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Mystic River Watershed Association, Inc.

 20 Academy Street, Suite 306
 Arlington, MA 02476
[P] (781) 316-3438
[F] (781) 316-3435
www.mysticriver.org
[email protected]
Kimberly Provo
Facebook Twitter
INCORPORATED: 1972
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 23-7221094

LAST UPDATED: 05/25/2017
Organization DBA MyRWA
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years Yes

Summary

Mission StatementMORE »

The Mystic River Watershed is a living system full of fish and wildlife—including the second largest river herring migration in the state. The watershed includes 370 acres of open space and parks along the river that offer countless recreational opportunities. The Mystic River Watershed Association uses science, advocacy and education to ensure a vibrant, healthy and accessible environment.

Mission Statement

The Mystic River Watershed is a living system full of fish and wildlife—including the second largest river herring migration in the state. The watershed includes 370 acres of open space and parks along the river that offer countless recreational opportunities. The Mystic River Watershed Association uses science, advocacy and education to ensure a vibrant, healthy and accessible environment.


FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2016 to Dec 31, 2016
Projected Income $765,000.00
Projected Expense $765,000.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Greenways Initiative
  • Herring Monitoring and Assessment Program
  • Water Chestnut Removal Project
  • Water Quality Monitoring Program

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Overview

Mission Statement

The Mystic River Watershed is a living system full of fish and wildlife—including the second largest river herring migration in the state. The watershed includes 370 acres of open space and parks along the river that offer countless recreational opportunities. The Mystic River Watershed Association uses science, advocacy and education to ensure a vibrant, healthy and accessible environment.


Background Statement

The Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) works to transform the Mystic River Watershed into a vibrant, accessible, and healthy environment by bringing together government, municipalities, businesses and local communities. The Mystic River Watershed Association uses innovative scientific monitoring programs, effective advocacy on state and municipal levels, and volunteer engagement to restore water quality for a healthy habitat, improve residents’ lives and safety, increase economic opportunities, bring communities together, and minimize economic burdens associated with climate change, such as floods and storms.

The Mystic River Watershed, the most densely populated and urbanized watershed in New England, is home to 22 communities and over half a million residents. The environmental hazards in this region include landfills, hazardous waste sites, sewer overflows, and legacy contamination from industrial activities dating back to the 19th century. In addition, the Mystic River Watershed has more impermeable surface and less green space than any other watershed in Massachusetts.

Despite 250 years of industrial activity, the Mystic River Watershed remains a living system full of fish and wildlife, 44 lakes and ponds, acres of open space and an active river herring migration that continues each spring as it has for 10,000 years. The work of the Mystic River Watershed Association protects the entire watershed. Through its work in water quality monitoring, outreach, education, policy and advocacy, the Mystic River Watershed Association has built its reputation as a trusted partner of river users, federal and state regulators and local communities.



Impact Statement

Highlights from last year include:

  • Launched the Greenways Initiative to help create improved parklands and paths along 370 acres that line the Mystic River. Already we have helped ensure improvements to Torbert Macdonald Park—the largest riverfront park in the Greater Boston area—including newly paved paths and the removal of bittersweet as well as the commitment to build a river overlook in the spring of 2017. These short-term improvements are kicking off a larger revitalization effort which encompasses an overall park vision, public engagement and ongoing landscape management. Additionally, we have launched a volunteer stewardship program in the park that brought out 360 volunteers at six events.
  • Collected close to 2,000 data sets for water quality and worked to identify and implement potential solutions with municipalities, US Environmental Protection Agency, Mass Department of Environment and others. The good news is the Mystic River and the Mystic Lakes earned an A- water quality grade on May 31, 2016. The data is being used to plan or implement green infrastructure improvements in seven communities, as well as draw needed attention to the many tributaries that are not meeting water quality standards. We also identified additional research was needed—including a focus on public health risks in the Malden River and taking on phosphorous pollution—a growing issue for the watershed and the region.
  • Removed 95% of the invasive water chestnut in the Mystic River. Over the course of 22 events from June through September, 835 volunteers helped clean up the Mystic River. Working from canoes, volunteers removed the invasive plant, water chestnut, by hand. More than 134,800 pounds of plant material was removed from the Mystic River in Medford and Somerville as well as the Arlington Reservoir.

