Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Petition to protect the Ipswich River is ready for signing

As promised, I'm posting the link to a very important petition to protect Massachusetts' rivers and streams. As I mentioned in a (bit angry) previous post our Governor, Deval Patrick, has allowed the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection to roll back critical "safe yield" water withdrawal levels.

What is "safe yield"? Simply put, that's the maximum amount of water that can be pumped out of a river system without damaging the river: i.e. pumping it dry. In previous summers when my local river, the Ipswich River, ran dry withdrawals were at 28 to 32 million gallons a day. The DEP was sued and levels were dropped. The past three summers the river has flowed, wildlife has flourished and the herring are starting to return to spawn.

Just when I was starting to relax and jumping for joy over this recovery the DEP has decided that the new "safe yield" for the Ipswich River will be 55.5 million gallons a day. YES: 55.5 MILLION gallons a day. That's almost twice the levels that pumped the river dry.

What will happen? All the fish will die and the river will look like this. I'm fairly sure those are dead fish in that puddle in the foreground. So no fishing, no kayaking, no working beaver dams, and most definitely no herring fry getting out of the river to grow up in the ocean.

Please visit the Conservation Law Foundation's website to sign a petition to rescind this action. I signed it yesterday and immediately received the following reply from the governor's office:

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with Governor Patrick. The Governor values your opinions and enjoys hearing from people across the Commonwealth. Please know that your views are always welcome in this administration.

The Governor and his staff strive to review every piece of correspondence in a timely manner. If appropriate, we will forward your message to the appropriate staff member, department or the state agency that can best address your concerns.

If you need an immediate response, please call the Governor's Office at 617-725-4005 to speak with a Constituent Services Aide. Again, thank you for taking the time to share your ideas with Governor Patrick. Stay involved and engaged...this is your government!

I'd like to think this is positive, but I'm not very hopeful. Thank you everyone for caring about the little ecosystem at the end of my road. The Ipswich River was listed as one of the country's top ten most endangered rivers, how is it ever going to recover if this policy goes into action?


  1. So sad to read about the potential reversal of policy/promise regarding the river. I hope there is a huge turnout for the petition. I'll visit the site but not being local I don't know that it will do much good.

    I read your entries I've missed....yes, I could definately squeeze a fish!! ;) I can easily see why you will miss them so much. I had to chuckle at the wearing of a thin wetsuit! Your garden turned out great ~ you should be proud. Imagine how well it will do next year now that you know more. I will be doing a garden again next year. I truly missed it this year.
    It was great catching up!

  2. Kate, I suppose I can't sign it, not being from Massachusetts, right? But you're right: this is an outrage. Thank God there are people like you who are not taking it lying down. And like the letter said, this is your government, so taking action is the right thing to do.

  3. Lisa: welcome back! I hope you're feeling better and you're getting to spend lots of time with your animals again :) I do hope you do a garden again next year, it's excellent therapy to watch something grow.

    DJan: I don't think it matters what state you're from, the more voices the better. I think if the governer's office sees that people are truly outraged everywhere he will have to change his mind.

    thanks for reading and for your help! -kate

  4. I am not from your country, but sure I support this program. Thank you for your great concern about the environment.


  5. This is horrible and another reason to support environmental groups. Why people keep thinking it is okay to trash the planet is amazing and horrible.

  6. I will sign it right now.
    I will forward it to MA friends and relatives as well.

  7. AL: thanks for your support!

    Cow: you said it!

    matthew: thanks for signing the petition and spreading the word.

    Rumor is MA DEP is working on rescinding this action, the petitions worked, the governor received well over 500 which is more than he ever gets for an environmental issue. YAY! thanks everyone!! I'll do a blog update when I have a bit more info that I'm allowed to pass around.


  8. I have heard that actual letter writing makes a huge impact. I wonder if there is a way to do this and not all die of writers cramp? Maybe I am dreaming that we could get enough people to send in actual letters, but it would be interesting to try. Count me in anyway.

  9. Oh gosh, thanks for making me aware of this. Gosh, I had no idea. How horrible. Hope it works out. Will go sign.

  10. Does that mean I'm 5 days too late to sign as well as being too far away. It's scandalous what they think they can get away with. What I will never understand is how they don't realise they are shooting themselves and their families (as well as future family) in the foot! Cross fingers for you!

  11. Bev, Bethany and Ange: SO happy that you guys are going to try to sign the petition. There is no deadline, this issue is still being thrown around and the more names the better, even if they are from far far away. I think that's good actually, international interest goes a long way! YAY! Thanks guys!!! -Kate

  12. Cassie was so cute. She was all fired up! My little girl, fighting city hall. I am so proud. She may even give Patrick a fat lip.
    Hey, is there a a flyer or something we could put on our blogs?


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