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New Save Our Forest Team (SOFT) created

February 22, 2003

First hearing on the forest:
(Storm water and sewer connections)
March 4th, 2003, at 5:30 pm, Cambridge City Hall.
Call: Ernie, (617) 491-0166

A new independent Save Our Forest Team (SOFT) has developed from various groups and individuals in Cambridge, Belmont and Arlington to try and save the very unusual and ecologically required 6 or so acres of Silver Maple forest in Belmont, which is also the core habitat area of the Alewife Reservation of 115 acres. The group which met yesterday at Summer Shack in Cambridge, February 22, will be trying to bring attention to the deterioration of the standard of life without our forests and rich ecosystems that will be destroyed with removal of the major forest area of the Belmont Uplands which brings together 3 municipalities.

Although the Uplands was in the Belmont news with meetings and staunch opposition for several years, eventually, the group was beaten by lengthy hearings and voting of Town members to rezone for commercial purposes, based on tax base promises and large initial housing allotment for the town and a narrowing of the original building site plans with environmental attention to the area.

However, after the ecological significance was demonstrated and its rarity as a forest, as core of the Reservation was presented, another group arose to bring attention to the environmental necessity to the property, both for climate, rich habitat of many mammal and bird species, and its value as floodplain.

The City of Cambridge has stated that it can handle the sewage and stormwater hook ups from Belmont, as it presently takes much of Belmont's water in its own system. SOFT has initiated a Hearing by some of its members to bring the issues of environmental impact to the City Council in order to demonstrate severe impact on downstream communities, and the destruction of vast habitat.

A regional approach is being sought by the Team to handle the issue. Harvard, MIT, former state officials and others are being asked to bring a team of specialists, citizens, professional strategists and owners together in order to negotiate another site for the proposed buildling.

Mammal, bird and plant surveys can be found at
Other surveys in the works are vernal pool investigation, wetland plant determination by engineering classes.

Members of the Team:
Ernest Kirwan - Cambridge Chair
David Hobbie - Arlington attorney
Peter Alden - author of nature guidebooks
Sue Bass - Belmont citizen
Jim Graves - Belmont citizen
Suzie Watson - Arlington citizen and FAR member
Ellen Mass - Cambridge resident and FAR member
John Moot - Cambridge Neighborhood Association
Ed Koenig - Arlington citizen
Elizabeth Grady - Cambridge resident
Jennifer Griffith - Arlington citizen
Mike Nakagawa - Cambridge resident- engineer
Cambridge Church - Save our Forest group