With the ability to review and produce sound and independent scientific data, CRWA has established one of the most extensive water quality data sets of any river in the nation.
As a science-based organization, CRWA must first perform high-quality, rigorous scientific investigations to gain a thorough and accurate understanding of the river system as a whole. Regularly monitoring water quality is key to improving conditions in our complex and dynamic urban watershed. With this solid background knowledge, CRWA is able to properly address the issues threatening the Charles River.
CRWA has been measuring change in the Charles River since 1995, and our River Science program serves as a model for watershed science programs across the country. We are the only organization that maintains a robust, year-round sampling program spanning the full extent of the Charles River. Our program includes monitoring water chemistry, pollutant levels, cyanobacteria algal blooms, streamflows, invertebrate species, and invasive plants. The Environmental Protection Agency and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection rely on our sampling results to develop and enforce water quality standards.
CRWA scientists continuously analyze our robust dataset to identify spatial and temporal trends that allow us to better understand the river system as a whole, and to identify problem areas. Our River Science program goes one step further and puts observations into action through river restoration projects like dam removals, invasive plant removal, stream naturalization, and fish stocking.
Our River Science program engages watershed residents as volunteer citizen scientists who help collect samples and restoration volunteers who participate in on-the-ground projects. This training and hands-on experience gives volunteers of all ages and backgrounds the opportunity to learn about watershed management challenges and solutions. Equipped with this experience and knowledge, our volunteers are some of the strongest advocates for the Charles River.