By: David Kindy
Posted: Apr 22, 2019 @ 6:00 AM
Watershed Action Alliance event addresses water issues
It might not be too long before there are serious issues.
You walk to the sink, turn on the faucet and the water flows freely. That simple action is one of the reasons why this most precious resource is often taken for granted. Because it is so easy to access, most people rarely give a thought to water – unless there is a problem.
And it might not be too long before there are serious issues. Climate change, drought, development, pollution, loss of wetlands and other stressors could have devastating effects on the local water supply. Some communities already enforce restrictions on a year-round basis.
The annual conference of the Watershed Action Alliance sought to address many of these concerns. Titled ”Water: New England’s Next Big Challenge,” the daylong session featured experts from around the region discussing current and future threats and what can be done to mitigate them.
Topics covered water quality and quantity, water stressors, climate change, water replenishment, development trends, municipality preparedness and weather projections. The conference offered expertise, experience and the diverse perspectives of numerous local specialists in coming to grips with some difficult problems.
Speakers included John Mullaney, a groundwater specialist with the New England Water Science Center of the U.S. Geological Survey, Joanne Zygmunt, commissioner of the Central Plymouth County Water District Commission, Eric Walberg, senior program leader for Climate Services at Manomet Inc., Sara Burns, water resource scientist with The Nature Conservancy, and Bill Napolitano, environmental program director of the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District.
Principal speaker was Alex Hackman, a restoration ecologist and cranberry bog program manager for the Division of Ecological Restoration at the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game. He discussed the importance of restoring wetlands to create ecological dynamism.
Hackman stated that that restoration means different things to different people. He outlined what communities need to do and how to do it right.
“Wetland and stream restoration projects can help local communities address current and future water issues,” he said. “Repairing key physical drivers of aquatic ecosystems, such as the natural movement and storage of water, allows them to be more healthy and dynamic. Restoration projects can produce outcomes that seem like miracles – and we can make them happen in our communities.”
The afternoon session also featured presentations by several member organizations about their programs to protect water quality and quantity: Neponset River Watershed Association, North and South Rivers Watershed Association, Jones River Watershed Association, Six Ponds Improvement Association, Herring Ponds Watershed Association, Barnstable Clean Water Coalition and Save the Bay – Narragansett Bay.
To view any of the presentations click here.