May 05, 2009

Report Card for Mystic River: "C-"

Watershed improving from past two years' "D" status

At events May 2 in Chelsea and Woburn, Mass., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the third public reporting on the condition of the Mystic River since kicking off a collaborative effort addressing water quality issues in the urban river in 2006. This year, the EPA is pleased to report that the Mystic River Watershed received a grade of "C-" for the calendar year of 2008.

EPA New England’s Acting Deputy Regional Administrator Stephen Perkins joined community members and environmental advocates at Mill Creek in Chelsea and at Horn Pond Conservation Area in Woburn to announce the grade and celebrate the communities’ annual spring cleanup and Earth Day events, as community members pitched in to help with river cleanup projects.

“This year's Mystic River Report Card grade is a testament to the success of the strong partnerships forged between local citizens all the way up through federal government. A “C-" is a substantial improvement from years past, but there is still much work to be done,” said Perkins. “By pulling together, we hope to make the Mystic River Watershed one of the most beautiful, most usable and most valued watersheds in the country.”

Each of the past two years, the EPA has announced a grade of “D” for the watershed; it is with cautious optimism that this year the agency announces a grade of a “C-" for the watershed. The grade for the Mystic River Watershed indicates that over the past year, water quality met swimming standards 59 percent of the time and boating standards 90 percent of the time. The grade is based on bacterial contamination.

"The Mystic River Watershed is not only a tremendous industrial and commercial center for our state, but also a critical environmental resource. This river system supports a broad range of uses, from drinking water sources to extensive recreational uses," said Lucy Edmondson, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection's (MassDEP) deputy commissioner for policy and planning. "MassDEP remains committed to working with EPA, local communities, watershed organizations and the public to achieve improvements in water quality and to protect these vital resources."

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