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Region 1: EPA New England

Charles River

Swimmers on the Charles River

Swimmers on the Charles River

The Charles River, which flows 80 miles through Massachusetts, from Hopkinton to Boston Harbor, is one of New England's crown jewels. One of the busiest recreational rivers in the world, the lower Charles is lined with boat houses, jogging paths, sports fields and performance facilities that are used by hundreds of thousands of city dwellers each year.

The Charles River has exhibited ecological problems stemming from human-induced pollution, and EPA has responded with a long-term effort to improve water quality and overall ecological health for the river. This effort began in 1995 and has continued to this day, bringing together the concentrated and coordinated effort of EPA, the State of Massachusetts, local officials and citizens, and concerned volunteer and citizen organizations.

Much progress has been made to reduce bacterial contamination in the Charles; however, the river continues to suffer from excessive levels of nutrients, most notably phosphorus in storm water run off.

More Information on the Charles River
Basic Information History of Human Impacts on Charles River
Clean Charles River Initiative Reducing Combined Sewer Overflows to Charles River
Addressing Excessive Nutrients in the Charles River (TMDL) Charles River Report Cards
Charles River Enforcement/Assistance Science Reports (TMDL & Lab Reports)
Other Strategies to Protect Charles River Charles River Newsroom
Related Links & Contact Photo Gallery


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