The Mystic River Watershed Association’s goals for the Mystic River and its communities include:

• Restoring water quality and healthy habitat.
• Protecting public health.
• Connecting people to the Mystic.
• Increasing climate resilience.

Needs Statement

  • Develop a shared stormwater education plan with at least 12 municipalities. Stormwater runoff is the water coming off impervious surfaces such as roads and parking lots after a rainfall. Through this effort, we will develop shared stormwater education materials (video public-service announcements, utility bill inserts, posters, social media campaigns) and an interactive on-line data display of all water quality information. Project budget: $73,000.

  • Complete the third year of sampling that will serve as a base to develop a comprehensive watershed plan to take on phosphorus, a growing threat to all fresh water. Phosphorus—a nutrient introduced by stormwater—causes excessive growth of invasive plants and algae, low dissolved oxygen levels that threaten fish habitat, and blooms of toxic cyanobacteria that are a threat to public health. Project budget: $90,000.
  • Advance three major waterfront open space projects from concept to design in order to make Mystic Reservation parks more accessible and pathways connected through our Greenways Initiative. Project budget: $238,000.
  • Launch the Herring Education Migration project—whereby we will use web-based technology to bring the unique herring migration into the six school districts reaching a total of 1,500 students in the first year alone. Project Budget: $119,000.
  • Recruit thousands of volunteers on the Mystic through our water chestnut eradication program, by counting herring at two local fish ladders, stewarding local parks or through public action.

CEO Statement

During my tenure, I have seen that we have an out-sized effect for a small group by harnessing the power of collaboration and innovation. My plan is to build on these two themes in the years ahead.

As collaborators, we will work with a host of partners—municipalities, agencies, universities and people on the ground (many of you). Together we will accomplish much more for the local environment than we could working alone. As innovators, we will solve problems with new solutions. Some of these innovations are in the works: our recreation flagging program powered by tiny Arduino computers; a river herring video program, streaming science to classrooms; and experiments with smart control structures to increase flood resilience in an era of climate change.

I am so excited by the opportunity this organization has to contribute to and guide the transformation of the river during these next few years. We have a seasoned staff in place, scores of volunteers interested in rolling up their sleeves, and miles of opportunity.

Please drop me a line or stop by and introduce yourself. I am very interested in the values you assign to the lakes, ponds, streams, and parks of the Mystic River watershed and how we can make the most of these resources. I am looking forward to working alongside you to continue to transform a major urban river and its watershed into the highly prized public resource it deserves to be.


Board Chair Statement

Board President’s Message

My active involvement in the Mystic River Watershed Association began in the early 1990s and as my knowledge of local conditions grew, so did my appreciation of the myriad and substantial problems confounding this most urbanized watershed in Massachusetts.  Despite these profound challenges, I see the tremendous potential for this watershed to provide a complete, rich, and vibrant ecosystem resource for the Mystic River Watershed’s half million residents – many of whom have limited options to interact with the natural world.  As a result of the work of our Association, this great potential has been more perfectly fulfilled.


Geographic Area Served

In a specific U.S. city, cities, state(s) and/or region.
GREATER BOSTON REGION, MA
The Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) was founded to restore clean water in the Mystic River Watershed in Eastern Massachusetts whose headwaters start in North Reading and end in Boston Harbor. The 22 communities served are: Arlington, Belmont, Boston (East Boston & Charlestown) Burlington, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Lexington, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Reading, Revere, Somerville, Stoneham, Wakefield, Watertown, Wilmington, Winchester, Winthrop, and Woburn.

Organization Categories

  1. Environment - Natural Resources Conservation & Protection
  2. -
  3. -

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)

No

Programs

Greenways Initiative

The Mystic River parks, trails and reservation system are a tremendous resource that could be an asset to improve the health of communities. Yet a majority of these parks lack welcoming entry points, have disconnected path systems, a limited number of features to attract people, and almost no programmed activity.

