Action Plan

Paddling downstream along Neponset River, 2003.

Our mission is to protect the water, wildlife and land of the Neponset River and Watershed.

Local People, Local Solutions

Since 1967, the members, volunteers and staff of Neponset River Watershed Association have led, and continue to lead, an extraordinarily successful campaign to clean up and protect our water, waterways, and watershed lands.

We bring together citizens, scientists, engineers, and local officials to solve real-world problems in your neighborhood. Our most important work is at the city and town level, recruiting volunteers to test water and carry out hands-on restoration projects, visiting schools to educate kids about water, and working with communities to stop water waste and pollution.

Our Goals

  • Stop water pollution,
  • Prevent water waste,
  • Educate our kids about water,
  • Open up recreational opportunities, and
  • Restore fish and wildlife habitats.

Stop Water Pollution

The Neponset has come a long way from its days as a severely polluted industrial river. Today, most streams and ponds are swimmable during dry weather, and much of the river has been opened up for canoeing, bike paths, and waterfront parks.

However, the watershed still faces serious water pollution problems that impact fishing, boating, swimming, wildlife and even drinking water. The main culprit is polluted runoff from roads and parking lots; when it rains, oil, pet waste, sand, and lawn chemicals are flushed into the nearest stream or wetland from paved areas.

The Watershed Association is working to find and fix pollution hotspots of all kinds. Our volunteers test for water pollution in all of our towns. Our staff helps towns design and install measures to cleanup polluted runoff, and we work with planning boards and other permitting agencies to ensure that developers do their part, too.

Save Water for Our Streams

More than 160,000 people take drinking water from the Neponset River Watershed. That’s a lot of water withdrawals, and very little gets returned. Instead, most gets piped away to distant sewer treatment plants. Pavement adds to the problem by blocking groundwater recharge. This leaves our aquifers depleted and the river running lower every summer – threatening recreation, wildlife and, in the long run, even our drinking water supplies.

The Watershed Association is working to reduce water withdrawals and replenish our underground aquifers. We help communities to create water conservation outreach and incentive programs that save the river and save you money. We also work to recharge our aquifers through smarter sewer, septic, and drainage systems.

Restore Wildlife Habitats

Over the last 400 years, many of our streams and wetlands have been dammed, drained, filled or overrun by exotic, invasive species, diminishing the natural beauty and ecological health of these natural systems. We work to bring back our historic herring and shad runs, control invasive species, and repair damaged wetland habitats.

Expand River Access

As the river has gotten cleaner and new parks have been developed, more and more people are enjoying the Neponset. However, there are still many places where watershed lands are inaccessible or unprotected. The Watershed Association works to protect key conservation areas and improve public access, so that families in all our communities can enjoy the river.