Save the Harbor/Save the Bay

A 21-year campaign clears things up
By KARA BASKIN  |  November 6, 2007

More than 20 years ago, a Quincy city solicitor went for a jog along a Boston beach. Sadly, his exercise was ruined when he landed feet-first in a mound of sewage. So he decided to take action, and, in 1985, successfully sued Boston for violation of the 1972 Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments (a/k/a the Clean Water Act). SAVE THE HARBOR/SAVE THE BAY was founded in 1986 by the lawyer who brought that case to state court, the judge who heard it, a reporter who covered the story, and a young attorney and mother of three who wanted her kids to be able to swim in Boston Harbor.

Today, helmed by Patricia Foley and her husband, Bruce Berman, the group has more than 2000 members and a $1 million-plus budget. Their mission: to raise awareness of the health of Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay — focusing on human health risk and on the health of important species such as finfish, marine mammals, and sea and shore birds.

Save the Harbor/Save the Bay is committed to making Boston's beaches destinations in their own right, and the best way to protect the harbor, they're convinced, is to share it with friends. So each summer, they bring thousands of young people to the harbor islands, and provide thousands more with environmental education and recreation programs on local docks, piers, and beaches. They also host SoundWaves, a free summer concert on Spectacle Island, which always draws hefty crowds.

Their hard work has paid off. Much of the harbor is now safe for swimming, boating, and fishing. And when the improvement work on South Boston's beaches is completed by the end of the decade, Boston will have the cleanest urban beaches in America. Love that dirty water indeed.

Related: T-easing pollution, Green day, Furthermore, More more >
  Topics: Lifestyle Features , Politics, Health and Fitness, Domestic Policy,  More more >
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