It is the human tendency, or perhaps an American attribute; to compartmentalize things. We like to take ideas, people and organizations and ‘put’ them into categories. Well, one organization doesn’t seem to want to fit and that’s the Parker River Clean Water Association. Some have tried. “Oh, that’s a water department!” (Not a government organization), “Oh, that’s a naturalist organization like the Nature Conservancy.” (Not its primary mission.) “That’s an environmental organization!” (Sort of, but in a pretty broad definition.) “I think they have to do with preserving open space.” (In a very indirect way.) And still others think, “They’re anti-development” (Depends on what your definition of development is!) and anti-business. (Depends on what business we’re talking about.) There are even some who would say they’re anti-government. (That’s really stretching it because some sectors of government that want to preserve watersheds and the environment and wildlife hold the organization in high regard, while other government sectors work against them.)
Simply put, the Parker River Clean Water Association is just that. They want to keep clean and flowing every bit of the Parker River and all its tributaries.
But that is because so much of that area depends on a healthy water transport system. Human development literally exists around and on this ‘watershed’. Our quality of life including our drinking water and health are dependent on its health. Our safety and security depend on making sure that the management of that water system does not cause disease and property-damaging floods. Plants and animals constituting a balanced ecology depend heavily on the wetlands and the wetlands depend heavily on the plants and animals. Wells for homes depend on a healthy watershed, and businesses as diverse as farms, clamming beds and fishermen require a balanced system that minimizes erosion and pollution. The water flow and quality affects crops, fish, deep-water fish, humans and even the look and feel of the land.
The result is an organization that pushes into many areas so this region can be healthy. They monitor the water quality and have a team of volunteers from Boxford to Rowley testing the waters. Another group monitors fish counts which is an excellent indicator of the health of the rivers. More volunteers advocate for proper flow of the water so the much-needed nutrients can move down through the eco-system. Yet others, push for open space so there is adequate drainage and they work to minimize impervious surfaces to reduce flooding. And still more volunteers concentrate on protecting the wildlife that are dependent on a healthy watershed which includes vernal pools and wetlands.
And above all else, the organization is dedicated to educating the general public on the importance of protecting and sustaining the Parker River Watershed so that all of us can enjoy a high level of quality of life.
The Parker River Clean Water Association will be having their annual meeting this Sunday at 1:00 at the Byfield Library; I invite you to come and learn all the important sectors of this ‘Odd Duck’ of an organization. Perhaps you’ll be inspired enough to assist with the many worthy tasks that PRCWA involves itself.
Get there early because there will probably be standing room only. A whole lot of other citizens in the region are fully aware of how important this organization is and will be attending!