By Patrick Herron
I can attest to the Malden River being a great place to spend an afternoon. Just this past week, I kayaked up the river, spotted an osprey and several great blue herons, bumped into the committed volunteers who are leading the Trash Free Malden River project, spoke with John Preotle, who developed River’s Edge from a “dumping” ground to the beautiful site it is now, caught a peek of the new River Green boat launch and ate some great barbecue from ‘The Porch’ (I only wish I could have integrated Nightshift Brewing into the trip).
The River Green boat launch is just the latest improvement emerging on the Everett waterfront. Since I became Executive Director of the Mystic River Watershed Association, I have seen Encore Casino move into the neighborhood and spend $68M to clean up contaminated land and sediment, create a living shoreline along the Mystic and build pathways on the Mystic and Malden Rivers. These improvements were augmented by the MA Department of Transportation building underpasses for the Woods Memorial Bridge (Route 16) on both sides of the Malden River–making it easier to walk or bike to or from Malden, Medford, Everett and Somerville. A new park at River Green opens a vista on the Malden River that was almost unimaginable just five years ago. Once only a vision of Everett Mayor DeMaria, now a beautiful park is present that includes playing fields, a playground and a beautiful overlook and boat launch.
All of these improvements require committed partners at the local and state level. I can safely say that we have these partnerships and this commitment. The new Everett boat launch was an outcome of collaboration between Fred Laskey of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, Representative McGonagle and Mayor DeMaria. Improved water quality at Island End River, as reported by the Everett Independent on August 19th (water quality grade goes from ‘F’ to a ‘B’) is the result of joint efforts of the Cities of Everett and Chelsea.
I hope that you can get out and enjoy the new waterfront. I also hope that you will consider getting involved as there is still more work to be done. Join our partner, the Friends of the Malden River, in helping remove litter and invasive species along the river, find out more about the Malden River Vision plan that includes paths around the entire river–creating a 3+ miles of contiguous paths (only ½ a mile to go) and continue to just go out and enjoy your riverfront. The latest in this effort is a partnership in Malden of community leaders of color, youth, environmental advocates, Mayor Christenson, and MIT is designing a new waterfront at the site of the Malden River Department of Public Works.
Looking at the track record over the last five years I am optimistic that we can achieve “A” water quality on our rivers, ‘trash free waters’ and continuous paths and beautiful parks.
Patrick Herron is the Executive Director, Mystic River Watershed Association.