NepRWA Highlights: 2022

December 2022

Despite lingering Covid restrictions, 2022 turned out to be an amazing year for the Neponset River thanks to our volunteers, donors, staff, board, and partners. Scroll down for a few highlights.

Climate Adaptation

  • Assembled a coalition of 12 communities from Quincy and Boston all the way to Foxborough to explore opportunities to implement climate adaptation measures on a regional basis.
  • Secured $500K+ in matching grants for a Watershed-wide flood model to predict future climate flooding problems and evaluate ways to reduce impacts on residents and businesses.
  • Reviewed land use regulations in 11 communities and recommended changes to advance climate resilience

Habitat Restoration

  • Removed the Mill Pond Dam on Traphole Brook in Norwood to improve the best trout stream in eastern MA and prevent flooding an EJ neighborhood.
  • Removed the Canton Ave. Dam on Pine Tree Brook, our third project to expand the habitat for this rare trout population.
  • Formalized a water conservation partnership with Walpole, and advocated for stronger water withdrawal and drought protections in MA.

Water Quality

  • Helped 11 communities update local stormwater rules for developers.
  • Planned, built or secured funding for stormwater upgrade projects in Stoughton, Medfield, Quincy, Milton, Norwood, Walpole, Sharon, and Foxborough.
  • Advocated for stronger state and federal stormwater requirements that recognize the reality of climate change.
  • Estimated levels of polluted runoff from every property in 10 cities and towns as a step toward planning stormwater infrastructure upgrades.

Education & Outreach

  • Reached approximately 3,000 fifth graders across 10 towns with our Watershed curriculum.
  • Reached residents in 12 communities, and more than 100,000 homes, on how to manage pet waste, fertilizers, yard waste, septic systems, and dumpsters.
  • Met with students from Archbishop Williams High School, Norfolk Agricultural School, Northeastern University, UMass/Boston, and the X-cel Education Corp., to look at water quality and macroinvertebrates, talk about dam removal and river health, and do a freshwater mussel survey of Traphole Brook in Norwood.
  • Produced the Neponset Day event along the Neponset River in Dorchester, which was attended by hundreds of local residents.

Created Greenways and Open Space

  • Trained two summer interns who gained valuable work experience, created new maps, and documented abutters encroaching on parkland.
  • Helped Mattapan’s Edgewater Drive neighborhood plan a new trail along the River, now at the 75% design stage.
  • Collaborated with the Belnel Family Neighborhood Association, Rosebery Ruskindale Neighborhood Association,  East River Neighborhood Association, Hyde Park Central River Neighborhood Group, Southwest Boston Community Development Corporation, and neighbors of Hyde Park’s Doyle Park on the design of the new Doyle Playground and West Street Trail Improvements, which are to be constructed next year.
  • Helped the Hyde Park Central River Neighborhood Group with invasive plant removal events.
  • Completed canoe launch and trail improvements around Bird Pond in Walpole.
  • Worked with MA DCR to install new signs along the Greenway and renovate informational kiosks.
  • Secured permits for a new boardwalk on the Quincy RiverWalk.
  • Brought community groups together to advocate for connections from the Neponset Greenway to the Blue Hills and Warner Trail.
  • Collaborated with the Neponset River Greenway Council on Greenway Trail improvements and public events, like Neponset Day, the Neponset Pumpkin Parade, canoeing, and biking.

Leveraged Volunteer Power

  • Rallied 460+ volunteers across 30+ sites for six cleanup events.
  • Gathered 520 water quality samples from 46 sites thanks to 58 community volunteers who participated in our Community Water Monitoring Network program and over 30 students in the X-Cel Conservation Corps program.
  • Removed hundreds of pounds of invasive plants from five locations in the Watershed.

Prioritized Environmental Justice

  • Secured EPA Superfund status for the Lower Neponset River to clean up PCB- contaminated mud.
  • Helped EPA organize community outreach meetings for the Lower Neponset Superfund site, post fish consumption signs, and deliver health risk info.
  • Partnered with X-cel Education to provide occupational environmental science training for underserved youth.
  • Organized residents to kill one electronic billboard proposal overlooking urban parkland and oppose a second.
  • Completed >20 public outreach events, introducing hundreds to the River, with a focus on engaging EJ populations.

Looking forward, we aim to improve recreational access to parks and waterways, expand our school education program, engage more volunteers, increase collaboration with our municipal partners, restore herring and trout habitats, monitor and eliminate pollution sources, reduce the impact of future droughts and floods, and advocate for smart policies and investments at the state and local level.

It’s an ambitious agenda, but one we will achieve thanks to the commitment and generosity of members and volunteers like you!

Please feel free to email Ian Cooke or call 781-575-0354 x305 if you’d like more details on any of our projects.

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