Groundwork Somerville staffs the Mystic River Urban Waters Federal Partnership, a network of federal agencies, state agencies, municipalities, and community organizations dedicated to improving river access and water quality in the Mystic River watershed. The Mystic River and its tributaries, including the Malden River, Aberjona River, Chelsea Creek, and Alewife Brook, have a long history of industrial uses. In addition, many parts of the river are cut off from its surrounding communities; in Somerville, Route 93 and other major roads act as barriers between neighborhoods and the river. And because of the urbanized nature of much of the watershed, neighborhoods along the river are vulnerable to flooding, especially as climate change leads to heavier rainfall and sea level rise.
In partnership with EPA's Urban Waters program, the Mystic River Watershed Association, and dozens of other partners, Groundwork Somerville is working to make connections between local communities and a cleaner, healthier, more resilient Mystic river.
In 2015 and 2016, Groundwork Somerville co-hosted Canoemobile, a youth paddling program that introduced Somerville students to the river firsthand. Canoemobile was supported by federal partners, including the National Park Service, EPA, and the US Forest Service.
From 2010-2012, Groundwork Somerville, Mystic River Watershed Association, and other partners conducted an intensive effort to remove Eurasian water chestnut from the Lower Mystic River, supported by a grant from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust. Learn more about the Mystic River Invasives Removal Project.
In 2009, the City of Somerville was awarded funding from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust to develop the Blueback Herring River Route. Partnering organizations include Groundwork Somerville, the Mystic River Watershed Association, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, and the Somerville Arts Council. Learn more about the Blueback Herring River Route, and see the finished map and brochure.