Blair Pond Site Visit
Tuesday, March 2, 2004
Attending: Jennifer Wright, Cambridge Conservation Commission, Catherine Woodbury, Cambridge Department of Public Works, Glen Clancy, Belmont Community Development, Ellen Mass, FAR, Dan Driscoll, Department of Conservation and Recreation, Stewart Sanders, FAR, Friends of Blair Pond, Lizzie Feigenbaum, Amy Flax and Susan Agger recording notes
The Friends of Alewife Reservation helped to coordinate the Blair Pond site visit. Lizzie Feigenbaum and Amy Flax live on the pond and are concerned the pond is filling in at an alarming rate. Lizzie is a contact person for Blair Pond and is on the Steering Committee of FAR.
The overall consensus concerning restoration and maintenance of Blair Pond is to consider competing elements and then to list priorities. Elements needing consideration are water inflow, water outflow, siltation, invasive plant species, dredging and water quality.
Damage and dumping was discovered at the end of Flanders Road on DCR property mid-February. It's difficult to identify who dumped soil and materials on the site. It's important to find a solution to prevent future dumping and damage.
Possible solutions to litter and dumping on DCR property:
- Natural fencing - will prevent litter only. Plowing and snow will destroy natural fencing.
- Large boulders - will prevent dumping and plows but not litter. This would be the most expensive solution.
- Metal guardrail planted heavily on one side - will prevent litter, cars, plows and dumping. Dan Driscoll feels it's possible the DCR would put up
- Spinelli building occupants put chain up at night and weekends to prevent vehicles from dumping on the pond.
- Educate and encourage surrounding businesses to take an interest in the pond and to be watchful of dumping.
The DCR is responsible for cleaning up what has already been dumped.
- Much of the soil can be raked out.
- A pick-up truck is needed to clean the site.
- Dumping at the site has been documented with photos.
- Letters from both Cambridge and Belmont residents to the DCR will help make the extensive cleanup and guardrail project a priority.
Would the DCR consider implementing some of the longer term goals of the Blair Pond Master Plan?
- Dan feels that with limited resources, we need to consider priorities.
Where are property and town lines?
- According to Belmont and Cambridge maps Flanders remains public from street to DCR property.
- Glen Clancy will confirm whether entire parking lot is public or partially private on Belmont maps.
- Glen will also determine who is in charge of plowing.
- Once plowing is determined a Snow Removal Plan should be done.
- The Cambridge/Belmont line splits the Brick building that houses Financial Partners and John Whittemore.
- Dan Driscoll confirms there is parking lot pavement on DCR property.
Stewart Sanders will share the Herring Monitoring Program, which impacts Blair Pond, at the FAR Annual Meeting Wednesday evening.
Stewart also states that River Herring can only jump 3-4 inches.
Does the City of Cambridge have long term plans in place dealing with some of the flow issues in the area?
- Infiltration and cross flows are very difficult to track and are very expensive to fix.
- The City of Cambridge has a plan that involves 450 acres in Belmont and 50 acres in Cambridge to address water contamination. Cambridge cleans area pipes and has a priority and commitment to protect the Fresh Pond Reservoir.
- Wellington Brook water is contaminated with raw sewage and oil. The City does not exactly know where the raw sewage is coming from.
- Belmont reports that sanitary sewers are disintegrating. Raw sewage is carried to a point then it drops out as contamination. It is often very hard to determine the source. Currently, Belmont plans to upgrade the neighborhood behind the Grove Street playground, Little Pond area and one of the Belmont School (?) neighborhoods. Each year Belmont allocates $1M to continue this effort.
- Cambridge has also been having conversations with Belmont and Arlington about how to address flooding and contamination.
- Neighboring towns are sharing information and communicating more regarding these issues.
- The siltation issue is a different issue from flooding.
- Tom G.??? ,Belmont Town Engineer sits on the Flood Committee. He's the one to ask about flooding in the area.
The group then moved to Wellington Brook to look at the culverts and their condition.
Is there any way to look at the situation of cleaning the culverts so water can come into the pond more easily?
There are two round pipes that come from Clay Pit Pond into Wellington Brook. The square pipe on the left carries water from Blanchard Road and the Fresh Pond pipe.
- There is an inverted siphon that comes out of the clay pit pond outlet. This should certainly cut down on silt coming from Clay Pit Pond.
- There's a sign from Fresh Pond Animal Hospital that has fallen in the Brook. The hospital needs to be reminding by the City of Cambridge to remove the sign from the Brook.
- There are stacked wooden pallets at the edge of the brook. These often end up in the Brook according to observers. Businesses should be reminded not to leave pallets at the edge of the Brook.
- There is a build up of debris just downstream of the culverts. The debris is acting as a "catching device" for stones, debris and probably silt. It is hard to determine whether the debris has been dumped or is the fall out from a broken pipe.
- Neighbors report that the debris appeared at the same time the sewer pipes in the area were being cleaned by a contractor working for the City of Cambridge. Catherine Woodbury will check on possible source of debris.
Catherine Woodbury, Cambridge Department of Public Works
Investigate possible source and removal of debris at the Wellington Brook culverts.
Consult Cambridge maps to determine property lines and if Cambridge is responsible for snow plowing.
Speak with Fresh Pond Animal Hospital and Zeff Photo about sign removal and pallets??
Consult Belmont maps to determine property lines and whether parking lot is public or private.
Determine who is responsible for snow plowing.
Initiate a Snow Removal Plan.
Friends of Blair Pond
Submit letters to the DCR mentioning that this meeting has taken place and to request the extensive cleanup at the end of Flanders Road and that the metal guardrail project be implemented.
Susan Agger will make a flyer to distribute to area businesses. The flyer will provide information about Blair Pond and how businesses can help to maintain the Pond.
Lizzie Feigenbaum will send a letter to Jennifer Wright at the Conservation Commission listing the things the group has asked for.
Dan Driscoll, Senior Planner, Department of Conservation and Recreation
Initiate cleanup effort to remove dumped debris at the end of Flanders Road.
Work on guardrail plan to prevent future dumping and litter from entering the pond.
Lobby the DCR to build siltation device for the culverts at Wellington Brook
Jennifer Wright, Director, Cambridge Conservation Commission
Submit a list of requests made to the Conservation Commission for the record.