CLOSED: Sustainable Water Management Initiative Petition

Make a difference today. Please sign our petition to protect our natural waters.


Right now there is a critical opportunity to address the problems that have led to degradation of Massachusetts rivers and streams.  The Sustainable Water Management Initiative (SWMI) provides a strong scientific basis and a once-in-a-generation opportunity to put in place effective policies and guidelines to manage Massachusetts’ rivers, streams and natural waters sustainably.

Please sign this petition urging Governor Patrick and Secretary Richard Sullivan to take actions that will really make a difference in restoring and protecting our natural waters.  Click the more to read and sign the petition online. Please take action immediately; the deadline is this week.

If you would prefer to print it out, sign it and return it to us in hard copy, here is the pdf.

Honorable Governor Deval Patrick
Secretary Richard Sullivan

Dear Governor Patrick and Secretary Sullivan:

The Sustainable Water Management Initiative (SWMI) provides a strong scientific basis and a once-in-a-generation opportunity to put in place effective policies and guidelines to manage Massachusetts’ rivers, streams and natural waters sustainably. I strongly support and applaud this effort and goal.

To achieve the goal of sustainable use of our rivers, I urge you to instruct the environmental agencies that pristine rivers must be protected and degraded rivers and streams must be restored to health, to the maximum extent feasible, by embodying the following principles in SWMI:

1) Sustainable water management means that human uses are met in ways that do not impair or degrade ecosystem functions and use the least environmentally damaging alternatives.
2) The “safe yield” of water sources must be safe for both the water supply and the environment.
a. In 2009, following Governor Patrick’s intervention, MassDEP agreed that “…safe yield under the Water Management Act includes environmental protection factors, including ecological health of river systems, as well as hydrologic factors.” (Emphasis added.)
b. Rivers cannot sustain withdrawals at the “safe yield” levels MassDEP proposes, because much less water is available in the summer, when many of our rivers are pumped dry. This is the crux of the problem. The proposed safe yield will perpetuate the problem instead of solving it.
c. Where safe yield is currently exceeded, a mitigation analysis must be completed and the most effective measures implemented as soon as possible.
3) Where damage to the environment is already occurring, sustainable water management means that appropriate measures must be taken to improve ecological functions to the extent technically feasible.
a. Restoring degraded ecosystems to health should be a stated goal of SWMI.
b. Existing water withdrawals and other impacts that currently degrade the environment must be replaced by less damaging alternatives or mitigated. Mitigation should be based on impacts, regardless of whether withdrawals are increasing.
c. A comprehensive mitigation analysis should identify, prioritize and implement over time all technically feasible measures to address the degradation.

This is a critical opportunity to address the problems that have led to degradation of Massachusetts rivers and streams. The result cannot be perpetuation of the status quo for already damaged rivers and streams. I urge you to take actions that will really make a difference in restoring and protecting our natural waters.

Thank you for your consideration.


Name: ________________________________________________________________

Address: ________________________________________________________________



E-mail address:

