Partnership Development

Partnerships and collaboration with key players in the watershed are essential for best managing the changing and relatively urbanized Stony Brook watershed.  The Cambridge Water Department is continuously reaching out and fostering new partnerships with parties that are interested in maintaining quality in the watershed.

Notable partnerships include:

  • USGS
  • MassDOT
  • Towns of Lincoln, Lexington, and Weston; and the City of Waltham
  • Waltham Fire Department
  • Rural Land Foundation of Lincoln
  • J & Co. (1265 Main St, Waltham)
  • Hobbs Brook Management, LLC
  • Shire Pharmaceuticals
  • Astra Zeneca 

Local Business Partnerships

In an already urbanized watershed, re-development can be a helpful tool for mitigating stormwater impacts.  Newer, "green infrastructure" technologies such as infiltration basins, rain gardens, and constructed wetlands, as well as oldies-but-goodies such as retention/detention ponds, can help increase the travel time for rainwater runoff and can filter out many pollutants before they reach our reservoirs.  Stormwater best management practices (BMPs) during construction can help limit the amount of eroded material associated with construction processes that escape into water resources.  CWD involvement with current and future developments helps ensure that these best management practices for stormwater control and treatment are implemented throughout the watershed.  Additionally, data collected from densely developed subbasins "Industrial Brook" and "WA-17", illustrate the effects of impervious surfaces on water quality.  This data is used to help increase local awareness with the ultimate goal of long-term cooperation in improving the stormwater quality of the watershed.

 Retention Pond at the Waltham Polaroid redevelopment site.

 Retention Pond at the Waltham Polaroid redevelopment site.

Underground infiltration basin during construction at the Waltham Polaroid redevelopment site.

 Underground Infiltration Basin under construction at the Polaroid redevelopment site.


USGS Collaboration

Since the 1990s, CWD has been working in collaboration with the USGS on instantaneous data collection in the three reservoirs and key tributaries throughout the watershed.  The CWD and USGS have constructed equipment stations that house automated monitoring equipment at these key stations that record water quality data, water elevation and flow, precipitation, and water supply capacity in the reservoirs.  There are also automated water sampling devices at these stations that can take samples based on changes in flow or precipitation.  The stations upload data on a near-real-time basis to the Internet so that watershed staff can track changes and trends in water quality and quantity. In addition, these stations serve as early warning systems of changes in water quality should anomalous water quality data be displayed.  Staff can detect these changes by viewing the data on the Internet and respond by visiting the stations in the field if necessary.

To access the USGS data for the Cambridge Water department, click here. [Link will open in a new browser].

USGS technicians sampling the Stony Brook Reservoir below the dam.

USGS technicians monitoring water quality below the Stony Brook Reservoir.


USGS Water Quality Monitoring Reports

Several reports and fact sheets have been developed as a result of the joint work efforts between the CWD and USGS that describe methodology and results of the research conducted thus far.  These reports can be accessed through the links below.

USGS Fact Sheet 2015

USGS Fact Sheet 2002

USGS Fact Sheet 1998


MassDOT Partnership

In 1999, under direction from the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), MassDOT developed a comprehensive management program to reduce highway impacts to the water supply.  The proposed projects under this plan include the following:

  • Identify priority outfalls for stormwater quality improvements 
  • Adopt latest technologies that regulate and quantify deicing chemical and traction sand applications in the watershed
  • Develop updated stormwater inspection and performance criteria
  • Ensure upcoming Route 128 roadway improvements in Waltham do not impact the water supply during construction

Continued MassDOT work within the watershed includes vast stormwater basin construction and improvements along watershed highway miles, as well as the push for innovative deicing strategies to limit the amount of salt introduced to the watershed.