The Mystic River Watershed Association launched our Greenways Initiative, an ambitious, multi-year, multi-stakeholder effort to improve and develop the green spaces and multi-use pathways and stimulate more active use in park spaces along the Mystic. Right now we have three major projects including:

  • Torbert Macdonald Park: The Mystic River Watershed Association is co-leading the building of a river overlook, and helping ensure there is an overarching master planning process for the park renewal that includes public engagement and much needed maintenance.
  • Clippership Connector: Advance completion of a .5 miles shared-use path that will result in 10 miles of continuous pathways in a dense area that includes two local schools, Medford Center, neighborhoods and nearby transit stations.
  • Malden River Open Space Reclamation: Of the 3.5 miles of shoreline along the Malden River, less than 1 mile of it is accessible green space. We are bringing local residents to the table with developers and cities to redesign several post-industrial sites to include quality green space.
Budget  $238,000.00
Category  Environment, General/Other
Population Served General/Unspecified
Program Short-Term Success 
  • Host at least five stewardship and park events engaging hundreds individuals.
  • Advance three major waterfront, open space projects from concept to design (Tobert Macdonald Park and Clippership Connector both in Medford, MA and Malden River open space planning).
  • Convene stakeholder groups to create public/private partnerships that includes individuals, businesses, and public agencies that result in investments and expanded usage.
Program Long-Term Success 
  • Expanded access to and enjoyment of the river resulting in both a network of public stewards and improved health and well-being of 500,000 residents in 22 communities.
  • Increased mobility and viable active transportation through a connected path and parks system.
  • Improved environmental health and resiliency to climate change impacts by building riparian buffer zones that mitigate impact of storm events, provide habitat and promote biodiversity.
Program Success Monitored By  Program success is gauged by the number of projects that move from concept to design as well as number of volunteers actively involved in the stewardship efforts and the work they accomplish. We also evaluate the growth and strength of stakeholders involved in this initiative.
Examples of Program Success  The Mystic River Watershed Association recently hired a Greenways Director with years of advocacy, design and participatory planning expertise. To date, the Mystic River Watershed Association has convened stakeholders, assessed local park usage/needs and secured matching design and construction funding. Most importantly, we have received the commitment from the Commissioner at the Department of Conservation and Recreation, who manages the Mystic Reservation, to support this effort.

Herring Monitoring and Assessment Program

Annually, an estimated half a million river herring swim seven miles up the Mystic River from the sea, past some of the most densely populated land in the United States, to spawn, largely out of sight and unknown to local residents. River herring are important forage fish in marine ecosystems that have experienced dramatic population declines in recent decades due to overharvesting, loss of freshwater habitat, and other factors. The Mystic River hosts the second largest herring run in the State.

 

Through the Mystic River Herring Migration Education Project, we will connect students to this remarkable urban migration and the science behind it using video cameras, a website, data gathering, curriculum and field visits. During the first year alone—we will reach 1,500 students from six districts using inquiry-based learning to increase environmental literacy. At the center of the project will be an innovative web-based platform for river herring citizen science, for classrooms and for the public, with the goal of fostering environmental awareness and stewardship.

 

This project builds on the efforts undertaken by the Mystic River Watershed Association to improve habitat for river herring. Since 2012, the Mystic River Watershed Association runs a herring monitoring program, whereby 100 volunteers a year go out and count these fish. This data is then used to advocate for improved habitat for the fish.
Budget  $140,000.00
Category  Environment, General/Other
Population Served General/Unspecified
Program Short-Term Success  Baseline data was collected with the assistance of local volunteers. Educational “open houses” at the dam allowed community members to witness the herring migration.
Program Long-Term Success 

Increase environmental literacy, encourage behavior that will benefit the Mystic River environment and help protect the local herring population.

 

Program Success Monitored By 

The number of volunteers involved and the data collected, as well as standardized evaluation instruments to measure change in student environmental literacy and behavior

Examples of Program Success 

Since 2012, the Mystic River Watershed Association has engaged area residents to complete fish counts during the annual Mystic River herring migration. Based in part on this data, a second fish ladder has recently been installed in the watershed—thereby expanding the habitat for this fish.


Water Chestnut Removal Project

Water chestnut is an invasive plant that threatens water quality, crowds out native plants, and clogs the river for boats and paddlers. The Mystic River Watershed Association is aggressively combating water chestnuts and partnering with local environmental organizations, boat clubs, individual volunteers and corporate partners in a multi-year project that includes both volunteer hand-pulling and mechanical harvesting. The benefit of the volunteer events include both reaching the shoreline areas—where the mechanical harvester cannot reach—as well as involving community members in caring for the Mystic. We bring out close to 1,000 plus volunteers to participate in 20 plus events. Started in 2010, the program is now the most successful volunteer invasive plant management program in New England.

