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On Feb. 26 at Leslie Univeristy “deep ecology” speakers included wildlife assessor David Brown and landscape storm water wetland designer Duke Bitsko.
Treat yourself to a “stay-cation” or treat your visitors, $225 value. (more)
Just a couple of days ago I saw dried leaves and underbrush near the creek or channel, historically, "Alewife Brook," which runs beside and into Little River from North Cambridge. I thought how colorless and cold it looked in spite of shining blue skies, and it was only 20 degrees.(more)
Join us to hear two dynamic speakers discuss their work on the Alewife Reservation, a unique urban wild located in the heart of Cambridge, Arlington and Belmont. Stay after the speakers to learn more about the Friend’s of the Alewife Reservation and how you can get involved.
Duke Bitsko is the Interdisciplinary Director and staff Supervisor at the Bioengineering Group of Salem with backgrounds in engineering, landscape architecture and earth sciences. He will discuss his work designing Cambridge’s newly-engineered storm water wetland at the Alewife Reservation, the largest of its kind in New England, including marshes, islands, and over 100,000 wetland plants.
David Brown is a lifelong teacher and naturalist with more than 20 years experience interpreting the trails and signs of mammals and birds of New England. David has been exploring and leading naturalist tours of the Alewife Reservation for about 10 years. David will discuss his professional assessment of the Alewife Reservation's animals and birds, completed with with a MA Fish and Wildlife grant, and well as the value of the Reservation, its animals, and its surroundings, especially the core Silver Maple Forest.
The Medford Arts Center (MACI) is seeking artists of various media for the first annual juried “Into the Mystic” Environmental Art and Film Festival for June 20-22, 2014 which will be held at Hyatt Place, 116 Riverside Ave., Medford. The opening reception is Friday, June 20th, from 6-9 pm. The festival is a collaboration of MACI, Green Medford, Mystic River Watershed Association, The City of Medford’s Office of Energy and Environment, and the Friends of the Mystic River.
Mass Audubon's Norm Smith released a Snowy Owl at Plum Island that he had trapped at Logan Airport. As is always the case with Norm Smith, it was a compelling event. There were at least 200 people on hand for the memorable occasion.
2014 Massachusetts Sustainable Communities & Campuses Conference
April 17, 2014
Umass Lowell Conference Center
Join with FAR on Solutions for Sustainable towns and cities in New England. (conference info and registration)
The rapid conversion of natural lands to cement-dominated urban centers is causing great losses in biodiversity. Yet, according to a new study involving 147 cities worldwide, surprisingly high numbers of plant and animal species persist and even flourish in urban environments — to the tune of hundreds of bird species and thousands of plant species in a single city. (more)
The Towns of Arlington and Belmont will work to identify the highest sources of stormwater runoff within their communities and begin planning for solutions to mitigate this impact. The municipalities, along with MyRWA, are taking a proactive approach toward identifying pollution sources and reducing pollutant loading through an examination of solutions with a focus on “green” structural Best Management Practices (BMPs). (more)
Giant Route 2 Apartment building sign going up on Route 2
Meeting February 18th, Community Development Senior Center
FAR and Carol appeal to the following for letters before this Friday:
Ward 9, North Cambridge Stabilization, Friends of the Mystic, Sustainable Arlington, Sustainable Belmont, neighborhood groups in North Cambridge.
Send letters: Lpaden@cambridgema.us
Idith Haber of the Coalition to Preserve Belmont Uplands gives hope for enforcing state and federal environmental laws using national standards:National Pollution Discharge Environmental Standards (NPDES) of 2011 which requires implementation via extensive infrastructure, protecting polluted storm water from our streams and rivers, and with greater erosion and flooding controls. National standards must apply.
The town may allow an over riding of the required storm water by-law based on a housing 40 B loophole. Cambridge should weigh into this opportunity to preserve its new 150 million dollar project of storm water wetlands which proceeded the last 2 years with utmost regulatory NPDES implementation. Such non-compliance upstream in Belmont may compromise the storm water wetlands in Cambridge. (more)
From: Mystic River Watershed Association printed by Arlington Patch (more)
FAR and Menotomy Bird Event - December 21, 2013
Host: John Sharp
Click picture to watch.
Click picture to see it larger.
A video interview with Claire Hope Cummings, laywer, author, journalist and environmentalist. Founder of the Sacred Land Foundation, now the Cultural Conservancy. Author of Uncertain Peril: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Seeds.
"[I]t's about ... reconnecting spirit, nature, and culture and we have to have all three."
Boston Harbor Association publishes Climate Report for Massachusetts using FEMA as baseline for data by NAVD model &emdash; not other models which Cambridge will use such as ADCIRC.
Thanks to BHA for the scenerios reviewed and clear directives given. (more)
Alewife Reservation has disappeared, but with good scientific reason. (more)
(Requires agencies to withhold permits on floodplains and areas of flooding sensitivities.)
"In considering and issuing permits, licenses and other administrative approvals and decisions, the respective agency, department, board, commission or authority shall also consider reasonably foreseeable climate change impacts, including additional greenhouse gas emissions, and effects, such as predicted sea level rise." (more)
2013 Friends of DCR Parks Network annual conference in Upton Massachusetts.
Center left: Ellen Mass, president of Friends of Alewife Reservation.
Commenters to DEP extracted here are: Kathy Johnson, Anne Marie Lambert, Lucia Lovison, Ellen Mass, Quinton Zondervan, Councilor Dennis Carlone. Other commenters include legislators Representative Dave Rogers and Senator Sean Garballey.
