Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The most excellent news! Mass. DEP rescinds safe yield decision!

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:


  1. This is wonderful news! It sure makes me feel better to know that some things can be fought and changed for the better, when we all try together. Thanks for your part in this, Kate. Your efforts did make a difference...

  2. Yay! Great job spreading the news Kate.

  3. Congratulations on the victory. It was worth all the effort.

  4. That is sooo cool Kate! I believe that here are still a lot of people concerned about the environment, and sometimes they just need to be reminded. On Sunday I will join a 5K marathon to rehab a river. Wish me luck!


  5. You're such an awesome do-gooder! Yay, Kate! Yay, rivers!

  6. Thanks everyone! Most of the credit for this reversal goes to the hard working watershed associations around Massachusetts who personally met with the governor and he listened! Yay!

    AL: WOW! you are my hero for running a 5Kto rehab a river! I'm not much of a runner so I salute you! good luck on Sunday!

    Thanks again everyone! I'm feeling a lot of love right now :) -Kate

  7. Hooray! That's great news!

  8. Every once in a while you win one. Thank goodness or our planet would be even worse than it is now.

    Good hooray!

  9. Are you trying to tell me that we CAN fight city hall?

  10. Emily: it is excellent news, but the battle is not over, just delayed until they come up with a new number, lets hope it's a conservative one!

    TC: gotta keep winning these little battles, they do add up!

    matthew: yes we can fight city hall. the world is one giant private beach and we all demand access and conservation at the same time. the tragedy of the commons lives on.

  11. Kate - thanks for your excellent post and for spreading the word. The success of this was really due to everyone who called and sent in petitions - I hear that the Governor's office received at least 750 letters and calls! Awesome.

  12. Jess: the petitioners may have grabbed the governor's attention but you guys were the rock stars to actually seal the deal! As you can see there were some pretty happy people around the country, and the world (one of these comments came from the Philippines), when they heard this news.


I LOVE comments!