Julia Blatt, Executive Director
Elissa Grad, Membership Coordinator
Board of Directors
Mark P. Smith
Sue Bass, Belmont, MA
Paul Beaulieu, Granby, MA
Ian Cooke, Acton, MA
Garry Crago, Belmont, MA
Andrea Donlon, Buckland, MA
Irene Freidel, Littleton, MA
Judith Grinnell, North Adams, MA
Nancy Hammett, Watertown, MA
Andrew Magee, Acton, MA
Deirdre Menoyo, Sudbury, MA
Pam Resor, Acton, MA
Heidi Ricci, Shirley, MA
Sally Schnitzer, Concord, MA
Mark P. Smith, Belmont, MA
Moderator, Rivers Advocates Forum
Massachusetts Rivers Alliance
14 Beacon Street, Suite 706
Boston, MA 02108
(857) 445-0208 (yes, it’s our landline, and yes, we’re in Boston)
To join the Massachusetts Rivers Alliance
Please print out, fill in and mail one of the following forms:
For more information
An Alliance to Protect Rivers
(A brief history)
The Massachusetts Rivers Alliance was incorporated in 2007, and acquired its first staff in June 2009, when the organization hired Executive Director Julia Blatt and Policy Director Sue Beede. The Alliance’s mission is to protect and restore rivers across the Commonwealth. A related goal for us is to strengthen, connect, and empower individuals and organizations working to protect rivers in our state. The Alliance has both individual and organizational members; click on the “our members” tag to see our 50 organizational members. We also welcome individual, families, and businesses – you can click on “Join” to become an Alliance member.
Alliance staff spent our first summer meeting with over 75 river advocates, regulatory staff, and others to find out what people were working on, and what they saw as the most important issues affecting rivers. During the first year, we also seized some opportunities to use the power of our statewide community to make a difference for rivers – in the fall of 2009 we worked with organizational partners to convince the state to reverse a poor policy decision that would have weakened flow protection for rivers throughout the state, and helped defeat a proposal to reactivate wells in the Sudbury basin. We also organized a vigorous, supportive, statewide response to the EPA’s draft stormwater permit.
For the past four years, Alliance staff and board members have been working with state environmental agencies and other stakeholders to improve flow protection, through the Sustainable Water Management Initiative (SWMI), and by working with municipal water suppliers to find common ground. The Alliance has worked closely with environmental partners and state agency leaders to find workable solutions that protect streams while giving water utilities the flexibility they need to meet public health and safety needs. We also work with both the New England Water Works Association and the Massachusetts Water Works Association on events that explore the economics of water supply and conservation.
To help river advocates around the state determine policy priorities, in early 2010 Alliance and its partners created Water 2020, a vision for a sustainable water future in Massachusetts. This document answers the question: What do we want our water future to look like – and how will we get there? The short answer is: Enough clean water for both people and wildlife, and healthy, connected aquatic habitats. At a Water Summit in May 2010, advocates from around the state met to agree on a shared set of river protection priorities, and to flesh out some of the ideas from Water 2020. Storm water management, stream flow protection, and water supply infrastructure and financing emerged as important issues for the group. In 2011 – in addition to our ongoing work with the Sustainable Water Management Initiative – we partnered with the staff at the Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration (formerly, the Riverways Program) to hold a two-day conference on River Monitoring for Climate Change, the first of its kind in New England – we attracted an overflow crowd! We also held a series of member meetings to decode the EPA’s complicated proposed new municipal stormwater permits, and coordinated environmental support for those permits. The latest word is that we can expect to see reissued draft permits in 2014…
In 2013 we partnered with the Berkshire Environmental Action Team, Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration (once again!), and a group of other experts – 15 organizations in all - to bring a series of three workshops on “Improved Stream Crossings” to municipalities, planners, engineers, and environmental activists in the Berkshires and Pioneer Valley. We repeated this highly popular series of workshops in October in three locations in eastern Massachusetts.