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Currents of Change

Environmental Reporting


Numerous studies have found that robust, effective organizations value approaches that actively seek input on their progress from their chief stakeholders, implement those approaches by finding ways to provide technical assistance and information, and by reporting frequently to the public and engaged constituencies on their activities.

In both Rhode Island and Massachusetts, the most routinely published water quality report has been the biennial assessment of state waters required under Section 305(b) of the federal Clean Water Act. The content and structure of this report is regulated by EPA for specific water quality reporting needs. The water quality sections of this report summarize findings from the states’ 2008 reports.

But other sources of information can be equally if not more important to the public, including annual departmental reports and opportunities to review workplans, and assessments by environmental and other organizations of condition such as the 1998 RIDEM water quality status and trends report, the 2000 NBEP/RIDEM State of the Bay report, and Save The Bay’s State of the Bay 2007. In addition, individual watershed groups have developed watershed action plans on which they report more or less regularly; the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association, for example, produces annual reports.

In Massachusetts, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) produces a number of reports based on a 5-year rotating basin approach, which feed into annual progress reports, and the biennial Integrated Report required under the Clean Water Act. In addition, Massachusetts has developed strong watershed organizations; the Blackstone River Coalition produces an annual water quality report card and in 2008 published a state of the river report. The Taunton River Watershed Alliance is developing a water quality monitoring program.

 

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