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Save the Silver Maple Forest
Save The Silver Maple Forest Logo


A developer plans to clearcut 700+ trees in the Silver Maple Forest in August to build almost 300 apartment units. He already has almost all the permits and expects to get the last permits and begin clearcutting -- possibly within the next month.

If we do not act NOW, we will lose this unique urban wild resource forever!

Read Silver Maple Forest in Belmont Open Space - Report to the State

Town places high value on open spaces and Uplands:
Belmont Comprehensive Plan
Belmont Open Space And Recreation Plan
Belmont Five-Year Action Plan - Chapter 9

Donate
Help preserve this unique urban wild that serves our communities so well!
Silver Maple Forest 2014: Did you Know?
  • Did you know that the Silver Maple Forest is likely to be clear cut very soon if the developer has his way?
  • Did you know that many tons of climate carbon sequestration relief, and floodplain-protecting trees (hundreds) will be felled?
  • Did you know that the "Uplands" is technically a "small river flood plain forest"?
  • Did you know that the "uplands" is really a rare silver maple forest and it is unique in the Boston area, that holds the entire Alewife urban wild (Alewife Reservation) together for 19 species of mammals and 90 species of birds?
  • Did you know that the towns of Belmont and Arlington have both voted against the development of the Uplands on June 28, 2004?
  • Did you know that the town of Belmont cannot vote on whether to approve or not, the granted 40 B Housing application - a Massachusetts mandate in conjunction with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development?
  • Did you know that the removal of most of the Uplands (all upland area around the flood plain and vegetated buffering wetlands), will scatter or kill much very rare urban nesting and hibernating wildlife? Fisher, otter, fox, coyote, rabbit, muskrats, mink, etc.?
  • Did you know that O'Neill's 40 B filing estimates up to 1000 people, or 299 units, in the middle of stagnant mosquito marshes, wetlands and sensitive ecology systems with no amenities unless they are added to the already inappropriate plan?
  • Did you know that Little River and Little Pond in Belmont and Cambridge already have dangerously high levels of bacteria and pathogens tested by Mystic River Watershed Association?
  • Did you know that there is already a flooding issue along the flood plain and river where the developer will discharge into?
  • Did you know that Cambridge and state have extensive cleanup measures proposed, and are far along in their planned clean up of a part of Little River and Alewife Brook by 85 percent?
  • Did you know that the Mass Historical Society was against building on the Uplands because it believes that archeological relics may still be present?
  • Did you know that because of the great fill 60 years ago, that much of the Uplands has rich deposits and an undersoil that is excellent for borrowing and hibernating, but unstable for a huge building, such as the "40B" one proposed for nearly 1000 persons.
Floodplain facts from a Belmont Town Meeting member

  • Precipitation data show that at mid latitudes like the northeast US it is raining a lot more than it used to.
  • Storm data show that the intensity and frequency of severe storms is increasing in the northeast.
  • Models by some of the country's best climate scientists show that estimates of the "24-hour 100-year storm" started increasing dramatically in the 1990s.
  • The percentage of impervious surface in the Alewife Brook watershed has been increasing steadily since the 1930s and 1940s, when we started converting from an agricultural economy to an automobile-driven economy of manufacturing and industrial office parks, full of urban sprawl; it is now over 47%.
  • NOAA reports a ten-inch rise in sea level in Boston harbor over the last 100 years.
  • The above factors (and others) have resulted in increases in "peak flow" during any rain storm, a key indicator of flooding studied by Professor Vogel of Tufts on the Aberjona River, where they subsequently analyzed and built rain gardens and bioswales at carefully studied locations in order to slow down and filter stormwater.
  • The Army Corps of Engineers Hurricane Evacuation maps advise first responders to evacuate much of the Alewife Brook watershed as a "Zone 1" area should a hurricane of Category 2 or higher strike land in this area.
  • To date developers have had a lot more money, motivation, and staff to analyze and study what it takes to move forward than government officials and citizens have had to sort out the complexities of regional development during a time of apparent climate change.

For more information, call FAR at 617-415-1884.

Contact your Legislators

Find your legislators.

