Everyone on the South Shore wants healthy rivers… clean, swimmable, fishable waters and vibrant shellfish beds open year-round. So do we! To reach this goal, we are helping people and organizations take steps to monitor and reduce toxic stormwater runoff.

The North and South Rivers are both National Park Service National Natural Landmarks and classified by the state as “Outstanding Resource” (Class SA) waters. However, you might be surprised to know that both rivers are also categorized by the state as “impaired” by fecal coliform bacteria. Because of high bacterial counts, our shellfish beds are closed five months of the year. And in the North River–the only scenic protected river in our state–mercury is evident in the fish living in the headwaters.

The primary source of bacteria and other contaminants in our rivers is stormwater runoff. During rainstorms, pollutants wash into the rivers–these include salt and oil from roadways and parking lots, sand and debris from construction sites, chemicals from our lawns, and runoff from landfills.

Better Water Quality, Together

We work with our Riverwatch volunteers to monitor bacteria and other water quality parameters. We help watershed communities implement town-wide regulatory changes and the latest green techniques to naturally manage stormwater runnoff. Through our Greenscapes program, we help homeowners learn about stormwater pollution and actions they can take in their own backyards to reduce it.

We also partner with MassBays and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) to encourage South Shore communities to pass stormwater bylaws that enable towns to regulate the runoff associated with new construction. Finally, we continue to support the concept of stormwater utilities user fees, a sustainable way to secure funding for ongoing stormwater infrastructure maintenance.

To join us in improving the quality of our local waters, contact Sara P. Grady, Ecologist/South Shore Regional Coordinator for MassBays Program, at sara@nsrwa.org.

Interested in Volunteering? Fill out this registration form!