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Bridging Data and Education Gaps in the Merrimack River

Funding for this project was provided by MassBays to the Merrimack River Watershed Council (2020)

About the project

Large volumes of combined sewer overflow (CSO) discharge untreated sewage and stormwater every year into the Merrimack River (800 million gallons in 2018), the largest freshwater source into Massachusetts Bay. The lower part of the river is home to numerous estuarine habitats and species and supports many recreational and commercial activities that are increasingly threatened.

With so much at stake, elected officials, municipalities, and environmental groups have launched various initiatives in recent years to address the many challenges of these 303(d) impaired waters. Recognizing the need for a concerted effort, the Merrimack River Watershed Council (MRWC) is taking the initiative to implement a monitoring program over the next few years. 

Data on water quality and bacteria in the lower Merrimack River will provide critical information for management actions to address CSOs and other discharges in the area and identify the best ways to restore important habitats. Monitoring and educational engagement will be focused in four municipalities- Newburyport, Newbury, Salisbury, and Amesbury, where  educational engagements.

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