Thanks to the following authors for their letters, which you can use for writing your own:
From Ben Beckwith to State Representative David Rogers.
From Walter Kittredge to Martha Coakley
From Ben Beckwith to Councillor Carlone
From Ben Beckwith to Selectman Rojas
From Pat Irwin to Marc McGovern
From Quinton Zondervan To City Manager Rossi

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We need volunteers to help with distributing postcards and other literature, attend meeetings, make phone calls, etc. and we will tell you when specific events are happening.

We will never sell your information to another organization.


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Help preserve this unique urban wild that serves our communities so well!



Save The Silver Maple Forest - Recent News
Cambridge Policy Orders on Silver Maple Forest, passed 2014-07-28

Cambridge Policy Order O-4 summary:

Cambridge Policy Order O-27 summary:

  • Commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Recreation: Require the developer to show, in an open hearing of the Belmont Conservation Commission, that the storm water systems of the development can indeed handle 8.6 inches of rain in a 24 hour, 100-year storm;
  • Commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Recreation: Consult with the Cambridge Conservation Commission regarding risks associated with extreme precipitation events;
  • City Clerk: Forward this resolution to the Commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Why transforming the Silver Maple Forest into a commons is the key to saving it from development
by Palatano (more)

Silver Maple Forest Alliance requests help from the Sierra Club
(more)
heron
photo: Kathy Johnson
Reflections On The Silver Maple Forest By David Morimoto
(more)
People's Climate March -- this Saturday

Environmental activist Bill McKibben
(photo: BillMcKibben.com)

"Two Silences and a Big Loud Noise at the People's Climate March"

Land Valuation Misdeeds in Belmont

Accruing profit value on a 40B affordable housing property. The US Supreme Court has precedents against this type of tax payer gouging. (Testimony to Belmont's Zoning Board of Appeals- 2006)

Know The Silver Maple Forest Floodplain Facts
(more)

Environmental Bond bill signed without Silver Maple Forest

FAR is pleased that Governor Patrick signed H. 4375 “An Act Providing for the Preservation and Improvement of Land, Parks and Clean Energy in the Commonwealth” into law, thanks to Environmental League of Massachusetts. But we are not pleased about the omission of silver maple foreest which has been our preservation charge and hard work over the past 2 years trying to bring it back to the legislative arena since it was vetoed by Gov. Patrick in 2012 after passing House and Senate by then-Rep. Brownsberger and then-Watertown legislator colleague, Steve Tolman.

Arlington and Belmont Commissions still using out of date rain data

"The 24-hour 100-year storm is now estimated at 8.8. inches instead of the 6.5 inches estimated in 1961. It is my understanding that the stormwater management design of the proposed project was made to accommodate 6.5 inches of rain, an event which is now known to occur every 30 years instead of every 100 years." (more)

Alewife North Trail Adirondack bridge at high water level during FAR Ecology Camp 2014 at wildlife walk, led by Anne Marie Lambert
two people coming out of the forest
photo: Elley Vanderlinde

Adirondack bridge built by FAR summer campers of 2012.

Cambridge Day newspaper Editor Marc Levy says forest City Policy Order a Washout -- Watered Down

Cambridge Day: "Weather swells storm of public comment, but Silver Maple Forest order is washout"
Your Arlington: "Storm Of Public Comment Favoring Silver Maple Forest, But Council Waters Down Order"

Damaging flooding hits North Cambridge at Alewife

Letter from Cambridge Housing Authority -- assessment of flood damage. (letter)

Silver Maple Forest Notification Letter To State On Climate Change Impacts 2014

From Belmont Storm Water Working Group - Anne Marie Lambert (letter)

Poem Draft By Maya Apfelbaum

A poem for saving the Silver Maple Forest (more)

march to rally location
Wicked Local Staff Photo
David Gordon
Environmentalists protest the silver maple forest project

(more)

Silver Maple Forest Rally and Parade on June 28, 2014



 
News


photo: Kathy Harmony
Reflections on the Silver Maple Forest by David Morimoto

Where’s the Lorax when you need him?
The trees have something to say to us.
Published in the Arlington Advocate
2014-09-06: part 1
To come: part 2

Silver Maple Forest Will Go Say Cambridge Officials

August- City Manager Speaks to Belmont and Arlington officials on purchase
August- City DPW Commissioner Describes Silver Maple Forest Development and Construction

Optimism and Inspiration for future of Urban Cities- International Sustainable Cities Newsletter (here)
Ecology Camp 2014

15 urban high school campers from Cambridge learn everything about the Alewife Reservation's ecology. They are having a great time this summer.