Dennis Carlone, Cambridge City Councillor. "The City's recognition that a vulnerability study is needed tells me that we need to be cautious in developing sensitive areas now under study. It makes great sense to wait for and learn from the vulnerability study recommendations before your Department's final determination is issued." (full letter)
Ellen Mass, President of Friends of Alewife Reservation. "We will not be able to ascertain what future protections are required for this region of the Boston metropolis and our western corridor until the in-depth regional studies are done which will indicate massive flooding for this region during high hurricane level storms. The June 2014 Vulnerability Assessment, a state-wide initiative will either confirm or contradict the proponent's flood assessment predictions." (full letter)
Kathy Johnson, Site Visit Proponent, Appellate, Neighborhood Resident. "Since a "Vulnerability Assessment" is in process in Cambridge with a long list of noted advisors and scientists and university advisors, I ask the DEP to hold off on permits related to flood storage and water elevation." (full letter)
Lucia Lovison-Golob, GISCI, Engineering Geologist and Geophysicist, Friends of Alewife Reservation (FAR) consultant and FAR Board Member. "[I recommend] to wait for the vulnerability study ... while asking to BSC Group to increase the storage tanks to cover for a 10.8 feet NGVD 88 (NOT 10 feet ... as they are designed now)" (full letter)
Quinton Zondervan, President of Green Cambridge. "The climate is changing and we need to change our ways of deciding where to build what. At the very least, we can wait to permit large new buildings in the floodway until the vulnerability study has been concluded. I've added my name to a citizen's petition asking the Department of Environmental Protection to overrule the Conservation Commission’s decision." (full letter)
On Jan. 15, the site visit area was saturated with storm water, almost entirely. Walking on grass was extremely difficult and large pools lay throughout. Geese and birds covered the grass. The Wetlands Protection Act designation (Bordering Land Subject to Flooding-BLSF) is present throughout the building plan area. Three remaining proposed buildings that would be on the 100-year floodplain are part of the Bulfinch Master Plan permitted in 2008 for nearly a million square feet. (more)
DEP site visit at Alewife. 10 citizen appeal brings attention to the FEMA 100 year floodplain and floodway. (more)
This past month, Department of Environmental Protection accepted a 10 citizen Appeal of Cambridge Conservation Commission's permit of 85 thousand sq.ft. for a 4 story hotel directly on the Alewife floodplain (see photos) at a time when Cambridge has begun its region-wide "Vulnerability Study" that will include Alewife and the Charles River watershed. The Study is now on hold for another 6 months in anticipation of the ongoing Central Artery flooding study with Woods Hole research which pertains to climate control of this region. (more)
"A groundbreaking study released Dec. 11, 2013 by the Harvard Forest and the Smithsonian Institution reveals that, if left unchecked, recent trends in the loss of forests to development will undermine significant land conservation gains in Massachusetts, jeopardize water quality, and limit the natural landscape's ability to protect against climate change. The good news is that the research shows alternatives exist for protecting and enhancing vital forest benefits for people and nature. The two-year study is unique in its forward-looking approach and its use of sophisticated computer models to conduct a detailed acre-by-acre analysis of the entire forested landscape of Massachusetts over 50 years..." (article) (full report) (video of status of Massachusetts forests and perilous impacts in the future)
This map shows the Mystic River watershed and the known hot spots -- areas of contaimination. If you zoom in on the Cambridge/Belmont border, you can find Alewife Station, the Alewife Reservation area, and the WIB001 hot spot. Click on WIB001 to see graphs of the history of E. coli and phosphorus readings at that site, with explanations.
December 2013 by Quinton Zondervan, President, Green Cambridge
"The city of Cambridge is in the middle of conducting a Climate Vulnerability Study... We know the storms are coming but we don’t know yet what to do about it. The vulnerability study is meant to provide us with a more detailed idea of what to prepare for in terms of climate changes, including rainfall patterns and flooding..." (full article)
"While we rarely face water scarcity in Belmont, we are subject to the impacts of extreme weather events, such as Hurricane Sandy. With a 28% increase in precipitation in the last decade, stormwater run-off can cause sewers to overflow and pollute our basements, groundwater, streams and ponds. During extreme weather events, stormwater in the Mystic River can back up causing flooding of basements, roads and schools...." (Sustainable Belmont website)
"The recent state court decision favoring the Town of Arlington and a federal mapping study of the floodplain around the Alewife Brook watershed both offer long-awaited recognition of the severity of flooding in this fragile area, and add support to long-standing and broad-based efforts to protect open space in the region..." (more)
Seven out of ten European cities have no formal plans to adapt to climate change and one in three cities have no plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions according to new research. (article)
After 2 years of construction, the largest storm water wetland in New England (3.5 acres) opened with amphitheater, one mile of walkways through a restored wetland and river oxbow for public use by Cambridge, Belmont and Arlington residents and beyond. (Photos) (Video)
Letter published in Wicked Local Cambridge. "Waves of distinctive native flowers, shrubs and trees now flow in the newly constructed marshland as part of the Alewife Reservation Master Plan of DCR, not yet completed..." (more)
Monday, May November 138th 3:30pm - 4:30pm at 165 CambridgePark Drive
Catherine Woodbury led a guided walk through the Alewife Constructed Stormwater Wetland project. Catherine, DPW's Project Manager, gave this tour to Friends of Alewife Reservation and the public.
"New Alewife wetland, with boardwalk, amphitheater, due for Tuesday unveiling", article by Marc Levy. Cambridgeday, October 14, 2013. "More than two years of work making a 3.4-acre wetland at Alewife culminates with a grand opening ..."
Cambridge Storm Water Wetlands project, including photos.
Once a permit application is received and the proposed project is ready for review, the next job is to ensure that the project will not impose flood problems on other properties... (more)
Two western meadow sections of phragmites removed (photos)