Watershed Issues

Inhabited by people for thousands of years, and industrialized for 375 years, it's not a surprise that Neponset River Watershed has its share of environmental issues.

The Neponset Watershed experiences water quality issues, reduced water flow, waterway obstructions, and ecosystem degradation, and because of these issues and more, reduced native species diversity.


  • Sewage contamination (i.e., when a building’s stream of wastewater is connected to the wrong piping system, and thus flows into the river as opposed to a water treatment facility)
  • Stormwater runoff, which is the rain water or snow melt that picks up pollution from hard, impervious surfaces, such as roads, parking lots and driveways, and washes into our waterways, usually via storm drains.
  • Legacy toxins (i.e., PCB-laced soil and groundwater from a former industrial property leaches toxins into the river).
  • Low water levels, which affect our river, its tributaries, our groundwater, ponds, lakes and wetlands, especially during the summer.
  • Old dams on the river and its tributaries. These dams degrade water quality and aquatic environments, block fish movement, hinder human recreation, and can threaten public health.
  • Significantly altered ecosystems that have been degraded by humans, and by exotic, invasive species.

Click here to learn more about threats to aquatic habitat.

Our solutions:

  • strengthening policy to protect the natural resources of the watershed,
  • commenting on development proposals to permit better water recharge for our river and underground water supplies,
  • boosting towns’ water-efficiency through school programs
  • offering rebates for water-efficient appliances,
  • managing a water-quality monitoring program (CWMN),
  • planning for the construction of stormwater treatment structures,
  • guiding abutters’ yard maintenance around a pond,
  • releasing biocontrol insects into wetlands to control exotic, invasive plants.

We could use your help!

Watersheds are “communities connected by water.”  Everybody in each community is affected by the water use and water quality of their neighbors.

Help us to protect the water, wildlife and land in your community! Become a member of the Neponset River Watershed Association, become a volunteer, or make a donation today!