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Steve Grinley,

Steven Przyjemski,


Stephen Lewis,

Steve Ollove,


Lawrence Brennan,

Kelly J Hartley,

Molly Edson,

Brent Baeslack,

David A. Tibbetts,


Charles Mulcahey,

Jacob Finch,

Patrick J. Richmond,


Sally Hinkle,

Thomas S. Wooldridge,

Alix C. McArdle,

Edwaed Des Jardins - Georgetown,


John S O\'Connell,

Franz Ingelfinger,

Mike DeCaprio,

Kristen Poulin,

lauren macdonald,

clare campbell,

Lana Spillman,

Emily Nelson,


Sharon B. Stichter, Newbury, Mass.,

Steve St. Arnault,


Dan Edson,

Susan Lazaris,

Bill Lazaris,

Kristine Malpica,


Laura Kernan,

Thomas Gurski,

Jan, Jim, Dana & Alix Roy,

Harry LaCortiglia,

lynn marks,

Nancy Haverington,

Elizabeth M. Lee,

Theodora Capaldo,

Terry J Berns,

Susan Thomas,

Michele Augeri,

David Powell,

Florrie Johnson,

Richard Marks,

Frank Hertz,

Elliott V. Miller,

Michael McGarty,

Mal Fraser,

Sarah W Thomson,


Mark A Thayer,

Alida S. Joyce,


Joan Caulfield,

Cynthia katsapetses,

Barb Harrold,

Frederic B. Jennings Jr., Ph.D.,

Donnan Barnes,

Marshall Jespersen,


Bob Watts,


Christopher T. Benton,


Marilyn White,

Judy Schneider,


Gail E. Anderson,


Norman Rehn,


Reginald Lockwood,

Michael Nelson,

Edward M Crowley,

Mark Sandt,

Sally Milliken,


Matilda Evangelista,

Cheryl Yemma,

Richard L. Lombard,

marlene schroeder,

Scott R. Freeman,

Renee Dunn,


Nancy J Smith,

Joseph Wilson,

Beth Myers,

Christine Comiskey,

Yvonne M. Buswell,


George Comiskey,



  1. Dave MacIntyre - October 12, 2011

    I fully support this petition to safeguard the waters and rivers of our state.

  2. Will Finch - October 10, 2011

    Based on my 15 years of monitoring the health and flows of the Ipswich River in Reading, it is clear to me that using average flow levels to determine safe yields will not achieve the goal of a vital and thriving river.

    Summer flows, especially in time of drought, must be a primary consideration when evaluating how we approach the management of this precious resource.

  3. Horst J.. Buehler - October 10, 2011

    This will help but more volunteers are needed to keep the river clean

  4. Chae S. Buehler - October 10, 2011

    Great Idea Lets get it done for the Families of the furute!

  5. TRISH - October 7, 2011

    This is so heartening to read all the comments. Thank you for making a difference! Together, we’ll keep our rivers and streams out of danger.

  6. Lawrence McCavitt - October 6, 2011

    Leave well enough alone!

  7. Tom Horth - October 6, 2011

    This is a no-brainer. Of course we need to limit the water withdrawn. Any politician thinking otherwise is lacking in a major way.

  8. Thomas Gurski - October 6, 2011

    Please protect our rivers.

  9. Sarah and Alan Ward - October 6, 2011

    We are fortunate to have this beautiful river, there needs to be wise use to safeguard the integrity of the river for the future.

  10. Pauline E. Peters - October 6, 2011

    I believe this to be a very important petition and support it.

  11. Elliott V. Miller - October 6, 2011

    I do not believe it is environmentally sound to remove increased volumes of water from the Parker River when it has run dry so recently.
    E. V. Miller

  12. JOANNE C. PURINTON - October 6, 2011


  13. Marshall Jespersen - October 5, 2011

    Having seen the Parker River depleted to a series of stagnant puddles in the recent past, I think it would be foolhardy to increase the allowable draw from this watershed. The evidence on the ground indicates we are at, and perhaps beyond the capacity of this watershed to recharge the acquifer. Increasing the allowable draw would, in my opinion, place an unsustainable stress on this ecosystem and cause irreperable harm in the near future. It would also have the effect of decreasing the quality of the water extracted and entail more treatment expense to produce an accepatble product. In short, the increase makes no sense.

  14. marlene schroeder - October 5, 2011

    It is absurd to propose withdrawing more water from a river that runs dry. Our photo archives show dessicated animals desperately trying to locate water in a dried up river bed, animals trapped in the steps of dried up fish ladders, trickles of water in the river – where do they think the proposed withdrawals will come from – abracadabra?

  15. Jack Van Loan - October 5, 2011

    Why propose to increase allowable withdrawals from the Parker River when it is already running dry during the summer?

  16. David Standley - October 4, 2011

    As Chair of the Ipswich Conservation Commission and former Commissioner of DEQE (now DEP) I strongly support this long-overdue initiative.

  17. Trish Aldrich - October 4, 2011

    Why would we take such a huge step backward when what we really need is greater protections to keep our waters clean and safe? I support this petition wholeheartedly.

  18. Kelly Russell - October 4, 2011

    I support this petition.

  19. Paul Lauenstein - October 3, 2011

    Defining Safe Yield as being an amount greater than current water withdrawals in currently stressed basins would be untruthful, and would undermine efforts to restore stressed watersheds and the ecosystems they support.

  20. Andrea Fox - October 3, 2011

    Supporting thriving water resources, as well as well-functioning drinking water systems, are two initiatives we need to look at together. Ensuring that tap water is safe, encouraging citizen use of these resources rather than environmentally-wasteful bottled water, and expressing exemplary protection of water resources are the answers to addressing supply and quality concerns for the citizens of the Commonwealth now and for the future.