Rep. Capuano Announces National Park Service Partnership to Protect the Mystic River Watershed

January 22, 2001 -- Congressman Mike Capuano announced that the National Park Service is assisting the Mystic River Watershed Association in protecting and promoting the Mystic River and its watershed. The announcement took place at Draw Seven Park in Somerville.

"The time has come to renew our concern for the Mystic River, an important but underutilized resource. City dwellers need greenways that provide respite and recreation. We must protect and restore these precious resources. I am pleased to announce this partnership and believe that it will make the Mystic River more accessible and more appealing," stated Rep. Capuano.

According to the National Park Service, this partnership is one of 40 projects in New England and New York that will receive technical assistance through the Rivers and Trails Program. The Mystic River Watershed is one of only four projects selected this year in Massachusetts. "I am delighted to receive news of this partnership between the Mystic River Watershed Association and the National Park Service. Somerville's only waterfront must be preserved for future generations to enjoy and appreciate. Thanks to Congressman Capuano and the National Park Service, the chances are great for full watershed protection," stated Somerville Mayor Dorothy Kelly Gay.

"The Mystic River is a treasured natural resource that has been largely inaccessible to area residents for far too long. The City of Chelsea welcomes a partnership that will enhance the river's environment and provide better access to communities that border it. The City of Chelsea is grateful for the leadership of Congressman Capuano and the National Park Service," stated Chelsea City Manager Jay Ash.

The Mystic River Watershed Association has advocated to protect and restore the natural resources in the basin's 21 communities for the past 30 years. It is the only grassroots membership organization with a watershed-wide focus. The Arlington-based private non-profit organization works to improve water quality, reduce flooding, increase recreational opportunities and protect wildlife and their habitat.

"The Mystic River Watershed Association and its many partner organizations have a great vision for restoring and protecting the river and we are pleased to be able to assist them. This year we will help the Association with improving specific greenway connections and with creative ways to increase community awareness of the need for watershed protection," said Charles Tracy, Massachusetts director of the National Park Service Rivers & Trails program.

In the last ten years, the National Park Service Rivers & Trails program has helped more than 20 communities in Massachusetts coordinate and develop locally-based conservation projects without the use of federal management of ownership. Rivers & Trails helps communities set goals and achieve tangible results in the management and conservation of significant recreation resources.