ipswich cases were winding their way through appeal
process, CRWA was pushing DEP to incorporate the same types of
conservation conditions in the Charles WMA permits.
DEP responded with a statewide WMA Policy basically mirroring the
Ipswich permits and requiring offsets for increased withdrawal volumes.
Once DEP began the five-year reviews of the Charles permits and the
water suppliers understood for the first time that summertime use would be
curtailed, there was a backlash by the suppliers.
They falsely labeled the science on withdrawal impacts "junk
science" and called DEP's actions "outrageous."
Suppliers went to their legislators attacking DEPs' Policy.
In response to heavy legislative pressure, DEP developed
"guidance" to the Policy, giving suppliers a longer time to
comply with the standards and enforcement forbearance.
In October, the Natural Resources Committee held a standing
room-only legislative oversight hearing on the Policy.
Guidance was finally issued last week and the Charles permits will be the
first issued under the Policy.
expect to see the following in the permits, with minor adjustments for
of 65 residential gallons per capita day use;
more than 10% unaccounted for water (meaning that towns will have to
make tighten up their water delivery systems);
on nonessential outdoor watering (primarily, lawn and landscape
of an offset feasibility study when a town's withdrawals exceed a
"baseline" with implementation thereafter.
DEP's final Water Management Act Policy and Guidance, issued January 16,
Join us for the Seventh Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup!
April 29, 2006 || 9am - 12pm
join us for our Annual Earth Day Cleanup when over 1,200 volunteers pick
up trash at different cleanup locations along the entire length of the
Charles River. To participate
or for more information, please contact Anna Eleria of CRWA at (781)
788-0007 x 225 or via email, or Marianna
Hagbloom at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-879-7735.
This event is sponsored by CRWA, MCWW, the Charles River Stream
Team, Senator Steven Tolman's Office, the Clean Charles Coalition, the
Charles River Conservancy, and the Esplanade Association.
The 24th Annual Run of the Charles Canoe & Kayak Race is
coming this spring!
April 24, 2005
miss CRWA's biggest event of the year!
There are many ways to be a part of the fun and excitement:
Organize a team (or a few teams) from your company or
neighborhood to be represented in the Canoe Relay Race - 24 miles are
divided up into 5 legs; the longest is 6.1 miles, the shortest is only 2.5
miles. With two paddlers in
the canoe, you'll have ten people working together for bragging rights.
Or use the Run of the Charles the way race sponsor NSTAR does -
they have eight teams, from their different offices competing against each
other, and all come together for a huge company picnic at the Finish Line
Compete in one of the non-relay races - distances for all
abilities including the 6-Mile, 9-Mile, and 19-Mile canoe and kayak races,
or 26-Mile Professional Flatwater Canoe Marathon ($5000 in prizes.
Volunteer - join the 100 volunteers who help racers
check-in, keep them going in the right direction while they carry their
boats on the 6 portages, and cheer the racers on.
If you're an experienced paddler, you can help "sweep"
the race from your boat on the river, following the racers to monitor
Exhibit your business's products or services at the Finish
Line Festival where you can market to the paddlers and their families. You
can also sponsor the Run of the Charles.
Run of the Charles benefits Charles River Watershed Association.
Entry fees are $40-$55 per person, spectators come for free!
Get involved! Contact:
(508) 698-6810 or email@example.com.
Look for on-line information and registration at http://www.charlesriver.org/rotc/rotc.html
Job opening at CRWA
Charles River Watershed Association, a busy environmental non-profit in
Weston seeks an office administrator/publications coordinator.
The individual will handle a myriad of responsibilities, including
office management, design and layout of newsletter and other publications,
and working with volunteers. Excellent
communication and computer skills with experience in Quark/Photoshop
required. Web site skills a
plus. Ability to work well
with others and a sense of humor required.
send resume and cover letter to: Rebecca Scibek, Charles River Watershed
Association, 190 Park Road, Weston, MA, or via email before
is an equal opportunity employer.
Recent articles about CRWA's work
River decisions - State ruling supports caps on water use
Jon Brodkin, MetroWest Daily News
Bob Zimmerman, Special to the Newton Tab