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EPA Honors Watershed Group, Students and Citizen Activist for Charles River Work

Release Date: 10/18/2002
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1008

BOSTON - Calling them the "heart and soul" of the nation's clean water efforts, EPA Deputy Regional Administrator Ira Leighton today honored several area groups and individuals for their work in monitoring and protecting the environmental health of the Charles River.

Standing on the banks of the Charles River as a broad range of water monitoring techniques were being demonstrated, Leighton celebrated National Water Monitoring Day and the 30th anniversary of the Clean Water Act by issuing certificates of appreciation to the Charles River Watershed Association, Watertown High School and citizen activist Roger Frymire for their important contributions in monitoring the Charles River.

"Monitoring is a critical cog of the Charles River cleanup and the groups and individuals that are with us today are the backbone of those efforts," said Leighton, speaking on the eve of the weekend's Head of the Charles rowing regatta. "As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Clean Water Act – a law that has resulted in dramatic improvements in water quality all across the country – citizens and volunteer groups such as these deserve special credit for today's cleaner waters."

Today's event near the Watertown Dam was devoted mostly to showcasing the broad range of monitoring techniques being used in the cleanup of the Charles River – from Roger Frymire's odor snooping, to bacteria sampling by the CRWA, to cutting-edge DNA detective work by the U.S. Geological Survey and ecosystem indicator work by Watertown High School.

Recipients of the appreciation certificates include:

    • Charles River Watershed Association: One of the nation's oldest watershed groups, the Charles River Watershed Association has been conducting monthly monitoring with a corps of 90 volunteers at three-dozen stations for many years. This data has been a critical foundation for monitoring and restoring the river, as well as notifying the public of ‘real-time' water quality conditions.
    • Watertown High School: The high school is one of 22 public high schools and community after-school programs working with the Urban Ecology Institute to conduct long-term ecological monitoring studies in water quality and bird biodiversity at field sites along the Charles River. Watertown High School teacher Steve Wilson has been with the Urban Ecology Institute since it was founded and has collected over three years of water quality and bird biodiversity data at the Watertown Dam with his science classes.
    • Roger Frymire: A dedicated local kayaker, Frymire has been conducting
      a systematic sampling of all pipes in the Charles River basin. The data was assembled into "smellcheck" reports that he then forwarded to pipe owners and regulatory agencies, including EPA. His work has resulted in large amounts of sewerage being stemmed from flowing into the Charles River.