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.
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 (2021-2022)
HD.1635/SD.1317 An Act relative to maintaining adequate water supplies through effective drought management (Sponsored by Representative Dykema and Senator Eldridge) Currently, municipalities implement their own water conservation measures during drought, leading to a confusing patchwork of policies that provide a limited impact on our watersheds. This bill would give the Massachusetts Drought Management Task Force statutory authority and provide the Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs with the authority to require uniform nonessential outdoor watering restrictions across a drought region during severe droughts. Essential users, like agricultural users, would be exempted. Learn more about drought in Massachusetts >>
HD.3574/SD.1661 An Act responding to the threat of invasive species (Sponsored by Representative D. Rogers and Senator Jehlen) This bill would create an Invasive Species Council tasked with creating an Invasive Species Management plan for the state, as well as administering the Invasive Species Trust Fund. Municipalities and conservation organizations could seek guidance, expertise, and grant funding on invasive species eradication. This Council would guide policy and action on preventing and controlling terrestrial and aquatic invasive species across the state.
More Bills We Support:
How are laws made in Massachusetts?
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 >>
How does Massachusetts create its state budget?
Massachusetts fiscal years run from July 1–June 30. Learn how the state budget is created and passed >>
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 >>
Where else is Mass Rivers speaking up for rivers?
Mass Rivers participates in state-run task forces, and coalitions with partner organizations. Learn more >>
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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. 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. They recently added PFAS testing and sewage discharge notification to their workload, without gaining additional employees for those duties.
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 – State Parks and Recreation (Line-Item 2810-0100)
The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) stewards 450,000 acres of land that provide abundant recreational opportunities, enhance water quality, and contribute to a stable climate. Massachusetts' State Parks experienced a boom of attendance during the pandemic: the average increase in visitation was 99%, though some areas received as much as a 300% increase. DCR needs to be prepared for the impacts of climate change, like flooding and drought, as well as invasive species outbreaks and normal maintenance of facilities. They provide an invaluable environmental, educational, and recreational service to our communities.
Department of Fish and Game - Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (2310-0300)
MassWildlife's Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP) is responsible for the protection of over 400 endangered or threatened plant and animal species in our state, including habitat restoration and public education to ensure these species regain stable populations. NHESP staff collect biological data and have developed online conservation tools useful for residents, scientists, and lawmakers to understand more about the plants and wildlife in their areas.