2014 Ecology Camp Daily Log - latest entry: June 30

2014 Ecology Camp Weekly Log - latest entry: Week 2

FAR Newsletter, Volume 1, Number 4, July/August 2014

  • FAR Ecology Camp 2014 Visits The State House
  • FAR Ecology Camp 2014 Ends
  • Editorial: Save the Silver Maple Forest!
(newsletter)

2006: Belmont Uplands Ecological Overview

By noted ecologist Patrick Fairbairn (document)

2013: Silver Maple Forest Passed Unanimously

(more)

Belmont Conservation Commission Cites Numerous Infractions of the Wetlands Protection Act

(ruling)

Alewife Greenway Cleanup Saturday July 26

Alewife Brook Greenway users are invited to join in a cleanup of a section of the path in Arlington on Saturday, July 26, from 10:00am - Noon. (more)

Forest Therapy highly Recommended

(Japan Times article "‘Forest therapy’ taking root")

Thank you From Mass Environmental League and 90 organizations including FAR to Legislators

(more)

New Storm Water Wetlands Brochure

West Cambridge Environmental Center (brochure)

The River is a Restless Spirit

The Silver Maple Floodplain Forest
Audubon Sanctuary March 2006

Mass. Audubon Highlights Silver Maple Forest Values and Conservation Imperative

The River is a Restless Spirit
Author Gayle Taylor Goddard has been in publishing for over 30 years.

people working at garden
Alewife Reservation Community Native Entry Garden

In photo: Ellen Clippenger (City of Cambridge), Ellen Mass (FAR), Sara Butler (Architect), Sami Smith (Lesley Intern), Bill Ackerly (FAR board), Stephen Gillies (FAR member), Lanny Callanan (DCR).

(three yeaes growth of flora)

Black crowned night heron at Yates Pond at Alewife T stop
pople listening to guide
Fresh Pond Residents Alliance trip to Alewife Reservation

(more)

Urban Gem Article for Arlington Advocate - Lorene Melvin

My Early morning walk with Ellen Mass of FAR brought sightings of species of warblers including yellow, black and white and yellow rump warblers, ovenbirds, myrtle, and palm warblers. (more)

Friends of Alewife Reservation signs onto Environmental Bond Bill
Buzz on bridge
Alewife Red Tail Saga

Buzz has been putting on quite a show for everyone, feverishly bringing in dozens if not hundreds of sizable sticks to the atrium of 185 Alewife Brook Parkway. You can see the old nest from 2010 & 2011 on the left (south) side of the atrium, and the new “nest” on what we called the “annex, opposite the old 185 nest.” (more)

apartment building
Belmont Citizens Forum on Overdevelopment in North Cambridge

(more)

VNRC email header
Vermont passes state laws protecting lakes and ponds and wildlife habitat on the shores

H 516 passed by legislature. From Vermont Natural Resources Council. (more)

Sustainable Arlington member Aggragates Climate Change News

David Landskov, FAR Board

turtles mating
Yates Pond: Turtles Mating, May 2014

photo: Kathy Johnson
10 Examples of 'Green' Architecture in Africa
sandbag houses
sandbag houses Image: www.designother90.org

‘Green’ has become a buzzword for sustainable, safe, energy efficient and/or economic. The Encyclopaedia Britannica describes green architecture as a ‘philosophy of architecture that advocates sustainable energy sources, the conservation of energy, the reuse and safety of building materials, and the siting of a building with consideration of its impact on the environment’. In the world of architecture we are all trying to go green but is this the same in Africa and if it is, how is it being manifested? (more)

Seal of Dept Energy and Environmental Affairs
Friends Groups Protect our Parks and Reserves Across the Commonwealth - JOIN FAR today
MIT Environmental Club at Rainy Earth Day/Park Serve Day
dump truck heaped with large metal and plastic trash
Earth Day and Park Serve Day A Great Success

Results of Mystic River Earth Day and Department of Conservation and Recreation Park Serve Day could not have been better. Despite the lousy weather for a cleanup program, FAR was delighted to receive students and residents from BU, MIT and UMass, and from Belmont and a worker from the local bowling alley. Participants heaped a pickup truck with trash bags and heaped a dump truck with large metal and plastic trash. (more)

Jim Hansen at MIT on Climate with extensive scientific response blog

Recent appearance with attention on methane, the Arctic and Greenland. (article from Daily Kos)

capture of FAR Wildlife Blog
The new FAR Wildlife Blog is open

The link is in the green column on the right of the page.

