On October 2, NSRWA members and guests spent a windy fall day at the Ferry Hill Center in Marshfield, to honor Sen. Susan Moran, Sen. Michael Brady, Rep. Joan Meschino, Rep. Patrick Kearney, Rep. Josh Cutler, and Sen. Patrick O’Connor, winners of the Barbara Pearson River Champion Award for their help in funding the North River Scenic Protective Order. We also honored our Citizen Science Volunteers of the Year, Lanci and Page Valentine, Peter and Gwenn MacLearn, and Joyce Pun-Flynn for their work on the Stone Living Lab beach profiling project at Duxbury Beach. Theresa Delahunt, our Volunteer of the Year, was recognized for her volunteer role as NSRWA’s Volunteer Coordinator. And, NSRWA Executive Director Samantha Woods was celebrated for her 20 years of steadfast and insightful leadership to protect our local waters (See photos here). In addition, several key 2022 NSRWA accomplishments were noted, including:
- Indian Head River Restoration Project – We initiated the Indian Head River Restoration project, to examine the feasibility of removing remove two dams on the Indian Head River, clean up contaminated sediments behind them, and restore fisheries on this major tributary to the North River. Thanks to a $410,000 grant from the Natural Resources Damages Trust Fund, NSRWA hired a part-time coordinator to engage with communities along the Indian Head River to develop a project plan.
- Grow Native Scituate – This pilot program launched in early 2022 with the Gates School in Scituate with funding by the Scituate Education Foundation. One hundred 6th graders learned about native plants, mapped native plants and other vegetation in their own backyards, and received a native plants to bring home to plant from Blue Stem Natives in Norwell. The goal is for students to learn about water conservation through native, naturally drought-tolerant landscapes, to help create climate resilient communities. In 2023, we anticipate expanding the program to Norwell and other communities.
- Environmental Education – Nearly 4,500 children were educated about river herring and their water through our FISH School and water education programs, either during the school day or in after-school programs. An additional 2,545 adults were provided education and engagement through online and outdoor programs.
- Climate Conversations Lead to Action – The NSRWA in parternship with the Unitarian Universalist First Parish Church in Norwell is piloting a program called Climate Conversations Lead to Action. This program engages residents in conversations on how climate change is impacting our local watershed ecosystems including salt marshes, freshwater streams, water supplies, and forests. We will create a rain garden at the church in the spring to showcase ways to reduce runoff and capture water into the soil, which eventually recharges the aquifers and builds climate resilience.
- Advocacy – Our advocacy continued to the state to reopen the shellfish beds. The current situation is that it is possible that some of the North River and all of the South River will be reopened in January if testing of Scituate’s wastewater effluent continues to show consistent reduction of viruses in its treatment process. This is emerging science and there is no standard for viruses in wastewater or in the water column. The good news is that the treatment plant testing from the spring showed that it effectively treated wastewater to below detectable limits for virus in the effluent. Attend our next Shellfish Sit-In on Tuesday, November 1, 2021, at 3 pm at Driftway Conservation Park in Scituate. Click here to register.
- North River Scenic Protective Order – For the second year in a row, with the help of our State Senators and Representatives, we were able to obtain an earmark in the state budget to fund the North River Scenic Protective Order. These funds are essential to protect the iconic scenic landscapes we all know and love, including helping to create public awareness and enforce the importance of the no boat wake part of the order as it erodes our salt marshes.
- Regional Water Supply Resiliency Task Force – We formed this task force with our partners recently to address long term water supply sustainability in the region and restore flows in damaged watersheds. Composed of the South Shore Chamber of Commerce, South Shore legislators, watershed associations, and regional planning agencies, the group began meeting this fall and will continue to engage stakeholders on this issue.
- Volunteerism – We engaged more than 600+ volunteers in citizen science, event support, and youth education programs. And we are ramping up our engagement with volunteers with our new volunteer Volunteer Coordinator, Theresa Delahunt.
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – The NSRWA offered 3 paid summer college internships to enable youth from all economic backgrounds to apply. Free outdoor educational programming was provided to those who are unable to afford it through our Estuary Explorers program. We also participated in celebrations of underrepresented groups – ie. Pride Day, Indigenous Peoples Day, highlighting Black history on our rivers and region.