Law, Advocacy & Policy - Charles River Watershed Association
CRWA's advocacy and policy initiatives strive for sustainable and economically viable solutions for a healthy and vibrant Charles River watershed.


CRWA is involved in every major decision affecting the health of the Charles River. Our law and policy team comments on scores of permits and development and re-development projects each year, and appears before local conservation commissions, planning boards, environmental agencies and legislative committees. CRWA’s science and innovative solutions to watershed problems informs our advocacy and makes it persuasive and compelling. 

Whether advocating for the cleanup of contaminated sites along the Charles, building resilience to climate change, fighting for pollution reductions in stormwater runoff, or working to make projects and permitting decisions environmentally sustainable, CRWA seeks sustainable, cost-effective and economically viable solutions as we advocate for a healthy and vibrant Charles River watershed.

Permitting and Regulation

CRWA strives to improve water quality in the Charles River watershed, increase water quantity through groundwater recharge, and reduce stream temperatures, bank erosion, and flooding. Through CRWA’s Blue Cities Initiative, we’ve learned that integrating land use and water resource management is critical to river health. To restore the natural environment in urbanized areas, we must not only utilize low impact development approaches that recharge groundwater and increase streamflow, but also reduce phosphorus loads from entering the Charles. 

Through extensive scientific research, CRWA has developed nutrient and phosphorus limits for the Charles River which are among the most protective in the country. Armed with this knowledge, CRWA persuaded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to expand new stormwater regulation to owners of highly impervious commercial, industrial and high density residential lots in the upper Charles River, in an effort to help meet water quality standards. 

CRWA also works to strengthen existing environmental laws, regulations, and polices, as well as implement them around the Charles River watershed and beyond. Additionally, CRWA often partners with other environmental advocates to defeat measures in the state legislature that if passed, would weaken environmental protections. 
View CRWA’s Current Permitting and Legislation Initiatives

Protecting Public Resources

When necessary, CRWA challenges permit decisions and files lawsuits to prevent environmental damage. As the river is restored, there is increasing pressure by private entities to control public parkland along the Charles. Ensuring public access to a cleaner river and parklands, which are held in public trust for the benefit of all citizens, is central to CRWA’s mission. CRWA works closely with communities to prevent the Massachusetts legislature and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation from transferring trust lands to private uses.
View CRWA’s Current Public Resource Protection Initiatives

About Law, Advocacy & Policy

Project Manager

Margaret Van Deusen, Esq. - Law, Advocacy & Policy
Margaret Van Deusen, Esq.
Deputy Director and General Counsel 
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