Mass. Rivers and Wetlands Month Calendar

Mass Fish and Wildlife produces a loaded calendar for Ma. rivers and wetlands activities. http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/dfg/der/riversandwetlandscalendar2014.pdf

FAR urges everyone to keep up with this state agency department and calendar to know all of the marvelous opportunities throughout Massachusetts for those that live in the state and visit it. (more)

Canada Geese Understood

Kathy Johnson from Arlington Advocate

Canada geese are extremely visible and 'in your face', and mostly considered a nuisance. We often don't notice their regal stance and graceful flight in perfect V-alignment whereby we know spring is here or winter is on the way. (more)

Ruby soaring
End of an Era- Buzz and Ruby Homage with Paul Roberts Flickr photos

There was understandable excitement when Ruby was found incubating on March 8. There are at least three spots from which you can clearly see the nest, but you really needed a scope to be able to see if a bird might be sitting low in the nest. And it quickly became clear that the nest had been built up, so that it was often difficult if not impossible to determine if a bird was sitting tight (low) in the nest. (more)

Ruby soaring. Photo: Paul Roberts. More photos at
https://www.flickr.com/photos/30136859@N06/sets/72157627784588301/

New Signs At Alewife Reservation
new sign

Sign Making at Alewife Reservation with National Civilian Community Corp and artist, Jennifer O'Donnell. Vermont cedar boards and making of wooden materials, Stuart Soboleski.

Sixteen signs were erected at the newly paved and created Alewife Belmont to Brighton pathway which give directives for observation, respect of wildlife, share the path, bird sanctuary, and welcome to the Alewife Reservation. Thanks to the above for their contributions.

Official New York City Wetlands Planning, Post-Sandy
cover of plaNEW YORK CITY WETLANDS: A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK

plaNEW YORK CITY WETLANDS:
A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK
The City of New York
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg

[W]etlands play a critical role in maintaining water quality and provide important wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities. … The somewhat overlapping Federal, State, and local regulatory regimes … contain gaps that may leave critical remaining wetlands vulnerable to a variety of direct and indirect pressures. This white paper identifies those gaps and suggests general approaches to filling them.
(pdf document)

Articles feature Beloved red tail Ruby death by poison

Globe article notes demise of red tail with mistaken poison location (more)
Wide concerns grow about development projects at Alewife and Fresh Pond (more)
Dead animals are showing up at Alewife and recently Ruby, the noted Red tail was killed from rodenticide and proven by an official necropsy. Although not known what killed the 4 geese and opossum by the storm water wetlands oxbow and new forebay adjacent to Cambridge Park Drive at the “Triangle”, we must immediately appeal to leaders in the city and owners of newly permitted construction to avoid all rat poison or rodenticides, and instead use other methods.

The DCR funding call has been voted on

Mass. Budget Allotments to DCR: results are as follows: We did well on Green Budget amendment co-sponsorships, particularly for our top priorities -- the approximate current number of co-sponsors are DCR Seasonal Staff (34), DCR Parks & Rec (29), and DEP Admin (15). THANK YOU for reaching out to legislators and helping mobilize people throughout MA to get these numbers!! Legislators can still sign on as co-sponsors after today until the budget is debated in late April. Sent from Environmental League of Mass. By Erica Mattison.

Warm and Cold We Share Together

A Climate video series by International scientists. Produced in China. Series of A Civilization Journey of Climate. (more)

Sustainable Belmont organization spotlighted Belmont Uplands Silver Maple Forest
map
<>

Its history and conditions, legal status and present preservation efforts

Presenters: Anne Marie Lambert and Idith Haber Kisin, in behalf of preserving the Belmont Uplands
Article by Ellen Mass

( Requested slide shows from Coalition to Preserve Belmont Uplands and Belmont Citizen Forum )

Farmhouses on Hill Road, Belmont
Anne Marie Lambert shared Alewife History and Hydrology with Belmonters

