Clean Water

Hurricane Irene Anniversary

New England’s water bodies, from Lake Champlain to the Long Island Sound, are inextricably linked to our region’s economic, cultural, and physical well-being. Some saline, some fresh, they provide scenic spots for recreation, habitat for wildlife, food from fishing, and drinking water.

CLF’s Clean Water program is dedicated to safeguarding New England’s great waters for the health and enjoyment of all. These include Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay, New Hampshire’s Great Bay, Maine and Massachusetts’ coastal waters, the Boston Harbor watershed, and numerous other water bodies large and small.

These resources, critical to life, are at risk from myriad pollutants: excessive nutrients from wastewater and agriculture, contaminated storm water runoff from paved surfaces, and mercury from power plants. In some areas, overextraction of water threatens wildlife habitat, ground stability, and future generations’ access to water. In addition, New England’s waters are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, creating a new lens through which we must view prospective solutions.

Grounded in the solid protections of the 1972 Clean Water Act, CLF’s tenacious legal advocacy has resulted in cleaner, healthier water bodies across the region, most famously, the transformation of Boston Harbor from a stinking sewer in the 1980s to a recreational destination today. By holding polluters accountable and pushing for stricter regulations and enforcement of local, state, and federal clean water laws, CLF has raised the bar on water quality, setting a high standard for the region and, in many cases, precedent for the nation.

Christopher Killian, Director, Clean Water & Healthy Forests Program.