Budget  $70,000.00
Category  Environment, General/Other
Population Served General/Unspecified
Program Short-Term Success  This multi-year project plays an important role in retaining the recreational and aesthetic value of the river. Since 2010 we have held over a dozen removal events involving community members and local businesses, removing over 134,000 plus pounds of water chestnut.
Program Long-Term Success  The eradication of water chestnut from the Mystic River and its tributaries. Removal of water chestnut will improve water quality and habitat in the Mystic River.
Program Success Monitored By  The Water Chestnut Removal Project is monitored by percentage of water chestnuts removed, acres removed, volunteers engaged, events hosted and results from harvesting machine.
Examples of Program Success  Last year 95% of water chestnuts were removed from the Mystic River.

Water Quality Monitoring Program

Safe water for recreation and for wildlife depends on identifying potential water-quality issues and using this data to come up with shared solutions. Since 2000, the Mystic River Watershed Association has maintained a comprehensive water quality monitoring program that serves as the fundamental component of our work.

 
This monitoring data is used by municipal officials and regional planners to effectively prioritize clean-up activities and infrastructure planning, as well as by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to target enforcement action when violations of the Clean Water Act are discovered. Improved water quality is an essential component of environmental restoration in this region and the Mystic River Watershed Association serves as a consistent advocate for water quality improvement.
 
 
Budget  $185,000.00
Category  Environment, General/Other
Population Served General/Unspecified
Program Short-Term Success  Every year, the Mystic River Watershed Association runs multiple water quality programs to identify potential problem areas and develop potential solutions by sharing information with community partners. These programs include the baseline Monitoring Program, whereby teams of trained Citizen Scientists collect water samples each month at 15 predetermined locations in the watershed, as well as the latest effort to gather data on phosphorous to develop a shared plan to address this rising concern for the Mystic River due to increased nutrients and higher water temperatures.
Program Long-Term Success  We hope to see dramatic improvements in water quality in the long-term, including a fishable and swimmable Mystic River 100% of the time. The program helps to identify problem areas which we follow-up on and inform towns about recommended improvements or repairs.
Program Success Monitored By  The Mystic River Watershed Association collects all water quality testing results in a database. This information is shared regularly with partners (EPA; city/municipal partners). In May of every year the official grade on water quality for the Mystic is shared by EPA at a public event. Throughout the season, staff identify potential problem areas and works with community partners and state agencies to develop potential solutions. Any proposed solutions have tracking mechanisms to measure potential impact on water quality.
Examples of Program Success  Mystic River Watershed Association water quality data has served consistently to spur enforcement actions by the US EPA throughout the watershed. In many cases, it was water quality monitoring data that brought regulatory attention to the sources of substantial impairment of Mystic River water bodies. Most recently—our data was featured in a Boston Globe article that called for a town to clean up its stream that was polluting the River.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

In the Mystic River watershed there is an issue of equitable distribution of regional resources, with many of the lowest income, non-white and recent immigrants living in close proximity to this pollution. Despite the many years of careful scientific documentation and distribution of that information by the Mystic River Watershed Association, the conditions in these streams and rivers are among the most degraded in Massachusetts.

Despite this--there are many areas of great beauty and opportunities to improve our watershed. Through our expanded programs the Mystic River Watershed Association is making real improvements to our watershed. For this to happen though requires strong, ongoing financial support to advance efforts, and it requires many river champions. Please be the champion for our river and our community.