Presentation by Anne Marie Lambert of Sustainable Belmont, April 2, 2014, at the Belmont Public Library:

Belmont Uplands: History, Relevance
A Belmont Perspective on Some Regional Issues

USGS report on Alewife

US Geological Survey (USGS) 01103025 ALEWIFE BROOK NEAR ARLINGTON, MA.
Data on Alewife Brook flow rates from 2011-04-04 forward. (more)

First Parish Cambridge Trip to Alewife Reservation, March 23

The Sunday School program from First Parish in Cambridge visited the Alewife Reservation. (more)

eagle on sandy shore of Mystic Lake
photo: George McLean
Eagle on Mystic Lake

Sighted recently by a Belmont Light employee at Blair Pond in Cambridge and Belmont.

Cambridge's Recycling Newsletter

This newsletter has vital and interesting information about recycling ideas for you and your home area. (newsletters)

Thanks to Randy Mail for this.

photo of wetlands
photo-Art Michaels
Wetlands: The Vital Link

This article explains the differences among kinds of wetlands, why wetlands are important to us, and why fish, amphibians and reptiles need wetlands. (more) (entire series downloadable, added April 3, 2014)

Friends of Fresh Pond has a new Website - Check it out

Full of things to learn and do.

(their website) (their events)

cover page
Federal Government Engineering Journal Spotlights Alewife Storm Water Wetlands

Article on construction of the Alewife Storm Water Wetlands. (more)

From Engineer of Montgomery and Watson, Bill Pisano, long term friend of Alewife Reservation.

Natural Resources Alert

This Nasa Earth Observatory image shows a storm system circling around an area of extreme low pressure in 2010, which many scientists attribute to climate change.
Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

A new study partly-sponsored by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution. (more)

photo of meeting at Tobias School
Fresh Pond and Alewife Residents met at Tobin

Fresh Pond and Alewife Residents met at Tobin on 3-25-2014 to discuss urban planning, zoning, moratorium and basics of development and over-development. Round of applause after FAR noted the importance of including the climate change factor in residential living conditions in low lying watershed area such as the Mystic River watershed.

photo of canada geese walking among wildflowers
Three Canada Geese Deserve Eulogy

Canada geese are extremely visible and 'in your face'. We often don't notice their regal stance and graceful flight in perfect V alignment whereby we know spring is here or winter is on the way. In flight, male and female honk in sequence, indicating their instinctive manner of migration and love life. As a child, a goose approached me and bent his long graceful neck, then lightly bit my big toe. It looked up at me as eye to eye we met, and then walked away.  Stunned, not hurt, I got the point. It was a diplomatic gesture of territory and I never forgot. (more)

photo of rooftop array of photovoltaic cells -
Biomimicry - Buildings of the Future

Time to re-think modern architecture, design and efficiency. Seattle may have the greenest biomimicry building in the world. (more)

photo of grass trees, mountains, sky
Recovery of the Climate Report

Recovery of the Climate
Scientific Report from Eastern Europe
New Water Paradigm (more)


photo: Kathy Johnson
What killed the Canada geese by the storm water wetland/oxbow?

Three dead geese found 3/10 with a long oil slick and either algae or fecal matter by carcasses at the oxbow entry at Little River. City of Cambridge is investigating cause. Poison and contamination spread is the concern of Friends of Alewife Reservation. (more) (flickr album)

Storm surge map of Mystic River Watershed
Click for interactive map
Climate Change Map of Alewife - Fresh Pond in North Cambridge

(Mystic River watershed climate surge data)
Map sent by Michele Sprengnether of Fresh Pond Residence Alliance

This map shows what area around Alewife has over a 1 in 6 chance of flooding by 2020. (more)

LETTER: Ecologists praise Alewife's urban wildlife

On Feb. 26 at Leslie Univeristy “deep ecology” speakers included wildlife assessor David Brown and landscape storm water wetland designer Duke Bitsko. (more)

a robin eats sumac berries
A robin caught eating some sumac at Alewife Reservation recently. Courtesy Kathy Johnson
Spring Arrives A Little Early for Some

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)


Formerly on the endangered species list, peregrine falcons are increasingly common in cities.
Photo Credit: LAURA ERICKSON
Biodiversity Support for Cities Expands in 2014

