ACMi-21
Media partner

Site stats: September traffic | Cambridge Day: News >> 

MyRWA, GreenRoots bringing restoration dollars back to Mystic

Improvements to wetland and shoreline habitat are coming to the Mystic River watershed, thanks to the persistent and persuasive efforts of Roseann Bongiovanni of GreenRoots and Patrick Herron of the Arlington-based Mystic River Watershed Association

Mystic River logo

“The Mystic suffered from an Exxon oil spill that resulted in these settlement dollars, and now 13 years later this money is coming back to help restore our urban watershed,” Bongiovanni, executive director of GreenRoots, said in a Dec. 13 news release. “Environmental Justice communities in the Lower Mystic receive a disproportionate share of the pollution and a minimum of the restoration -- this is unhealthy and unfair for everyone living here. This was about to happen again -- until we stepped in to fight for the dollars to help our local environment and communities.”

From going to Washington, D.C., one year ago to advocate for a new funding opportunity to finding other lead partners who lent their voice to this effort, GreenRoots played a critical role in articulating the negative impact of the damages on residents and the ecosystem. From their efforts, it became clear that the remaining funds should be dedicated to restoration near the damages.

The Mystic River Watershed Association led the development of the successful $1,267,685 proposal to NAWCA that includes eight related on-the-ground restoration projects. Improvements to the Mystic River watershed include:

  • Creating a living shoreline at Draw 7 State Park in Somerville;
  • Removing flow impediments and creating healthy habitat at Mill Creek in Chelsea;
  • Building an improved fish passage at Scalley Dam, thereby opening up 100 acres of herring spawning ground at Horn Pond in Woburn; and
  • Installing a trash boom along the Malden River to reduce litter entering the river.

The watershed association has also developed new partnerships outside of the Mystic River watershed that will yield high-value restoration at Great Marsh and Duxbury Beach Reservation within this proposal as well.

“Far too often, urban centers are overlooked for restoration dollars -- with funders instead focusing on more pristine locations,” said Herron, executive director of the watershed association.

“This is an outdated way of thinking though -- urban rivers can be important habitat for birds and fish--and they are vitally important for the health of people in our communities.”

Charged with violating the Clean Water Act through negligence that resulted in 15,200 gallons of petroleum product being spilled into the Lower Mystic River, ExxonMobil signed a plea agreement in 2009 that included a fine, the cost of cleanup and a community-service payment that ultimately totaled $1 million to the Massachusetts Environmental Trust and $4.6 million to the North American Wetlands Conservation Act fund.

All funds managed by the Massachusetts Environmental Trust were immediately put to work on stewardship and water-quality improvements in the Mystic River watershed.

In contrast, wetlands funds have not been successfully applied to complete restoration in the Mystic River watershed. GreenRoots, Mystic River Watershed Association, Conservation Law Foundation and Alternatives for Community and Environment were involved in the original plea agreement directing funds to the Mystic River.

“It is great to see this funding come back full circle to the communities where the funds are needed most and where the impacts are the greatest,” said Bongiovanni.

The official start date for the projects is next fall. All the work will be done in collaboration with the Town of Essex, City of Chelsea, City of Woburn, City of Malden, GreenRoots, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, The Nature Conservancy and the Duxbury Beach Reservation.

The Mystic River Watershed Association works to improve the lives of the more than half million residents of Mystic River communities through its efforts to protect and restore water quality, natural habitat and open space throughout the 76-square-mile watershed.

For more information see MysticRiver.org.


This news announcement was published Friday, Dec. 13, 2019.

Latest comments

Bob Sprague Letters: Emailing Advocate & Star? Copy it here; it'll be published first
17 January 2022
Let the public know with a letter to the editor. For details, see https://www.yourarlington.com/easy...

Your Businesses

Your People

Tony and Jeff Whittemore head for Montreal.

Film premieres pony tale: When 2 boys went to Montreal

Watch 'Pony Boys' on Monday, Oct. 3 (changed from Sept. 27), a New York Times' Op-Doc Tony and Jeff Whittemore head for Montreal. / 1967 family photo UPDATED Sept. 26: Spy Pond Productions of Arlington has announced that the film directed by Eric Stange has been acquired by The New York Times…
Sue and Jeff Thompson

Couple stays upbeat despite worsening health challenges

Sue and Jeff Thompson face trials, keep smiling. UPDATED Oct. 1: On July 19 it was one year since Jeff Thompson was diagnosed with ALS, and during that time his condition has worsened. But he and his wife, Sue, have learned some important lessons: Be prepared before the next thing happens so you’re…

Housing Authority

FACEBOOK BOX: To see all images, click the PHOTOS link just below

 



Support YourArlington

An informed Arlington
keeps democracy alive
:

Why we are your news source >>

Donate Button

YourArlington is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

Your contributions are tax-deductible.

Your Arts

Your Events

Your Police, Fire

Your Democracy

Your Housing

Site Partners