Everyone deserves clean plentiful water and free-flowing connected rivers.

In many South Shore towns, water withdrawals reduce streamflow, stormwater pollutes our waters, and dams fragment the rivers and harm wildlife habitats. Our water resources are the most fundamental aspect of our public health, our local environment, and our local economy. Water mismanagement puts all of these key factors in jeopardy.

We support a community of grass-roots volunteers and organizations as they collaborate to urge local, state, and federal legislators and enforcement agencies to understand and protect our invaluable water resources.

Since our founding in 1970, we’ve become a knowledgeable voice on policy issues that impact the health of our local waters.

In our first decade, our members helped get state legislation passed to protect the North River Corridor and make it the only scenic protected river in the state. In the 1980s, we sued the town of Scituate to stop the discharge of polluted wastewater into the North and South Rivers. In the 1990s, the outcome forced Scituate to upgrade its treatment plant, which made it possible to open previously polluted shellfish beds. In 2001 we passed funding for sewering parts of Marshfield where failing septic systems were polluting the South River and opened up more shellfish beds.  Throughout the 2000s we helped South Shore towns pass the Community Preservation Act (CPA). This saved over 400 acres along the North and South Rivers and over 1,800 acres across the South Shore.

Today, we’re working on these important projects:

Brockton Fish Kills North River Herring
In 2017, 2,500 river herring from the North River system were found dead along the Southeastern shore of Silver Lake.  In 2017 and 2018 we worked with our partners at the Jones River Watershed Association and the Pembroke Herring Fisheries Commission to have a screen placed on the intake to prevent fish from being taken.  In the long term we are advocating for better water management policies that ensure Brockton has a sustainable water supply and that the South Shore watersheds are no longer negatively impacted by Brockton’s withdrawals.

Pembroke River Marsh Housing Development
In collaboration with a citizens group, we’re working to oppose a 56-unit condominium housing development along the North River in Pembroke. This environmentally fragile site should simply not be considered for such intensive development.

Restoring the Third Herring Brook with the Hanover Mall
In partnership with the Hanover Mall redevelopment team, we are working to remove the dam on property owned by the mall on the Third Herring Brook that is blocking fish passage.  We are also working with the mall to reduce their water footprint and impact from stormwater on the Third Herring Brook.

Plastic Bag Bans
Plastic bags make up the third largest type of litter from land-based sources found on U.S. coasts. They choke, strangle, and entangle turtles, marine mammals, birds, fish, and transport harmful microbes and toxins up the food chain. To date, NSRWA has helped citizen groups in 8 South Shore towns pass single-use plastic bag bans.


“Within the next year, it is very likely that every town along the South Shore will have a plastic bag ban. One of the greatest benefits of that is we now have a core of experienced activists in every town who not only have the expertise to bring good environmental legislation forward, but also the experience and confidence that comes with having done so.” — Ken Stone, Plymouth Plastic Bag Ban Group