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Dec 12
Friends of the Malden River meeting, 6:30-8PM Cambridge Health Alliance, 195 Canal Street, Malden

Jan 3
Committee Meeting, 7-9PM
Tufts University, Tisch College of Citizenship & Public Service, Lincoln Filene Hall, Rabb Room, 10 Upper Campus Road, Medford


The Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) and Tufts University are developing a flagging system in the watershed to alert recreational users to safe or unsafe conditions. The first stage of this project will span two years (2015-2016) and include collection and analysis of water quality samples (results below), development of logistic models, development of an online and physical flagging system and outreach related to the project.

Click to enlarge

This project is funded by Massachusetts Environmental Trust.



Six areas of high recreational use will be part of this sampling effort: Borggaard Beach at Wedge Pond in Winchester, Shannon Beach on Upper Mystic Lake in Winchester, Wright's Pond Beach in Medford, Blessing of the Bay Boathouse on the Mystic River in Somerville, center channel of the Mystic River in Medford/Somerville and at the Malden River in Everett/Malden.



During the 2015 sampling season (38 sampling days), 483 samples were collected by 14 samplers (staff, trained volunteers and interns) and analyzed at Tufts or MyRWA for bacteria (Enterococcus or Escherichia Coli) or turbidity.

Implementation of the IDEXX method to analyze bacteria concentrations in the water quality samples. After 24 hours in the incubator, the number of large and small fluorescent wells in the tray determines the bacteria concentration in that sample. Photo by Jessica Haitz.




The program will leverage expertise in water quality sampling, modeling, programming, electronics, and outreach to create a low cost and effective alert system for keeping recreational users safe in the watershed. Predictive models will send water quality results to an automated flagging system that includes a webpage, an automated Twitter feed for each area, an automated text message response system, and electronic signs at mulitiple locations. Our expectation is that this program will bring greater visibility and understanding of conditions in the Mystic River.



Aug. 2015 – Oct. 2016, Collection and analysis of water quality samples for Enterococcus or Escherichia Coli and turbidity

Oct. 2016 – Dec. 2016, Development of six  distinct logistic models

Dec. 2016 – April 2017, Development of outreach materials: online flagging website, twitter accounts, text message response system

Dec. 2016 – April 2017, Deployment of flagging and electronic signs at a minimum of 2 sites

Aug. 2015 – April 2017, Outreach via e-newsletter, press releases, public presentations

May 2017, Final report



Professor John Durant, Tufts University Civil and Environmental Engineering
Dr. Jeffrey Walker, Environmental Consultant




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