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On Wednesday, March 22, Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) honored public officials, environmental advocates and volunteers at their 51st Annual Meeting. Bob Perciasepe, former U.S. EPA Deputy Administrator, delivered the keynote address outlining paths forward for environmental policy and action. Over 120 people attended the awards ceremony and dinner.
In his keynote address, Perciasepe, president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), an internationally recognized think tank, discussed the possible effects of the current administration’s stance on the environment. Perciasepe acknowledged that environmental protections could be rolled back at the federal level, but said continued strong support for environmental action at the state and local level, combined with robust citizen advocacy like the kind CRWA champions, can help keep momentum moving forward. He also noted the strong support for clean energy and efficiency in the business community, and said business leadership will be crucial to progress addressing climate change.
“We’ve built a strong foundation of environmental action, by cities, states, and businesses, that we can—and must—continue to build on in the years ahead,” Perciasepe said. “At all levels, I see avenues for progress because of the environmental and economic benefits sustainability brings.”
During the award ceremony, CRWA recognized the hard work of environmental activists and volunteers. CRWA honored citizen scientist volunteers who have participated in its water sampling program for 10, 15 and 20 years. CRWA’s volunteer water quality monitoring program is one of the oldest and largest volunteer sampling programs in the country. Once a month volunteers collect water samples, measure depth and temperature and record river conditions at 35 sites along the river and its tributaries. For 20 years of service CRWA honored Barbara Meyer of Medfield and John Thurston of Westwood. Kent Fox of Wellesley, Dianne Rice of Cambridge and Karen Tracey of Walpole were honored for volunteering for 15 years. CRWA honored Michele Forte-Cruz of Newton, Christina Gasbarro of Wrentham, Raymond Harpin of Franklin, Emilie Kaden of Newton, and Shirley Parish of Natick for 10 years of volunteer service.
CRWA awarded Cathie Zusy of Cambridge with the Citizen Activist Award for catalyzing the restoration project at Magazine Beach. John P. Sullivan, Chief Engineer at Boston Water and Sewer Commission was awarded the Public Official Award for his works’ contribution to the improved health of the Charles River and his longtime support of CRWA’s work. CRWA awarded its top award, the Anne M. Blackburn Award, to Nigel B. Pickering, formerly of Charles River Watershed Association and the Horsley Witten Group, for his dedicated career protecting the Charles River through engineering.
CRWA held its annual meeting on World Water Day, the theme of which, “Why Wastewater?”, explores how wastewater can be reduced and reused. This theme connects with CRWA’s research on recycling wastewater into energy, compost and reclaimed water in urban centers. In conjunction with World Water Day, CRWA announced the upcoming release of “Transformation: Water Infrastructure for a Sustainable Future,” a short book that details this research. To learn more about this critical work, visit www.charlesriver.org/smart-sewering. Books can be ordered at www.charlesriver.org/shop.