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Mass Rivers is proud to serve as the statewide advocacy organization for rivers and streams in the Commonwealth. Learn more about the advocacy process and our priorities below. 

Advocacy Wins

  • Won successful passage of a bill to require public notification of sewage spills to waterbodies in Massachusetts in 2021. Learn more >>

  • Forced the EPA to implement stormwater management requirements across the state.

  • Helped draft a 2014 state law to increase water infrastructure funding.

  • Increased stream connectivity by increasing the number of stormwater utilities around the state.  Our six day-long workshops trained 400 municipal staff and consultants on culvert replacements and stormwater utilities.

  • Worked with state staff to significantly strengthen state’s drought response management plan, completed in 2019.

  • Defeated several proposed bills that would have harmed rivers.

  • Increased climate resiliency, aquatic ecosystem protection, and climate justice in several bills that have been enacted into law.

  • Won multi-million dollar increases in both annual state funding and capital budgets for agencies that protect rivers, in FY19, FY20, and FY21.

Mass Rivers Top Legislative Priorities (2020-2021)

HD.1635/SD.1317 An Act relative to maintaining adequate water supplies through effective drought management (Sponsored by Rep. Dykema and Sen. Eldridge) This bill would give the Massachusetts Drought Management Task Force statutory authority and provide the Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs with authority to require uniform nonessential outdoor watering restrictions across a drought region during severe droughts. Learn more about drought in Massachusetts >>

SD.1661 An Act responding to the threat of invasive species (Sponsored by Sen Jehlen) This bill would create an Invasive Species Council that would create an Invasive Species Management plan for the state, as well as administer the Invasive Species Trust Fund. This Council would guide policy and action on preventing and controlling terrestrial and aquatic invasive species across the state. 

Mass Rivers Budget Priorities – FY22

Department of Environmental Protection – Administration (Line-Item 2200-0100)

The Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has a critical role in protecting public health and safety, a role that will become even more important in the next few years as federal agencies budgets and authorities are cut.  MassDEP is tasked with ensuring clean air and water, managing toxics, reducing solid waste, preserving wetlands, developing energy efficiency projects and preparing the Commonwealth for climate change impacts.

Department of Fish and Game – Division of Ecological Restoration (Line-Item 2300-0101)

The Division of Ecological Restoration (DER) within the Department of Fish and Game restores and protects our rivers, wetlands, and watersheds to improve streamflow, protect drinking water, and reduce flooding. Every state dollar invested in DER projects is matched on average by five non-state dollars. Every $1 million spent on restoration in Massachusetts, generates, on average, a 75% return on investment and creates or maintains 12.5 jobs. In FY17, DER and its partners managed over $13 million in federal grants to remove obsolete dams, upgrade failing bridges and replace culverts.

Department of Conservation and Recreation – Watershed Management (Line-Item 2800-0101)

The Watershed Management Office conducts and helps fund critical research on water resources in Massachusetts. This 12-person office responsible for protecting our precious water resources by providing scientific information, policy guidance, technical assistance, and resource management through four program areas: the Flood Hazard Management Program, the Lakes and Ponds Program, the Water Resources Assessment and Planning Program, and the U.S. Geological Survey Cooperative Program. They provide invaluable technical assistance to municipalities, working with over 336 Massachusetts communities, assisting with floodplain management and ensuring compliance with the National Flood Insurance Program. It also works to protect and restore DCR’s 300 lakes and 51 freshwater swimming beaches, enhancing both the ecological integrity and recreational opportunities of these resources. The services provided by this office are essential to maintaining strong science-based policies to safeguard our rivers, lakes, and water supplies.

What is the legislative process?

In Massachusetts, legislative sessions begin on January 1 and last two years. An average of 6,000-10,000 bills are filed every session. However, less than 10% are passed and become state law.  Learn how bills are created and passed in the state legislature >>

What is the budget process?

Massachusetts fiscal years run from July 1–June 30.  Learn how the state budget is created and passed >>

Advocacy Toolkit

Maintaining consistent contact with your local, state and federal elected officials is key to ensuring that they keep your priorities at the top of their list. For additional information on ways you and/or your organization can improve your advocacy efforts, check out our toolkit >>

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How to Talk to Your Legislator

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Founded in 2007, Mass Rivers works to strengthen statewide river policies in four areas: water quality, streamflow, wildlife habitat, and investment in green infrastructure.

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2343 Massachusetts Ave

Cambridge, MA 02140

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