Jump to table of contents
Severe impacts on the floodplain forest to surrounding resources and buildings
The Silver Maple Forest: Economic Benefits and Ecological Connections, Amy Mertl, Biology Professor, Lesley University
Hydrology Study of the Belmont Uplands in light of Climate Change on the Mystic River Watershed
Review of Drainage Calculations for Residences at Acorn Park Drive, Bruce Jacobs, HydroAnalysis, Inc.
"The Silver Maple Forest is more valuable as it is now than any development would be on the site, despite what has been lost"
The Silver Maple Forest is still alive, David Morimoto, Lesley University
"[Please] consider ... using the greatly valued 100 year floodplain ... for multiple community possibilities"
Conservation Proposal, Silver Maple Forest Alliance
Peace and Justice Radio (90.3 FM, 6-10am Sundays) interviewed Ellen Mass, FAR President. (download mp3)
by David Morimoto, Journal of Conservation Biology, 1994 (poem)
Tuesday morning October 28th
Two of us proceeded ed with signs and flowers from the Fresh Pond mall to the Silver Maple Forest site via Alewife T station so we were visible to all who were driving, biking and walking to their destinations noting climate change, flooding and animals. At the site, we were confronted with backhoes and noises of construction as they were bundling up the felled trees and clearing the area. We put some flowers on some stumps and said our farewell. It was sad and intimidating as there were a bunch of construction workers and a security detail in a big black car. We walked back with our signs visible so everyone could understand that there is still a community presence and a glimmer of hope that all is not lost.
Belmont Restraining Order to Cease Work is Affirmed. Cutting has Stopped.
Cracking branches like breaking bones were louder than the crashes and thuds of the 80 year old trees towering over rich habitat within the Upper Alewife Basin in Belmont, bordered by Cambridge and Arlington, with no equal floodplain woodlands in the region, performing ecological nourishment, carbon sequestration functions, and green protection for the grand biodiversity of this New England home to wildlife species of 20 mammal and over 90 bird species, 40 of which are nesting. With seeming careful calculation, an agonizing death knell sounded for the gorgeous yellow leaved deeply lobed maples as hundreds were indiscriminently cut or bulldozed and hit the ground, falling on the public land and marshes - abandoned to die in full leaf, covering the ground in a corpse like blanket. (more)
Leading bike advocate, founder of TROMP, dance teacher and noted Cambridge citizen, is on a hunger strike for the safety and care of citizens. "Please find the attached flyer I was hoping to give to the Governor today. He was detained elsewhere. I will eat no solid food until the carnage at the Silver Maple Forest is stopped and new environmental impact studies are presented."
In February 2010 a storm Xynthia provoked the death of 29 persons in La Faute-sur-Mer, en Vendee. While the trial must conclude on Friday, the prosecutor's office requested on Wednesday, October 15 various prison sentences against three of the four elected representatives in the affair. The former mayor of the community, Rene Marratier, is affected to serve as an example. The verdict will be made known on December 12. (more)
The unravelling is happening before our eyes. Bees, deer, snakes, birds, and humans exodus. My heart goes out to US. All of you. ALL OF YOU. Lets converge Monday to mourn, keep hope burning, and make our presence known. Let's tell those who proclaim support to show it by standing with us, with their selectmen congressmen suits blessed by the forest soil, lest they be legacied as hypocrites who betrayed their kin. (more)
Belmont, MA – October 17, 2014, 9am – Four Cambridge residents were arrested this morning for trespassing within the Belmont and Cambridge Silver Maple Forest presently being clear-cut. Signs along Acorn Park Drive in Belmont with over 20 supporters read, “No climate change,” “Don’t cut our floodplain silver maple trees,” “Stop the cutting before it’s too late.” (more)
Save our Silver Maple Forest
It’s a flood plain and they’ve started cutting… but it’s not too late.
Belmont Selectmen have a double message from last night's meeting, but we support Selectman Paolillo town political reservation of economic pressure the new development will place on the town's basic services. At the same time they were willing once again to hear from Lesley biology professors Amy Mertl and David Morimoto who presented a strong argument for town enhancing benefits for natural resources functions and their financial savings from severe water/flood and pollution damages in the years ahead. New Selectman Bagdadi also applauded their economic research on the "Uplands" and Chair Rojas said they were doing everything they could. We do not know what that means or does anyone but them (Everything is in closed executive session).
