Since our founding in 1967, our mission has been to protect and restore the natural resources of the Neponset River, its tributaries, and surrounding watershed lands for the benefit of present and future generations.

We bring together citizens, scientists, engineers, and local officials to solve real-world problems in your neighborhood.

Our most important work is at the city and town level, recruiting volunteers to test water and carry out hands-on restoration projects, visiting schools to educate kids about water, and working with communities to stop water waste and pollution.

Learn about the history of NepRWA.

Major goals of NepRWA’s strategic plan:

  1. Make our waterways, water supplies, communities, and habitats more resilient to climate change
  2. Stop water pollution and restore swimmable water quality
  3. Conserve water, reduce flooding, and restore natural stream flows
  4. Protect and restore habitats for native fish and wildlife
  5. Open up recreational access and facilitate the protection of open spaces
  6. Build a diverse and lasting constituency through education and advocacy

The Neponset has come a long way from its days as a severely polluted industrial river.

Today, most streams and ponds are swimmable during dry weather, and much of the River has been opened up for canoeing, bike paths, and waterfront parks.

Ensure Climate Resiliency

NepRWA works with state and local agencies, municipal staff, engineers and scientists, and community groups from around the Watershed to tackle high-priority climate resilience projects, with an eye toward improving equity for those priority populations most at risk from expected climate impacts.

Long-term goals include the development of a framework around which the Neponset cities and towns can work together on a regional approach toward reducing extreme climate impacts.

Stop Water Pollution

Despite vast improvements in water quality, the Watershed still faces serious water pollution problems that impact fishing, boating, swimming, wildlife — and even drinking water.

The main culprit is polluted runoff from roads and parking lots. When it rains, oil, pet waste, sand, and lawn chemicals are flushed into the nearest stream or wetland from paved areas.

NepRWA works to find and fix pollution of all kinds.

  • Our CWMN volunteers test for water pollution in all of our towns.
  • NepRWA staff helps our town engineers to design and install measures to clean up polluted runoff.
  • We work with municipal planning boards and other permitting agencies to ensure that developers do their part.

NepRWA also manages the Neponset Stormwater Partnership (NSP), a regional cooperation and resource-sharing program, which allows us to effectively assist our communities with their stormwater cleanup efforts at a lower cost, through economies of scale.

Prevent Water Waste

More than 160,000 people take drinking water from the Neponset River Watershed. That’s a lot of water withdrawals, and very little gets returned. Instead, most gets piped away to distant sewer treatment plants.

Pavement adds to the problem by blocking groundwater recharge. This leaves our aquifers depleted and the river running lower every summer – threatening recreation, wildlife, and, in the long run, even our drinking water supplies.

NepRWA works to reduce water withdrawals and replenish our underground aquifers.

  • We help communities to create water conservation outreach and incentive programs that save the River and save residents money.
  • We work to recharge our aquifers by helping to plan and implement smarter sewer, septic, and drainage systems.

Restore Fish & Wildlife Habitats

Over the last 400 years, many of our streams and wetlands have been dammed, drained, filled, or overrun by exotic, invasive species, diminishing the natural beauty and ecological health of these natural systems.

We work to bring back our historic herring and shad runs, control invasive species, and repair damaged wetland habitats.

Open Up Recreational Access

As the River has gotten cleaner and new parks have been developed, more and more people are enjoying the Neponset. However, there are still many places where Watershed lands are inaccessible or unprotected.

NepRWA works to protect key conservation areas and improve public access so that families in all our communities can enjoy the River.

Support Education & Advocacy

NepRWA aims to reach every fifth grader in all 14 Watershed communities with lessons about the River, preventing pollution, and conserving water.

We believe that by bringing real-world scenarios into the classroom, we are not only teaching students about the natural world around them but empowering a new generation of River stewards.

In addition, we aim to improve environmental by-laws, budgets, and justice in the Neponset Watershed through thoughtful public policy.

Our advocacy work ensures:

  • rules that protect the environment,
  • those who enforce the rules have the resources they need, and
  • plans for land development or redevelopment are responsibly designed.

We work with our Watershed communities to:

  • implement evidence-based policies that will improve climate change resilience,
  • increase access to the Neponset River and its surrounding lands, and
  • clean and restore the Watershed to benefit the environment and the people who live in it.