Management


CEO/Executive Director Mr. Patrick Herron
CEO Term Start Sept 2016
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience Patrick Herron became Executive Director of the Mystic River Watershed Association in the fall of 2016. Prior to this, he spent the last seven years as the Watershed Scientist and then Deputy Director at the Mystic River Watershed Association. During his tenure with the organization, Patrick worked with staff to initiate many new programs including the volunteer powered water chestnut removal program; a river herring monitoring program to document the importance of restoring the river and lakes to a healthy and accessible spawning ground for this unique fish; and building cutting edge water quality database that is leading to improvements to our water. He serves as the Co-Chair of US Environmental Protection Agency Mystic River Watershed Science Committee. He has a PhD from the University of Connecticut in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and completed post-doctoral research at the Rowland Institute at Harvard. In April 2012, he won the Environment Merit Award from the Environmental Protection Agency New England Region 1.
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Amber Christoffersen Greenways Director Amber is a designer and planner who has worked on active transportation, open space and affordable housing projects in the Boston area and around the country. She most recently launched and led the Emerald Network, a vision for 200 miles of seamless greenways in Metro Boston. She holds a Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Georgia and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the College of William and Mary. In her new role, she is working to make our waterfronts and parklands more beautiful and accessible.
Andy Hrycyna --

Andy joined MyRWA in April 2014. Andy comes to MyRWA from the Sustainability and Environmental Management Program at Harvard Extension School, where he completed his master’s in ecological management. Andy discovered a passion for ecology and environmental protection mid-career, after many years in non-profit book publishing. He is now charged with the myriad of water quality programs that are taking on such issues as nutrient pollution—a growing issue that can cause dangerous algal blooms.

Michelle Liebetreu Development Director Michelle joined the Mystic River Watershed Association as its first ever fundraising staff in 2016. She has been raising funds and awareness for environmental not-for-profits for the last 12 years—including at the Cloud Forest School in Monteverde Costa Rica and the Alliance for the Great Lakes in Chicago, IL. A resident of Somerville, she is excited to help her local watershed. A graduate of DePauw University in Biology and Psychology.
Beth Meserve MacBlane Outreach Director Beth began working at MyRWA in June 2009, prior to which she had earned an M.S. in environmental studies with a concentration in environmental education at Antioch University New England. She received her B.A. in environmental studies and anthropology at Tufts University, where she volunteered with MA Community Water Watch as the education coordinator. Her professional experience comprises various educational and community organizing endeavors including four years of work with the National Park Service as an interpretive park ranger. As the Outreach Director she provides education to thousands of individuals every year—engaging them in caring for and stewarding their watershed.

Awards

Award Awarding Organization Year
Social Innovator Social Innovation Forum 2015
Education and Public Service Award Board of Directors of the Universities Council on Water Resources 2014
Emerald Award City of Medford, Massachusetts 2013
Environmental Merit Award United States Environmental Protection Agency 2012
Excellence in Capturing Local Knowledge MAPC Data Day 2012
Go Green Award, Outstanding Contribution to Environmental Protection City of Cambridge, Massachusetts 2012
Certificate of Appreciation - Adopt your Watershed US Environmental Protection Agency 1997
Urban River Stewardship American Rivers 1996
Adopt a Stream Program Department of Fisheries, Wildlife & Environmental Law Enforcement 1995
"In Recognition of Thier Outstanding Efforts to Protect and Restore the Mystic River, Its Tributaries, Habitats and Natural Resources.'" Altria 1993

Affiliations

Affiliation Year
River Network 2009
Member of state association of nonprofits? Yes
Name of state association Massachusetts Nonprofit Network

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --

Collaborations

Arlington Chamber of Commerce
Charlestown Waterfront Coalition
Chelsea Green Roots
Conservation Law Foundation
Clean Water Action
Environmental League of Massachusetts
River Network
Friends of Spy Pond
Friends of Belle Isle Marsh
Friends of Middlesex Fells
Friends of Malden River
Friends of Mystic River
Groundwork Somerville
Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Massachusetts Rivers Alliance
Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
MIT
Mystic River Steering Committee
Tufts University
Toxic Action Center
University of Massachusetts - Boston
US Environmental Protection Agency
United States Geologic Survey

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The Mystic River Watershed Association requires strong, ongoing financial support to advance new efforts to improve water quality and restore a healthy natural environment in the Mystic River. Building upon many years of careful scientific documentation the Mystic River Watershed Association intends in to expand outreach and education programs to the general public and decision leaders, strengthen resident advocacy and promote collaborative action that will yield improvements in water quality, habitat and safe opportunities for recreation. 

Our organization continues to help find solutions to complex environmental problems. After more than forty years the Mystic River Watershed Association is proud of its efforts to fulfill the aspirations of the residents of the Mystic River Watershed for a healthy local environment. 