After the trees that protect it have been cut and the animals left homeless.
PLEASE help spread the word.
FAR and Silver Maple Forest events coming up.
Sign up to participate in the HONK March/Parade.
From Max Lockwood, Marathon Runner from Washington D.C.
Forest / Wilderness Therapy - Saves people's lives by bringing them emotional balance and well being.
Forest Walks - Induce health and well being and this also extends life and overall human well being.
Bird Habitat and Birding - Provide a sanctuary for birds; Allows humans to learn about birds.
Wild flowers and plants - Provide a sanctuary for rare and common species of plants and flowers. Provide a safe place for people to visit and learn about them.
Educational opportunities - Provides schools (elementary, middle, high school and college) with invaluable opportunities to work first hand with animals and bird habitat, wildflowers and plants,
Outdoor recreation - Provides numerous health benefits including exercise and emotional well being.
Cleaner air - Provides additional oxygen to the air, improving the health of the current and future generations.
Nature drawing – Gives local artists and students of art an opportunity to access new and natural beauty in close proximity to their school or an urban environment.
Small river floodplain forest - Provides essential floodplain protection for the communities around and downstream from it.
Carbon Sequestration - Provides uptake of carbon from atmosphere during increasing climate change.
Vermont's largest city has a new success to add to its list of socially conscious achievements: 100 percent of its electricity now comes from renewable sources such as wind, water, and biomass. It's not that Cambridge can replicate Burlington – we're in a whole different geographic situation, but the article is testimony to what long-term master planning can do to carry a city into a sustainable future. (more)
(Original garden was behind Alewife T Station)
Registered with Ma. Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
"In this episode of Not for Nothin', I interview Ellen Mass of the Friends of the Alewife Reservation about this precious open space that straddles Cambridge, Arlington and Belmont. Development is threatening to destroy the reservation, situated on the Mystic River Watershed, which is home to irreplaceable flora and fauna." -Susan Fleischmann (video)
"Uplands Area Transformed Over Centuries", first in a series of articles about the history of the Belmont Uplands by Anne Marie Lambert in Belmont Citizens Forum newsletter September-October.
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
By noted ecologist Patrick Fairbairn (document)
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)
West Cambridge Environmental Center (brochure)
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.
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)
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)
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)
H 516 passed by legislature. From Vermont Natural Resources Council. (more)
David Landskov, FAR Board
‘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)
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)
Recent appearance with attention on methane, the Arctic and Greenland. (article from Daily Kos)
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)
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
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.
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.
Globe article notes demise of red tail with mistaken poison location
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.
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.
A Climate video series by International scientists. Produced in China. Series of A Civilization Journey of Climate. (more)
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 )
Presentation by Anne Marie Lambert of Sustainable Belmont, April 2, 2014, at the Belmont Public Library:
US Geological Survey (USGS) 01103025 ALEWIFE BROOK NEAR ARLINGTON, MA.
Data on Alewife Brook flow rates from 2011-04-04 forward. (more)
The Sunday School program from First Parish in Cambridge visited the Alewife Reservation. (more)
Sighted recently by a Belmont Light employee at Blair Pond in Cambridge and Belmont.
This newsletter has vital and interesting information about recycling ideas for you and your home area. (newsletters)
Thanks to Randy Mail for this.
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)
Full of things to learn and do.
Article on construction of the Alewife Storm Water Wetlands. (more)
From Engineer of Montgomery and Watson, Bill Pisano, long term friend of Alewife Reservation.
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)
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.
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)
Time to re-think modern architecture, design and efficiency. Seattle may have the greenest biomimicry building in the world. (more)
Recovery of the Climate
Scientific Report from Eastern Europe
New Water Paradigm (more)
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)
(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)
On Feb. 26 at Leslie Univeristy “deep ecology” speakers included wildlife assessor David Brown and landscape storm water wetland designer Duke Bitsko. (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)
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)
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)
Letter from Arlington Vision 2020's Sustainable Arlington to Rep. Garbally and Rep. Rogers
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.
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)
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)
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.