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Mass Rivers Gears Up for 2020

A big thank you to you, our supporters and partners, for making this another successful year for rivers in Massachusetts! In 2020, the Mass Rivers Alliance will be pushing back against new threats to water, and building on our recent accomplishments: We moved out in front to demand a better response to the drought – and the administration responded. Mass Rivers pulled together a large coalition of groups to advocate for a more proactive strategy to address droughts. We worked closely with our state agencies on a new drought plan that was finalized this year to ensure that our state responds more quickly and effectively to future droughts. We co-led the effort to increase budgets for important river protection programs within the state agencies. In the past two years, we’ve spearheaded a successful effort with the state legislature to triple the capacity of the state’s Division of Ecological Restoration to remove dams and restore rivers. We have also led a successful effort to substantially increase funding to the Department of Environmental Protection’s water programs, improving the state’s ability to enforce rules protecting river health. We raised the profile of rivers at the State House. Our well-attended Lobby for the Rivers event this year spotlighted our sewage notification and drought management bills, as well as our asks for restored funding for state environmental agencies that protect rivers and streams. Over 100 participants used the information we provided to advocate for this critical legislation and increased funding for river protection. We had our largest Annual Meeting and Dinner to date. Over 200 people joined us in December to celebrate river champions and successful environmental campaigns. Our keynote speaker, Florence Williams, award-winning journalist, author, and podcaster, shared case studies and stories about why nature makes us healthier, happier and more creative. We were also delighted to honor four outstanding river champions in Massachusetts at this event. They include: River Hero: Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo; River Advocates: Steve Long, Director Government Relations for The Nature Conservancy, and Jack Clarke, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations, Mass Audubon; River Friend: Vandana Rao, Director of Water Policy, Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. A big thank you to all of our attendees for making this our best event yet – and we look forward to seeing you all again in December 2020! What are Mass Rivers’ goals for the future? We’re just getting started. In just 10 years, we have grown into one of the largest environmental alliances in the state with 81 member organizations! Our success has created a huge demand from two main constituencies; river advocates and policy makers.   Our priorities for the coming year include:

  1. Passing our sewage notification bill to alert the public when rivers are unsafe for recreation,

  2. Working with state and NGO partners to bolster our state response to climate change issues that harm our waterways,

  3. Securing additional funding for more key state water agency staff so we can have more boots on the ground protecting and restoring our rivers,

  4. Reducing water pollution by strengthening the state’s water quality programs, and,

  5. Helping towns and cities clean up stormwater, a major water pollution problem in our state.

We need your help to make this happen! We know that many environmental challenges lie ahead this year, but with your support, Mass Rivers is preparing for one of our most aggressive efforts yet to protect and restore streams and rivers across our state. To support our efforts to keep rivers clean, healthy and accessible for all, please click here. On behalf of the staff and board at Mass Rivers, we wish you the happiest of holidays, and look forward to seeing you in 2020!

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