 

Foundation Comments

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Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 5
Number of Part Time Staff 1
Number of Volunteers 1,200
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 100%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 6
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 4
Male: 2
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Management Succession Plan --
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes
State Registration --

Risk Management Provisions

--

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually

Governance


Board Chair Mr, John Reinhardt
Board Chair Company Affiliation Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Board Chair Term Oct 2016 - Oct 2018
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Shannon Ames Low Impact Hydropower Institute Voting
Joshua Boyce COO Africa Impact Group/BeCause Water Inc Voting
Caroline Broderick Partners in Health Voting
Debbi Edelstein New England Wild Flower Society Executive Director Voting
Michael Fager Attorney at Law Voting
Karen Grossman President, Friends of Spy Pond Park Voting
Mark Jacobson General Manager, Charles River Canoe & Kayak Voting
Lori Kennedy Engineer for VHB Voting
Alex LaCroix Coldwell Banker Real Estate Agent Voting
Michael O'Brien Retired US EPA employee Voting
John Reinhardt Retired/Formerly Branch Chief at MA DEP Voting
Bindi Tuli community volunteer Voting
Minka vanBeuzekom Cambridge City Councilor 2012-2013, Coldwall Banker Real Estate Agent Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 1
Caucasian: 12
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 7
Male: 6
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % 90%
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No

Standing Committees

  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Finance
  • Nominating
  • Strategic Planning / Strategic Direction

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

To address the need for greater capacity, the Mystic River Watershed Association has expanded professional staff from 2.5 to 5 full time positions and has increased the annual budget by 300%. The Mystic River Board also institutionalized more rigorous budget and accounting programs and developed and executed an effective five-year strategic plan. Lastly, while board governance is strong, more must be done at the Board level to guide the institution forward and to strengthen fundraising to meet the expanded budget.

Foundation Comments

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Financials


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2016 to Dec 31, 2016
Projected Income $765,000.00
Projected Expense $765,000.00
Form 990s

2015 990

2014 990

2013 990

2012 990

2011 990

2010 990

2009 990

2008 990

2007 990

Audit Documents

2015 Audit

2013 Review

2012 Review

2011 Review

2010 Audit

2009 Review

2008 Review

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Total Revenue $765,450 $383,672 $499,098
Total Expenses $573,506 $474,852 $514,223

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $80,827 $32,598 $37,301
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified $80,827 $32,598 $37,301
Individual Contributions $596,955 $285,356 $409,234
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue -- -- --
Investment Income, Net of Losses $79 $242 $256
Membership Dues $56,387 $39,119 $29,404
Special Events $29,723 $17,245 $22,183
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other $1,479 $9,112 $720

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Program Expense $405,238 $351,231 $474,695
Administration Expense $113,682 $86,027 $19,563
Fundraising Expense $54,586 $37,594 $19,965
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.33 0.81 0.97
Program Expense/Total Expenses 71% 74% 92%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 8% 11% 4%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Total Assets $513,828 $278,770 $355,844
Current Assets $494,933 $251,543 $333,974
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $92,179 $26,471 $12,365
Total Net Assets $421,649 $252,299 $343,479

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy Income Only
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line Yes
Reserve Fund Yes
How many months does reserve cover? 4.00

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 5.37 9.50 27.01

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

--

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above is per the organization's IRS Form 990s. 

Documents


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.

Impact

The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.


1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

As the most urbanized watershed in New England covering 76 square miles, success for the Mystic River Watershed Association is defined as:

  • Rivers, lakes and streams that host abundant healthy fish and wildlife habitat.
  • Well-designed and accessible parks that allow pedestrians and bicyclists to move easily and safely in connected spaces along the waterfront.
  • Opportunities for safe boating and swimming for the 500,000 watershed residents.
  • All local, state, regional and national stakeholders – from local municipalities to federal regulators – take seriously and ambitiously their role as stewards of the watershed, and value and invest in its future.

