MyRWA to concentrate on climate change, adaptation

Chelsea Record by Staff

On the heels of record-setting flood events in January and March 2018, the Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) announced today that it is updating its core mission and resources to help municipalities manage the extreme weather associated with climate change.

“Slowing down climate change is all about managing energy,” said Patrick Herron, MyRWA’s executive director.  “Adapting to climate change is all about managing water—both flooding and drought.  Water is something that we have thought about for over four decades.”

The Mystic River watershed spans 21 cities and towns from Woburn through Revere.  This spring, MyRWA staff met with nearly fifty state and local stakeholders to best understand how a regional watershed association could help municipalities become more resilient to flooding, drought and heat.

“We heard over and over from cities and towns that they can’t manage flooding from just within their municipal boundaries,” explained Herron. “Stormwater flooding in Medford for example, has its origins in upstream communities.  Coastal storms below the Amelia Earhart Dam threaten both New England’s largest produce distribution center and Logan Airport’s jet fuel supply.”

“We’re concerned about the neighborhoods and residents living in the shadows of massive petroleum storage tanks and other industries which are projected to be severely impacted by climate change.  When the flood waters and chemicals reach homes, how will our communities be protected?” asked Roseann Bongiovanni, executive director of GreenRoots in Chelsea.  “We’ve seen neighborhoods in Louisiana, Puerto Rico and Houston be decimated.  Chelsea and East Boston could be next.”

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Chelsea Record

Thanks to GreenRoots’ and widespread outcry over the increased commute times during Bridge construction projects, the MBTA is now allowing Charlie Cards to be used to board the commuter rail from Chelsea.

Chelsea Greenroots Annual Meeting Sunset Boat Cruise

Chelsea Record by Record Staff

Chelsea GreenRoots held its Annual Meeting and Sunset Cruise on Boston Harbor on June 19.


Two-hundred-and-fifteen passengers boarded the boat, “Freedom,” at Cabot’s Landing, 201 Marginal St., adjacent to GreenRoots’ office. The group enjoyed refreshments and musical entertainment on board while celebrating the many accomplishments of the organization that is led by Executive Director Roseann Bongiovanni, a former Chelsea city councilor.

GreenRoots is a community-based organization working to achieve: environmental justice, waterfront access, youth leadership on environmental justice concerns, improved public health, air and water quality, climate resiliency, greater open, green space, and urban agriculture and food justice.

In its two-year existence under Bongiovanni’s impressive leadership and management, GreenRoots has applied for and successfully received awards such the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Award on behalf of the entire city of Chelsea. MGH Chelsea collaborated with GreenRoots in the application process.

GreenRoots was selected 2018 Social innovator at the Social Innovation Forum.


Other accomplishments are:

  • Expanded community organizing efforts to the East Boston community along the Chelsea Creek
  • Engaged more than 100 youths through the Chelsea Creek Youth Assembly and monthly meetings.
  • Fundraised $58,00 to revitalize the Chelsea Walk on Broadway in downtown Chelsea.
  • Managed and expanded the youth pass program in Chelsea and East Boston, providing access to affordable public transit to hundreds of Chelsea and East Boston youths.
  • Organized and successfully received transit mitigation to Chelsea residents, who will be able to ride the Commuter Rail for free during one year of the MassDOT construction period.
  • Awarded a $75,000 grant to conduct a feasibility study for an energy microgrid in Chelsea. A microgrid in Chelsea would prepare us for the increasing threats of climate disasters.
  • Engaged residents in a visioning process and secured funding for an urban farm.