As a volunteer, donor and beneficiary of the efforts put fourth by the Ipswich River Watershed Association, I have witnessed the amazing impact this organization has had on our watershed. These folks have the ability to bring together a diverse set of organizations that benefit and impact the river. Their competent, enthusiastic and expert staff deftly coordinate a myriad of activities from education, to monitoring, to encouraging the wise use and enjoyment of the river. IRWA has achieved significant results in saving the river from the brink. Their mission is far from over and they continue to impact improvements in environmental restoration, reduction in withdrawal and water conservation education.
We have lived in Ipswich since 1998 and have grown to love the Ipswich River. It is a source of ever changing beauty. My spouse and I have canoed and kayaked it, walked it's shores, watched it slowly meadering to the sea and also as it overflowed it's banks during terrible flood times. Because of this we became members of the Ipswich River Watershed Associaton where we experienced the river in even more ways. Each spring I am part of the team that counts the river herring as they make their way to the fresh water to spawn. Several years ago I attended a poetry workshop which made me think about the meaning of the river in my life. On the first day of the new year, we go on an IRWA hike led hike through the Crane Beach dunes. And this year we welcomed warmer weather when we kayaked up the river from Peatfield Street to IRWA headquarters where we joined the celebration of the opening of the canoe dock with ice cream donated by Down River.
I am an Ipswich resident, a fisherman, and someone very concerned about the environment. I and my spouse have done herring run fish counts and I have been involved as a volunteer and as a program participant. IRWA is very effective at getting people involved in meaningful ways and in ways that make all of the rest of us aware of the local environment and its challenges. The IRWA has done a wonderful job of bringing the Ipswich River back from the brink of environmental disaster. They have provided leadership to help save the other rivers in the North Shore area as well.
I have been involved with IRWA for a number of years as a volunteer River Monitor. I can't say enough about the worthiness and intergrity of this organization. The staff that I have know have been of the highest dedication and caliber. Their mission of preserving and enhancing the potential of the Ipswich River is vital to all us who are fortunate enough to live in its watershed. I have also been happy to donate to IRWA over years and will continue to do so. In sort, it's a super ornganization and I'm delighted to be a part of it.
This is a GREAT group that helps the river and has lots of activities on the river.
Review from JustGive
For the past three years I've been volunteering for the Ipswich River Watershed Association as their Herring Count coordinator. We get up to 60 volunteers each spring who spend ten minutes at a time looking for migrating herring at the fish ladder near the downtown dam. Even though most people don't get to see a fish, as the herring run has been drastically depleted, they are the most eager and excited people I have ever met and it's a pleasure to coordinate them and volunteer for such a wonderful organization. The herring run would have been completely wiped out by now if it wasn't for the IRWA's tireless fight to ensure that water flows down the river in even in the driest of summers.
I've lived near the river my entire life and when the headquarters moved into the Riverbend house I decided to get involved for the first time. I love what they have done to make the river and knowledge about the river more accessible with the available canoes and dock they installed. I completed my high school community service with the IRWA and have remained connected with them ever since.
I've been involved with the Ipswich River Watershed Association for more than a dozen years. The Ipswich is a small northeast Massachusetts river that is unusual for the large amount of water provided to towns and cities beyond the watershed. The organization was years ahead of its time in understanding that even in New England, we can have less water than we need. The executive director has been very adept at bringing the right people to the table to address this problem with good science. The organization is a nationally recognized leader in terms of addressing river flow issues and much progress has been made.
A watershed is home to much more than water however, and board members recently had an opportunity to see the diversity of issues the organization has tackled in a recent tour. We visited a potential dam removal site, a local canoe landing built by organization volunteers and a low impact housing development.
The association has a very lean and low key staff that provides high impact in many areas.
I have lived on the Ipswich River for 37 years and seen what it means to the communities on its banks. Not only is it the water supply and a recreational resource, but a way for us to connect to our communities’ past and their economic legacy. In recent years, the river became highly stressed, even running dry in mid-summer. The Ipswich River Watershed Association has advocated tirelessly for the health of the river. Communities upstream have found other water sources, conservation measures are in place, and I’ve seen the results in the quality and quantity of the water flowing past. Much remains to be done; the organization is now working to remove obsolete dams and bring back the migratory fish that once abounded in these waters. I can’t wait.
Kerry Mackin and the Ipswich River Watershed Association have done a remarkable job over the past decade of raising awareness of the plight of depleted rivers and streams in Massachusetts. They have kept pressure on the MA Dept. of Environmental Protection and the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs to do a better job of protecting rivers and streams. Their leadership has inspired and supported those working in other watersheds.
The Ipswich River today is flowing better thanks to IRWA's efforts.
Wayne Castonguay, our current Executive Director, continues to keep the pressure on and build momentum for positive change.
I have been a volunteer river monitor with the Ipswich River Watershed Association for at least 15 years, as well as being connected through a local "stream team" that was started under its auspices. It has been blessed with top notch leadership and a flow of excellent people who worked well together within tight budget constraints. They have met challenge after challenge, including several moves, a landmark legal case challenging the lack of enforcement of water withdrawal restrictions by the State of Massachusetts at the same time that they have fostered ever-improving scientific studies to identify baseline data for optimum environment for Ipswich River wildlife. Despite the many pressing demands of the organization, they are always helpful when needed for individual questions or stream team support.
Since recently moving into my town and the Ipswich River watershed, IRWA has afforded me the opportunity to get involved with several efforts. Our local stream team has a number of efforts in the works to promote the visibility of and access to the river. I am looking forward to the chance to collect some water quality data on the river. Given the amount of data that the organization holds, I'm excited about ways to share, present and distribute these data.
The Ipswich River Watershed Association is the gold standard of watershed associations. The Association's advocacy work has resulted in tangible improvements in the Ipswich River and has initiated a state-wide discussion on river health that has the potential to dramatically improve ecological conditions for rivers and streams in Massachusetts from the North Shore to the Berkshires. Staff at the Association are experts in their field and bring a genuine enthusiasm for watershed protection that is infectious.
I volunteered with the Ipswich River Watershed Association after my sophomore year of college and it has made a significant impact on my career goals. Working with a nonprofit has been the most fulfilling job experience I've had so far and I credit this to the dedication of the staff at IRWA, especially Kerry Mackin and Trish Aldrich. Their enthusiasm for their work is contagious. IRWA has made amazing progress in protecting the Ipswich River and raising awareness in the local communities. I am impressed with the wide range of programs offered by IRWA throughout all four seasons and their emails are always a pleasure to open, unlike other mailing lists I am on. Overall, IRWA is an organization that is actually DOING something and they must continue to be supported.
Kerry Mackin is a (if not the) leading voice speaking up for the need to reduce the adverse impact of human activities that alter streamflow patterns and volumes, not only in the Ipswich River system (which has unfortunately served as the "poster child" example of dry streambeds and dead fish) but elsewhere in the Commonwealth where these problems occur. Fortunately, largely due to Kerry and IRWA's efforts, streamflow conditions in the Ipswich and its tributaries are being restored to levels more closely resembling natural conditions, and the fish and other aquatic and water-dependent organisms are benefiting as a result.
Kerry retired recently but Wayne Castonguay is a dream come true. We couldn't have found a better leader.