Charles River and Jarabacoa Rivers
In September 2011, following 20 years of successful river restoration on the Charles River, Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) won the Thiess International Riverprize.
In January 2013, CRWA officially launched their Twinning partnership in Jarabacoa, a small city in the highlands of the Dominican Republic.
The City of Jarabacoa is home to a population of 52,000 and sits in a mountainous region of the Dominican Republic. It is a popular tourist destination and the wellbeing of its population is closely intertwined with the quality of its rivers including the Yaque del Norte, a critical source of drinking water, irrigation and hydropower for the region. Two small streams, Arroyo Yerba Buena and Canada Los Gatos, flow through Jarabacoa into the Yaque del Norte. Like many urban streams, they have been channelised and polluted as the city has grown.
This Twinning partnership focuses on the key areas of community engagement, water quality and river restoration. In the first year, a volunteer water quality monitoring program was successfully established, and development has begun on a long-term river restoration plan with the community. A community engagement and education program will be launched by the end of year two, and a demonstration restoration project by the end of the third year of the program.
In July 2014, a delegation of 10 project partners from the Dominican Republic visited Boston for a learning exchange. The visit included training activities for water quality monitoring, macroinvertebrate monitoring and improving fish passage at dams, as well as visits with Boston area environmental groups, tours of local projects, and pleasure trips on the Charles River.
This Twinning project is expected to benefit both partners in many ways. CRWA will benefit from the experience of training another community, and learning about the types of problems impacting rivers other than their own. Jarabacoa will benefit from positive changes in water quality and will learn how to sustain and manage new restoration efforts as a community. The overarching goal is to unite the cities of Boston and Jarabacoa around the shared goal of cleaning up rivers and training a new generation of environmental scientists.