A major effort, costing in the neighborhood of $2 billion, is under way to restore the environmental quality of Boston Harbor. While Boston Harbor is unquestionably one of the most polluted urban estuaries in the world, it is also one of the least understood with respect to the basic physics, chemistry, and biology involved. This information is essential for the purpose of identifying processes that control the transport, effect, and fate of contaminants entering the estuary. Failure to obtain this information may lead to continued inappropriate and unnecessarily expensive solutions to a complex environmental problem. An effective solution will require commitment to a substantial multidisciplinary research effort to supply the necessary comprehensive data base on the harbor and adjacent environments of Massachusetts and Cape Cod bays. Only then can intelligent, informed decisions be made to assure restoration and maintenance of the environmental quality of our coastal waters. Development of a well-informed and vocal citizens' action group may be a critical step in the achievement of this goal.



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