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Locals Receive Environmental Awards from the Gulf of Maine Council
December 15, 1995
On December 15, the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment announced that the Neponset River Watershed Association (NepRWA) and Stephen Greene of the Polaroid Corporation are Environmental Visionary Award winners. These two were recognized for their deep commitment to environmental protection and are among ten Visionary Award Winners selected by the Council.
The NepRWA received the award because it serves as an excellent example of a successful urban "adopt a stream program," which focuses on the connection between the health of the river and the sources of contamination from the land uses around the river. The NepRWA established six "Stream Teams" to cover different sections of the river and schools, volunteers, boy scouts, and civic organizations are all actively involved with the Stream Teams. Each Stream Team surveys its section of the river and identifies problems, assets, and priorities for action. They then develop an Action Plan that outlines an approach to address these priority issues. The Stream Teams have accomplished a great deal, including: establishing a water quality monitoring program run by high school students, reducing bacteria counts by 50 percent in a section of the river by repairing a damaged sewer, and increasing community involvement.
The Neponset Estuary is one of two remaining salt marshes in Boston Harbor and provides critical fishery and wildlife habitat. Because of the estuary's environmental importance, the NepRWA nominated the Neponset River Estuary as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). In March, Secretary Trudy Coxe formally designated the Neponset River Estuary as an ACEC, which establishes special protection and management status for this environmentally rich region.
"Ever since our President, Ellen Anderson, attended the Gulf of Maine Conference last year in Wolfeville, Nova Scotia, she has taken the Gulf of Maine watershed concept to heart. She emphasizes to the Stream Teams that what happens to the Neponset affects the Gulf of Maine. It is wonderful to be recognized for making this connection and working on a local level to help the Gulf," explained Ian Cooke, Executive Director of the NepRWA when asked about the award.
"I couldn't be more excited to see the Neponset River Watershed Association and Stephen Greene receive this prestigious award for their efforts to protect coastal resources in Massachusetts and the Gulf of Maine," commented Trudy Coxe, Secretary of the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs and member of the Gulf of Maine Council. "Environmental activism on behalf of the Gulf of Maine citizens, businesses, and nonprofit groups is vital to the success of the Gulf of Maine program," she continued.
Stephen Greene, who is the Corporate Environmental Manager of the Health, Safety, and Environmental Affairs Department at Polaroid, received the award for the great strides in environmental reporting, policy, and management that Polaroid has taken under his leadership. Mr. Greene is extremely active in environmental issues. For example, he: chairs the Massachusetts Bays Program's Business and Resource Users' Group; is a founding member and serves on the Board of Directors and Advisory Committee for WasteCap of Massachusetts, an organization that provides peer counseling for businesses looking to enhance their waste reduction and recycling plans; and chairs the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority Wastewater Advisory Committee.
"I am honored and very appreciative for being recognized for doing what I consider to be part of my job as a corporate environmental manager," expressed Mr. Greene. "We all have a responsibility to understand the impact of our work and daily activities on the environment, and particularly how those activities affect water quality in our area, as well as the quality of the water in the receiving water in watersheds. It is by paying attention to the details that we can take a holistic, watershed view."
The Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment is an international body brought together to
foster cross-border cooperation among government, academic, and private groups. The goal of the Council is
to develop and implement a sustainable management strategy for the Gulf, which extends from Nantucket to
Cape Sable, Nova Scotia. Public and private representatives from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine,
New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia oversee the Gulf of Maine Program and its activities in marine monitoring,
habitat protection, public education, and pollution prevention.