Thursday, October 15, 2009

Massachusetts governor drops the ball on river restoration

I don't like to write when I'm angry, there's too big a risk of me saying something I will regret. But, at the same time, anger often drives my motivation to get people's attention. I just heard the most angering news that our governor, Deval Patrick (who I actually voted for since he made some great promises) just reversed a very key river policy which set water withdrawal limits and protected the Ipswich River from running dry in the summer. If he gets his way, and this policy goes into action, summer kayak trips, like this one above which I lead this past August, will look more like the one below.

The full article with details is here, but some key points are the following:

"...under the state's new safe yield calculation, 165 million gallons could be drawn daily from the Charles River - nearly four times the current limit of 46 million gallons per day"

"Under the new policy...the state could draw an extra 22 million gallons per day from the Ipswich River basin."

The governor should be calling for more water conservation, not more consumption. I am baffled and irate at this decision. The Ipswich River Watershed Association will be posting a petition on their website soon. Please sign it, even if you live far far away, it will mean thousands of aquatic species won't die in order to water someone's enormous lawn.

To learn more about herring and water conservation in the Ipswich River please visit my earlier posts:
And to Governor Patrick who is running for reelection: you just lost my vote.


  1. Kate,I hope that river doesn't run dry.It would be sad.

  2. Maybe you can share this post,by clicking above.

  3. Baffling. Do you know what drove the push to increase the limits? I know some towns have summer water restrictions but I thought that was limited to nonessential items like car washing and lawn watering. I'd hate to think that clean cars and lawns are the driver here.

  4. Kate, sometimes anger is necessary to compel us into action. This does require something more than simple resignation. When you figure it out, please let us know here in your blog. You don't have to convince me, but if I can help convince anyone who matters, let me know.

  5. That is horrible. With all that is publicized about the effects of such things it makes you wonder what prompted such a bonehead decision. I hope people speak out for a reversal.

  6. charmine: the river ran dry almost every summer until a few years ago when our watershed association sued, and won, the towns upstream who consumed too much. i don't want to go back to that, very sad indeed.

    Beej: the IRWA's email mentioned that Patrick was favoring "industry". it's all still a bit vague, still researching this. completely baffling!

    DJan: I will most definitely update you all, especially when I have a link to the petition once it's up on the watershed's site. glad you're already on the river's side :) no surprise there!

    Rae: you said it! BONEHEAD decision!

    thanks for caring everyone, this river - and all its creatures - is very special to me. -kate

  7. Ouch! This is a common issue in the West. In New England... I had no idea.

  8. Oh no! This is just terrible news. (I took that picture of the dried up riverbed, and I would be so sad to see those conditions return, and just now when then river is finally returning to health.)

  9. troutbirder: it can actually be an issue out east, especially when a community, like mine, relies on one watershed for its water. but, as always, the ecology always suffers for human comfort.

    Emily: Kerry was quoted as being "outraged" as am I. especially now when the herring are finally seeing an upward population trend for the first time in a decade. When I get more info I will pass it on. Thanks for taking that photo, I've used it before, I pulled it off google images from the Charles River Watershed's site, I had no idea you took it! :) it really says it all.

  10. Oh that's so sad and sounds alarming. It is the opposite here, the watershed has always been protected especially the one which is just near our place and supplies us with potable water. People call for conservation in times that the shed is in it's critical level. But today all watersheds are overflowing with water, done a lot destruction around it's neighboring towns. You sound angry but you said it well, Kate.


  11. Bonehead does seem to be the best term (thanks Rae) to describe his actions. I hope enough pressure can be exerted to get him to reverse this 'really stupid, obviously in someone's pocket' decision.

    I'm with you!

  12. the governor needs to take a look at what extensive irrigation has done to the waterways of the mid-west -


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