Charlesgate Alliance Muddy River Committee Partners with DCR to Clean Up Muddy River

Chairs, shoes, two BPD barriers, a computer monitor, bicycle helmets, and 17 softballs—these are just some of the things that were found in the stretch of the Middy River Between the Turnpike and Storrow Drive on Monday. The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) brought in New England Disposal Technologies (NEDT), who brought in SOLitude Lake Management. They provided a harvesting machine to clear the thick layer of trash off of the top of the river.

The DCR usually cleans the trash out of the river once a year, but this year they invited the Charlesgate Alliance Muddy River Committee, under the leadership of Caroline Reeves, to be there. Reeves and the Committee have been looking at ways to clean up the Muddy River and improve the water quality, and partnering with DCR is the first step in the process.

“It’s time for people to step up and help take care of this urban resource,” Reeves said. She said she is excited about the partnership with DCR and learning how to clean the water.

Almost a dozen people came out on Monday to cheer and show their support, despite the cold, rainy weather. “I think it was a fabulous success,” Reeves said. “We were waving, singing songs” of joy that the trash was being essentially raked off of the water, she added.

Reeves said that during the cleanup, a red-tail hawk showed up—a reminder that the park isn’t just for humans. It’s also being cleaned up for “our really superb wildlife,” she said. There are lots of turtles and birds who live near the Muddy River and cleaning the water will create a healthier habitat for them.

Because of the phragmites that are currently in the water, the machine is only good at scooping things off of the surface. As part of Phase 2 of the Muddy River Flood Damage Reduction Project, these phragmites are set to be removed, which will make future trash removal easier.

Unfortunately, there is no real way to prevent the trash from moving downstream to this area of the river, but the Charlesgate Alliance Muddy River Committee is really looking at how they can get onto the river more often to get rid of it, which this partnership with DCR will allow.

“The important part for us is that it’s the beginning of a real partnership with DCR to work with them to clean up the Muddy,” Reeves said. “The long term goal is to improve the water quality of the Muddy River, and this is the first step in the right direction towards doing that.”

Reeves said that they are also beginning to gather stakeholders along the bank of the river to see how the actual quality of water can be improved once the trash is more under control.

“It’s a more lasting solution to clean the water itself,” Reeves said.

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