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)

map of Alewife Brook Watershed
Green Infrastructure Plans Moving Forward in Belmont and Arlington

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)

State and National Storm Water By-Law could protect Belmont and Cambridge silver maples

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)

Alewife Brook
Mystic River Watershed Association helps bring attention to reduction of CSO discharges into the Little River and into Alewife Brook

From: Mystic River Watershed Association printed by Arlington Patch (more)

Arlington environmentalists ask delay for FEMA "floodway" building plan

Letter from Arlington Vision 2020’s Sustainable Arlington to Rep. Garbally and Rep. Rogers

Preparing for the Rising Tide
Boston Harbor Association publishes Climate Report for Massachusetts

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)

Disappearance of Alewife Reservation

Alewife Reservation has disappeared, but with good scientific reason. (more)

Massachusetts Climate Change State Regulations from 2009

(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 Network Annual conference in Upton MA
group picture of conference attendees

2013 Friends of DCR Parks Network annual conference in Upton Massachusetts.
Center left: Ellen Mass, president of Friends of Alewife Reservation.

Excerpts from Five Comment Reports from January 15 DEP site visit participants on hotel development at Alewife Reservation area

Commeters 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)

GUEST COMMENTARY Need to investigate hotel plan at Alewife

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)

flooding in Discovery Park
Cambridge Environmentalists Cite Need to Delay and Investigate Hotel Plan at Alewife (Department of Environmental Protection site visit)

DEP site visit at Alewife. 10 citizen appeal brings attention to the FEMA 100 year floodplain and floodway. (more)

flooding in Discovery Park
Flooding at Discovery Park - Alewife Reservation

(more)

Department of Environmental Protection accepts Appeal from 10 Cambridge citizens to block or to delay a new hotel off of Route 2 by Alewife Reservation
BSC engineers for Bulfinch point out new hotel site

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)

New Harvard/Smithsonian Report Warns of Forest Removal
view from Bare Mt to NW

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)

picture of hotspot - beautiful river area
Hot spot area WIB001 within the Alewife Reservation.
Hot Spots In The Mystic River Watershed

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.

Vulnerability Study Must be Complete- Stop Alewife Permits Until Then

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)

Sustainable Belmont on Storm water

December 2013
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)

icon of Arlington Land Trust News 2004 Fall front page
Past views of Alewife floodplain still relevant today (from Arlington Land Trust News 2004)

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)

map of europe
Sustainable Cities Collective writer says, "Only one in Four European Cities prepared for Climate Change"

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)

(older news articles)

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Regional, National and International Climate Change
Aggregated by David Landskov of Sustainable Arlington and FAR board member.
Local Resources
About Friends of Alewife Reservation

The Alewife Reservation is a unique natural resource for the communities of Belmont, Arlington and Cambridge and home to hundreds of species, including hawks, coyotes beavers, snapping turtles, wild turkeys and muskrats, the reservation is a unique natural resource for the community. ( interactive map with directions )

Friends of Alewife Reservation works to protect and restore this wild area and the surrounding area for the water quality, native plants, animals and over 90 bird species with paths for walking, running and biking, recreation, and for classroom education and research. We regularly steward and preserve the Reservation area for wildlife and for the enjoyment of present and future generations.


photo of nature walk
(video)


FAR Accomplishments In 2013
Virtual Tour
Right now, view the wildlife-rich North Trail of Alewife Reservation.
Alewife Master Plan
Review the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)
Master Plan for Alewife Reservation.
History of Cambridge
Free Download from Google Play
The Birds of the Cambridge Region of Massachusetts

by William Brewster 1906
Nuttal Ornithological Society

Biodiversity Study of Alewife Reservation Area: Species, Habitat, Ecosystems Inventories by David Brown, wildlife assessor (2003, 2004.) Published by and available from FAR for $10. Write or call for your copy. (sample)

Updated Dave Brown Inventories (2008, 2010)

Inventories of Alewife Reservation Wetland Plants by Walter Kittredge, Botanist (2013)
Help preserve this unique urban wild
 
Friends of Alewife Reservation (FAR) office is in the Fresh Pond Mall
186 Alewife Brook Parkway, Suite 304, Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: 617-415-1884
Email: info@friendsofalewifereservation.org

For technical problems with this website, email: webmaster@friendsofalewifereservation.org