Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Sharing the Harbor Like Never Before: A Letter from Our President

I would like to thank you for helping Save the Harbor “share the harbor” like never before.

With your support, this year our free Youth Environmental Education Programs connected 30,375 youth and teens from 42 communities to Boston Harbor and the Boston Harbor Islands State and National Park.

We would love your support again this year. Your contribution of $25, $50, $100 or whatever you can afford to give will make a real difference. Make a donation here.

In the past three years these free programs have doubled in size and impact, helping to make Save the Harbor the Boston Harbor Connection for the region’s kids and families, serving more than 160,000 young people since 2002. Together we have created a new generation of environmental stewards who understand the value of Boston’s spectacular harbor, beaches and islands to them and their communities.

2016 was also a terrific year for our Better Beaches Program partnership with the Department of Conservation and Recreation, awarding more than $200,000 in small grants to 43 groups in 9 beachfront communities and waterfront neighborhoods. These groups in turn leveraged our funds with nearly $500,000 in cash and in-kind support from local government and businesses and more than 8,800 volunteer hours to support over 100 free concerts, , beach festivals, sand raking exhibitions and sand sculpting competitions from Nahant to Nantasket.

We also won important victories in the policy arena, though recent developments put many of the gains we have made at serious risk.

On the bright side, this summer Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matt Beaton asked Save the Harbor/Save the Bay to quarterback an initiative to create a consensus on next steps to finally resolve the ongoing pollution problems that still close beaches in Lynn, Swampscott and Dorchester. Working together with state and local officials, our Beaches Science Advisory Committee will issue a report next summer which will pave the way for capital investment by the Commonwealth to help these communities.

In June, the Metropolitan Beaches Commission which we lead and manage for the Legislature, held a hearing at the State House. At that hearing the Commission called on the Baker Administration to jumpstart their efforts to develop a regional water transportation plan to connect the region’s coastal communities with each other and with the Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park, which they have agreed to do.

However, despite these successes, there are real causes for concern.

Several weeks ago, in response to projected declining tax revenue forecasts, the press reported that the Baker/Polito Administration was considering $294 million in budget cuts that we believe would put many of the gains we have made in recent years at risk. Since then, increased tax revenues have resulted in a postponement of the decision to cut these programs.  However, we are still concerned about the possibility of revenue declines and imposition of these cuts on DCR, which is considering cutting funds for full time and seasonal staff, maintenance and free events and programs on the region's public beaches in 2017. The Commonwealth's 13 public beaches are critical civic, economic and recreational assets for the region's low income and underserved youth and families. Rather than further cuts, we believe that we should be making additional modest investments to protect the nearly $5 billion we have already invested in the Boston Harbor cleanup.

We began our 30th Anniversary Year with a sunset cruise to Boston Light in the spring and ended it with a free fall trip to Spectacle Island in late October. As we looked back toward the city with our community partners and our friends and supporters, we couldn’t help but think back on all we have accomplished together since 1986.

We are proud of our role as the region’s leading voice for clean water and continued public investment in Boston Harbor, our public beaches, and beachfront communities and waterfront neighborhoods from Nahant to Nantasket. Working together we have transformed Boston Harbor from a liability into a source of opportunity and pride for Bostonians and the region’s residents.
I know that you understand the value of Boston Harbor, the islands and our public beaches to all the region’s residents, especially underserved young people and low income families.

I also know that we can count on you.

Your contribution of $25, $50, $100 or whatever you can afford to give will make a real difference as we continue our work to restore protect these spectacular urban natural resources and share them with the public for everyone to enjoy.

On behalf of the Board of Directors and the staff at Save the Harbor, I want to thank you for your support and wish you a very happy holiday season.

All the best,
Patricia A. Foley

P.S. It’s easy to make a contribution today on our website, or, if you prefer you can mail your check to:

Save the Harbor/Save the Bay
Boston Fish Pier
212 Northern Avenue, Suite 304 West
Boston MA 02210 United States

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