In 1965, a group of concerned citizens formed Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) in response to public concern about the declining condition of the Charles River. CRWA is one of the country’s oldest watershed organizations and has figured prominently in major cleanup and protection efforts. Since our earliest days of advocacy, we have worked with government officials and citizen groups from 35 Massachusetts watershed towns from Hopkinton to Boston. Today, the Charles is once again a living river—and a living river in the heart of a city is a glorious thing, connecting people to nature and enriching lives. Over fifty years of progress by CRWA has transformed the “Dirty Water” of the past to a “Clean Charles.” We celebrate that hard-won victory. The Charles we all cherish depends on relentless loving vigilance—and that is our full time job. We are proud to have delivered “the cleanest urban river in America.” But, for a river intertwined with 80 miles of bustling cities and towns, “clean” is not an endpoint, it’s a verb—and it’s still our unwavering mission. We humbly recognize the Massachuset, Wampanoag, and Nipmuc Nations, as our work is carried out across their traditional territory, and we acknowledge them as the past, present and future caretakers of this land.
CRWA’s mission is to protect, restore and enhance the Charles River and its watershed through science, advocacy and the law.