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CHARLES RIVER WATERSHED ASSOCIATION

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Science and Technical Analysis - Blue Cities Initiative

As part of the Blue Cities Initiative, CRWA utilizes our expertise in watershed science and extensive knowledge of stormwater management systems to conduct technical analyses at a subwatershed level. These kinds of analyses explore both opportunities and challenges of working at a subwatershed scale, and are useful as CRWA assists municipalities in conceptualizing strategies for stormwater management beyond site-specific levels.

Learn more about CRWA's Blue Cities Science and Technical Analysis by visiting the links below:

City of Cambridge Green Street Guidance
North Allston Sub-watershed Restoration Plan

Franklin Stormwater Management Plan
Bellingham Subwatershed Management Plan
Boston Complete Streets
Blue Cities National

City of Cambridge Green Street Guidance
Existing conditions at Chestnut St
Existing conditions of Chestnut St

CRWA worked with the City of Cambridge to incorporate green infrastructure into dense urban streets. In the first phase of this project, CRWA developed conceptual Green Street designs for three Cambridge streets: Webster Avenue, Park Avenue, and Chestnut Street. By incorporating street trees, plant based treatment systems, and alternative roadway designs, Green Streets slow car traffic, enhance the neighborhood aesthetic, and improve local rivers and streams.

In the second phase, CRWA made recommendations for designing Green Streets city-wide. The Cambridge Green Streets project demonstrates how cities and towns across the region can include green infrastructure techniques as a routine component of roadway improvement projects, and as a way to improve the quality of life in our urban communities.

READ: 2018 Report

North Allston Sub-watershed Restoration Plan

Western Ave
Western Ave Visualization

Beginning in 2015, CRWA partnered with the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) to develop a  restoration plan for a sub-watershed in the North Allston neighborhood in an effort to integrate this  plan with ongoing public realm improvement efforts and development projects in the area.   

The project team evaluated Green Infrastructure design options for feasibility and benefits in order to develop a sub-watershed scale restoration plan that will enable the City of Boston to meet regulatory requirements at the least cost and with maximum environmental benefit. CRWA and Nitsch Engineering, Inc. studied the existing conditions of the area and developed retrofit strategies for specific sites. View the Concept Plan & Design Strategies presentation

READ: North Allston GI Concept Plan and Strategies
DOWNLOAD: The Fact Sheet

Franklin Stormwater Management Plan

Parmenter School - Blue Cities Initiative
Parmenter School - Blue Cities Initiative

In 2009, CRWA and the Town of Franklin partnered to create a stormwater management plan for the Spruce Pond Brook Subwatershed. The goal of the plan is to enable the municipality to meet the requirements of the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for Nutrients in the Upper/Middle Charles River, with minimum cost and maximum environmental benefit.

CRWA developed design options which incorporated stormwater treatment practices in a way that enhanced public areas and improved access to open space. These design options were evaluated based on stormwater treatment efficacy, costs, and overall impacts and benefits.

READ: Franklin Stormwater Management Plan

Bellingham Subwatershed Management Plan

Bellingham - Blue Cities Initiative
Bellingham - Blue Cities Initiative

Given the success of the Franklin project, the Town of Bellingham received a grant by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to partner with CRWA on a similar planning and assessment project. Like the Franklin project, the goal of this project was to help Bellingham identify opportunities for both on-site and regional stormwater management approaches, particular techniques that use green infrastructure to comply with the TMDL at a subwatershed scale.

Through the Bellingham Subwatershed Management Plan, CRWA provided recommendations for Low Impact Development (LID) stormwater management techniques and practices throughout the subwatershed, on both public and private properties. Additionally, CRWA used a stormwater model to estimate effects of various designs and their relative costs.

READ: Bellingham Subwatershed Management Plan

Boston Complete Streets Guidelines

Boston Complete Streets - Blue Cities Initiative
Boston Complete Streets - Blue Cities Initiative

In 2009, the Boston Transportation Department (BTD) began an internal planning effort to reexamine and update roadway standards for all streets in Boston. Their goal was to build on existing guidelines and projects and introduce new dimensions for building streets such as sustainability principles, appropriate storm water drainage, a more proactive accommodation of bicycles, integration of ‘smart’ technologies, and responsiveness to Boston’s unique urban context.

Our work with BTD on the Peabody Square project was instrumental in involving CRWA with the City’s Complete Street Initiative. In 2009, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino appointed CRWA’s Kate Bowditch, to serve on a technical advisory committee to inform the development of these city wide guidelines. The Complete Streets Guidelines were finally released in 2013, after three years of CRWA working in close coordination with the project team on its “green” section.

READ: Boston Complete Streets Guidelines

Blue Cities National

Blue Cities National - Blue Cities Initiative
Blue Cities National - Blue Cities Initiative
In 2010, CRWA launched a partnership with River Network, a national river advocacy organization based in Portland, Oregon, to expand Blue Cities work to other regions of the United States. This initiative includes efforts to design subwatershed-scale restoration plans; examine green infrastructure opportunities at various scales; explore opportunities to repurpose existing infrastructure; and integrate new approaches to water resources into policy and regulations.

River Network selected “opportunity watersheds,” based on the organization’s experience working with watershed groups and clean water advocates around the country. To date, CRWA has worked successfully in Louisville, Kentucky and the Clinton River Watershed in Michigan. In these watersheds, CRWA has identified potential areas for restoring natural hydrologic function, and is providing the technical skills for data assessment, planning and design.

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About Blue Cities Initiative

Project Manager

Pallavi Kalia Mande
Pallavi Kalia Mande
Director of Blue Cities
Bio | 781.788.0007 x232 | Email

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