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

Our strategies for achieving the goals, as outlined in the strategic plan (2015-2020), are as follows:

I. RESTORE WATER QUALITY AND HEALTHY HABITAT.  Clean water is key to a healthy watershed and a diverse and robust river ecology.
  1. Document water quality conditions, trends and indicators of watershed health using best scientific practice.
  2. Educate and collaborate with stakeholders and our communities using data.
  3. Identify, prioritize and implement shared projects to address water quality issues with a large focus on reducing nutrient pollution and habitat restoration opportunities.
II. PROTECT PUBLIC HEALTH. Urban waterways may be contaminated and can pose a health risk to people who use them; while the urban parklands provide an opportunity to improve health outcomes for residents.
  1. Identify sources and levels of contamination of waterbodies through scientific investigation.
  2. Advocate for full enforcement of all regulations regarding discharges to Mystic River waterbodies.
  3. Create opportunities for physical activity and active transportation in Mystic greenspaces to improve health outcomes.
  4. Inform the public about water quality issues that affect public health.
III. CONNECT PEOPLE TO THE MYSTIC. Engaging people in the life of the River is important for the health of the environment and community members.
  1. Develop and improve green spaces and multi-use pathways along the Mystic.
  2. Engage public stewards through volunteer efforts and advocacy.
  3. Encourage recreational boating and active use of parks and pathways through expanded programming, communications and advocacy.

IV. INCREASE CLIMATE RESILIENCE. Climate change is a major issue facing all communities and finding mitigation solutions is essential for our watershed and our communities.

  1. Assess watershed vulnerability to a changing climate.
  2. Evaluate and prioritize climate change adaptation strategies including expanding active transportation (walking/biking).
  3. Be a leading participant in public conversations about climate change adaptation


3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

Established in 1972, the Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) achieves out-sized influence in environmental management by partnering closely and receiving substantial support from a wide range of state and federal agencies, including US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), United States Geological Survey (USGS), Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA). These partners use the data we gather to inform their regulatory actions and priorities.

Beyond our agency partners, MyRWA leverages private-public partnerships to make on-the-ground improvements to parks and local infrastructure. We also have a long history of engaging community members and yearly we mobilize 1,500 plus community members to protect their local watershed. This includes participating in the Mystic River Herring Run and Paddle, through our on-the-ground and in-the-water invasive removal programs, as well as the herring monitoring program.

With a staff of six and a board of directors of 13—there is expertise in financial management, environmental protection, ecology, community organizing, law, fundraising, planning and design, education and outreach. On the budget front, the Mystic River Watershed Association has been steadily growing and diversifying its income streams to meet programmatic goals. During the last five years, the Mystic River Watershed Association has managed more than a million dollars in government grants to improve our River, and has grown the budget to $900,000.


4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

The Mystic River Watershed Association will use the following quantitative measures (not a full list) to help measure progress in achieving its strategic goals (2015 to 2020):
  • Collect and analyze samples every month at 15 baseline sites to continue our 17-year effort to monitor conditions and generate an annual water quality report card.
  • Collect and analyze water quality samples to study the effects of nutrients from urban runoff with the goal of ultimately reducing the frequency of dangerous algal blooms, curbing invasive plants and restoring the ecological functions of the river.
  • Track and increase the number of green infrastructure best management practices installed in the watershed.
  • Complete 16 of the 20 miles of greenways, and improve 68 acres of parklands.
  • Remove invasive plants from land and water by engaging at least 1,000 volunteers per year.
  • Students in ten school districts learning about their local watershed and the herring migration through effective place-based education.
  • Incorporate best practices for coastal resiliency planning through the completion of a pilot project in the watershed.
  • Grow individual giving by 25%.
Additionally, each year, the Mystic River Watershed Association, measures the amount of invasive plants removed from the parklands and river, the progress of our advocacy targets, and the growth of our volunteer and membership programs. Each of our initiatives and programs has a staff member to manage and track progress, as well as thorough oversight from the Board of Directors.

5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

Our progress toward goals include:
  • Completing a recreational flagging program—that will inform recreational users of safe and unsafe conditions for boating and swimming.
  • In third year of water quality collection to create a model plan for reducing nutrient pollution in the Mystic.
  • Building strong relationships—to address water quality through green infrastructure improvements.
  • Advancing three Greenways projects from idea to implementation that will open pathways and revitalize parks.
  • Hosted 31 events in 2016 that connected people to their Mystic.Engaging 2,000 individuals in 2016 through park stewardship and activities.
  • Launching river herring education in 2017—to bring place-based education about the Mystic and herring to six local school districts in year one alone.
  • Launching pilot project to test the use of local ponds to prevent flooding due to climate change.