A very very big thank you to all of you who signed the petition to alert Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to the idiotic decision of MassDEP setting safe yield water withdrawal levels at a point where many of Massachusetts' rivers could get pumped dry. Initially I thought Gov. Patrick was behind this horrible decision, but when I heard the whole story apparently he was very upset and was able to take action to reverse it.
Just yesterday Mass DEP posted this on their website:
"MassDEP suspends the safe yield interpretation and determinations that were announced in October 2009. MassDEP clarifies and explains that its interpretation of the term safe yield under the Water Management Act includes environmental protection factors, including ecological health of river systems, as well as hydrologic factors. MassDEP will work with stakeholders to quickly develop interim safe yield determinations based on this interpretation that will be used in WMA permitting on a short term basis."
Basically that legal jibberish means that they have to determine safe yield based on many factors including environmental ones, which they claimed last month were no longer a factor. In the Water Managment Act they themselves wrote, which was upheld in court a few years ago, environmental factors were listed in their safe yield policy. So they were caught red-faced to say the least.
What will happen in the meantime? According to the Ipswich River Watershed website :
"DEP will re-determine the safe yields of all the river basins in Massachusetts within a year, and will include aquatic habitat protection factors in the evaluation. DEP will also work with the other state agencies and stakeholders to develop a sustainable allocation methodology that will include standards for more effective protection of ecological values"
I will keep you updated, but again a big thanks for reading, signing and your concern. The governor received a record number of signatures on this issue. This means fish won't die and the recovering herring run will be allowed to recover. And, hopefully this will mean that next summer the river that flows a few feet from my house will look like this:
and not like this:
Santa Justa Lift
11 hours ago