River Stewardship Awards will be made on Friday, June 22 as part of RiverFest, a weekend long celebration of the Sudbury, Concord, and Assabet rivers. The 2012 RiverFest will be held on Saturday and Sunday, June 23 and 24, 2011. More information on RiverFest is available at http://www.sudbury-assabet-concord.org/
Winners of the 2010 River Stewardship Awards:
Jane Calvin, Executive Director of Lowell Parks and Conservation Trust, is honored for her numerous endeavors to preserve and restore the Concord River in Lowell, one of the City's hidden jewels. Bringing together vibrant and diverse neighborhoods, Jane has instilled a sense of stewardship in the City residents. She has successfully created the Concord River Greenway, a public linear park in downtown Lowell and initiated many other partnership efforts to engage youth in protection of the River.
Alan Bragg contributes his energies to trail maintenance in Bedford and at the Concord Impoundments of the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Alan's efforts have helped to create a connected network of trails between the Town and the Refuge, an asset that all are able to enjoy. Alan has also enhanced accessibility to Two Brother's Rock, one of the historic sites along the Concord River.
Dr. Bryan Windmiller is passionate about ecology generally and the Blanding Turtle specifically, and he is sharing that enthusiasm with students in Concord, Carlisle and Sudbury. Bryan created the Headstarting Program for Blanding Turtles, in which young hatchling turtles are raised by students and then released into the natural environment with a greater chance of survival. The Headstarting Program allows students to be an integral part of real hand's on research, with a result of increasing science literacy and instilling an appreciation of the natural environment.
Nathanial Marden's love of Fairhaven Bay on the Sudbury River has been his inspiration to do all he can to fight the invasive Water Chestnut plant. In his role as property manager for Concord Land Conservation Trust, as well as large contributions of his own time, Nat has worked with US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Towns of Concord and Lincoln to operate a harvester in the Bay. In areas that are too shallow, Nat takes his kayak and friends into the Bay to pull plants + hard and tiring work. In the off season he undertakes repairs and maintenance of the equipment to ensure it is ready for the next season. The Water Chestnuts are not gone, but as a result of these collaborative efforts inspired by Nat, the infestations are decreasing.
For the past 9 years, Mary Ann and Paul Scheiner have participated in the annual anuran (frog) survey at Assabet River, Great Meadows and Oxbow National Wildlife Refuges. Their data has become part of a national survey allowing an in depth assessment of frog populations. Additionally Paul and Mary Ann have shared their environmental interests with youth. Paul has led numerous boy scout trips into the Refuges , emphasizing an appreciation for the environment, while Mary Ann has highlighted environmental stewardship in the high school biology and chemistry classes.
Laury Hammel, owner of the Longfellow Clubs, is being honored for his commitment to running his business in an environmentally responsible way. By installing waterless urinals in the locker rooms, the Club has reduced annual water use (from local wells) by 135,000 gallons, thereby ensuring more groundwater flow to the Sudbury River. And by using a non-chlorine filtration system in the pool, as well as solar hot water heaters, the Club is reducing its carbon footprint and eliminating use of toxic chemicals. Laury Hammel's efforts have positive impact on the river specifically and environment more broadly, and also sets an important example to other businesses in the watershed.
In the midst of much public scrutiny and pressure, the Wayland Conservation Commission, including Roger Blackman, Barbara Howell, J. Andrew Irwin, Robert Goldsmith, John Sullivan and Joy Viola, carefully and diligently reviewed the voluminous plans for the Wayland Town Center Project, a multi-use development proposed at the old Raytheon site adjacent to the Sudbury River. The volunteer board put in inordinate hours to evaluate aspects of the project that could impact the river front area, wetlands and related habitat. After careful consideration, the Conscom ultimately approved the project with an order of conditions, which when appealed to the State DEP was substantially upheld and in certain parts strengthened.
The National Park Service recognizes Deirdre C. Menoyo for her passionate and tireless advocacy for the rivers of Massachusetts generally, and for the Sudbury, Assabet and Concord Rivers in particular. First at ELM, where she chaired the lawyers' water policy committee promoting state legislation to protect our rivers, followed by her role in the creation of the MA Rivers Alliance, Deirdre gathered together partners to garner support to affect change in state water policy. On the local level, not only did she serve as the able immediate past chair of the River Stewardship Council, but she also provided countless hours of pro bono legal advice to a citizen appeal of an NPDES permit for the Wayland Wastewater Treatment Plant's discharges into the Sudbury River. After months of negotiation, the ensuing settlement set a precedent for more stringent effluent limits in the watershed. She continues a similar vein of important environmental protection work in her new role as a board member of Sudbury Valley Trustees.
Deirdre's efforts will have a long lasting impact on the protection of our river resources by making measurable improvements to water quality. We credit her with the vision and inspiration to form the MA Rivers Alliance, which we anticipate will effectively advocate for our rivers far into the future.