Mass Rivers is proud to serve as the statewide advocacy organization for rivers and streams in the Commonwealth. To learn more about the advocacy process and our priorities, please check out the below links and information.
Mass Rivers Top Legislative Priorities (2019 – 2020)
An Act promoting awareness of sewage pollution in public waters (S.490 – Sen. Jehlen/H.751 – Rep. Cambpell and Rep. Provost) would institute a statewide sewage discharge notification system to alert residents when sewage spills make rivers unsafe.
An Act relative to maintaining adequate water supplies through effective drought management (S.535 – Sen. Tarr/H.762 – Rep. Dykema) 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 during severe droughts.
Mass Rivers Budget Priorities – FY20
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. For details on how bills are created and passed in the state legislature, please click this link
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, please see the below links.
How to Talk to Your Legislator
Action Alert Sign Up
Keep up with Mass River’s advocacy work and how you can help by subscribing below for our monthly news and action alerts covering state and federal actions, the River RATs Roundup.