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Principles adopted by
the Mystic River Watershed Association Board of
in fall of 2003

The Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) Policy Committee proposes the following management principles that will embody watershed-wide policy for the MyRWA.  It is the understanding of the Policy Committee that MyRWA will act upon issues in the watershed in a way that is consistent with these principles.

For example, projects in MEPA review will be reviewed for consistency with these management principles and MyRWA may recommend alternatives or changes to projects in order to achieve consistency with the management principles.

As stewards of the Mystic River Watershed’s surface water and groundwater, MyRWA will advocate for and support federal, state, and local projects and initiatives that aim to:

Water and Sediment Quality

1.      Protect water and sediment quality and rehabilitate impacted water-bodies within the watershed.

2.      Eliminate or remediate point-source discharges in the watershed that contribute to degraded water and sediment quality with respect to bacteria, nutrients, and other pollutants, especially those discharges that threaten public health. 

3.      Eliminate all Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) discharges in the watershed. 

4.      Implement BMPs on undeveloped, developed lands, and future projects through the watershed in order to minimize nonpoint source pollution to water bodies.

5.      Eliminate/remediate historical industrial pollutant sources in the watershed.

Water Quantity

1.       “Reclaim” permeable surfaces on already-developed lands.

2.      Assist communities in establishing policy mechanisms such as stormwater utility districts to address water quantity problems.




1.      Recognize that the watershed is comprised of both human and non-human elements, that these elements are interdependent, and that each has intrinsic value.


2.      Establish, protect, and restore viable nature reserves, including wild lands and aquatic areas, maintain biodiversity, promote the recovery of endangered species and ecosystems, and preserve our natural heritage.


3.      Control and eradicate non-native organisms potentially harmful to native species and the environment, and prevent introduction of such harmful organisms.

4.      Protect resource areas including surface waters, wetlands, and riparian corridors for their important role as natural habitats.

5.      Ensure that activities in the watershed do not further wetland degradation but instead take advantage of opportunities to engage in wetland restoration.

6.      Work to increase anadromous fish passage and spawning habitat in the watershed.

Public Access

1.      Improve public access to, linkage between, and awareness of water-dependent recreation sites especially car-top boating access.

2.      Alleviate auto traffic and parking problems through expansion of public transportation.

3.      Increase capacity of existing recreation areas by facilitating multiple use and by improving management, maintenance and public support facilities.

4.      Encourage acquisition of new public areas for recreational activities.

Land Use & Growth Management

1.      Obtain the widest possible public benefit from any development.

2.      Encourage the revitalization and enhancement of existing development centers.

3.      Encourage local participation in proposed developments that are beneficial to the watershed.

4.      Adopt at all levels sustainable development plans and regulations that make environmental conservation and rehabilitation integral to all development initiatives.

5.      Apply a precautionary approach when scientific knowledge is limited. 

6.      Ensure that decision-making addresses the cumulative, long-term, and indirect consequences of human activities.

7.      Preserve and manage open space and greenways for the enjoyment of the public while protecting our natural resources.

Outreach & Education

1.      Promote visitation and on-site education of important watershed features.

2.      Transmit to future generations values, traditions, and institutions that support the long-term flourishing of the watershed’s human and ecological communities.

3.      Provide all, especially children and youth, with educational opportunities that empower them to appreciate and contribute actively to watershed health.

4.      Promote through the arts and humanities environmental education and awareness.

5.      Enhance the awareness of watershed issues through the mass media.

6.      Engage the private sector to address watershed issues.

Environmental Justice

1.      Promote equitable access to clean water, clean air, and uncontaminated soil and sediments.

2.      Address communities impacted unduly by environmental risks.

3.      Uphold the right of all stakeholders to receive clear and timely information on all environmental matters.

4.      Promote the meaningful participation of all interested individuals and organizations in decision making.