"Raw sewage flowed from outmoded wastewater treatment plants. Toxic discharges from industrial facilities colored the river pink and orange. Fish kills, submerged cars and appliances, leaching riverbank landfills, and noxious odors were routine occurrences." -Charles River History, Charles River Watershed Association
The river Charles has come a long way since the above description
from the 1960s. The EPA now gives it a B+ in its annual Charles River Report Card, up from a D just 14 years ago.
Rachel and I spent the afternoon with friends Ben and Heather paddling a section of the river in Newton, MA, about 10 miles west of Cambridge.
The river still has room for improvement--and additional cleanup efforts are underway--but I'd give our afternoon an A+.