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Alewife Master Plan
(This is not a FAR final assessment, but summary of the strong and weak points of the MDC Master Plan)

Alewife MP: Strong Points- Summary



p. 2 Reservation treated equally with greenway is questioned


Alewife MP envisions significant restoration of wildlife habitat and ecology and hydrology functions


1) preserve and protect aquatic and riperian resources

2) restore ecological structure

3) recommend for Alewife Brook corridor

4) address degration using geomorphic, ecological, hydrologic and hydraulics

5) address public access


Findings and Recommendations Approved of:

Invaluable functions if the Reservation, irreplaceable as the floodplain

Hydrological functions remain in tact

Water of poor quality-CSO

Non-point source pollution from Belmont and Arlington

Honors Somerville with its previous CSO separation

Good on low-lying hydrology and siltration that hurts good habitat potential

Excellent on habitat and mammals


In summary:

Significance of ecological resources were identified. in Alewife Reservation, however most of resources extend beyond boundaries of study area .

Importance of Reservation proper as the most significant  flood storage area

Rare, endangered and protected bird species use the area.


Cultural and Socio-Economic Resources Recognized

Reservation provides recreational opportunities to surrounding communities

Ideally located bike and pedestrian. pathways.


Hydrology improvements Appreciated

Flood storage possibly  increased by dredging is raised

Eliminate structural constrictions by widening bridge and opening culverts

Decrease sediment with bioengineering techniques.

Increase stormwater management techniques.

Achieve a water quality of class B

Regional planning is required for long term solutions

Habitat Restoration and enhancement

Mentions importance  of biodiversity of flora

Continuous Need for observation of the area

Better connections (corridors) are required between habitats



1) Improve water quality and natural hydrology

2) Protect and enhance wildlife habitat via:

     migration and spawning

     expand aquatic and riparian

     protect and expand ecology connections

     manage study area

     enhance habitat for migrating birds

     repair and protect abutting wetlands and upland area

3) Recreational/cultural/educational opportunities

public use


interpreting ecological and cultural history


Recommendation-Specific Improvements- Priority


Improve and enhance wetland habitats, include forested wetland, aquatic habitats of ponds, streams, riparian habitat along stream banks, wet meadows and swamps and vernal pools


Fragmentation should be avoided

Improve soils- amending existing soils- remove exotics- import soils

Link habitats of vegetated communities by removing invasives


Design natural areas and habitats to improve water quality


Entrance of Urban wild at T

Appreciated enhancements


Where kiosk is. Put obelisks in its place.  (Through time, the kiosk has become a station for meeting and knowing what is happening on the Reservation)


Parking areas planned at east and west Bulfinch properties- (east is DCR property near new Basin plans)


New Park areas expanded through biofiltration and porous pavement



Emphasizes balance for trails

Restore disturbed areas

Boardwalks for sensitive areas

Bridges are conservation pathway bridges

Bridges: 5 locations including downstream on greenway




Central Rail trail

Bike path

Create loops

Information in planned network of trails


High quality path system- needs careful scrutiny Several FAR members do not support the bridges.

    Narrow pedestrian bridges

    Path south of little River. Cross Wellington Brook, and Little River between Perch and Little

    Path east and north edge of reservation

Small platform, overlooks and interprets. Features make smaller loops- central focus

Edge Little Pond-allow neighbors access to west reservation.

Path Types: Stabilized aggregate path- material not mentioned

Boardwalks in wetland areas and floodplain.

Conservation pathways are needed for preserving habitats.

Development encroachment and homeless populations do much damage to the environment

Conservationists are able to monitor activity in the Reservation




Calls for restoration around Pond


Benches: viewing platforms

Recycled plastic and press. Treated wood products.

Prefer building Materials

Timber decking- over-channeled inlets

Small scale lighting fixtures for minimal light pollution


Bike Racks


Carry in and out trash



Past history


Present to future




Native American


Cambridge farming and environmental History


Public Art




Good on temporary installations as well

Present art project proposed for Alewife T stop


Water Access


New ideas: underground cistern. Could store potable water. Water features




Increase. Safety, increase Police and DCR rangers


Recommendations for Little Pond

Little Pond: encroachment taken back

Large restoration of vegetation and trees

Sediment depths measured - dredged?

Predatory- free islands in mid Little Pond

Institute paths at 3 strategic locations

Rustic wood benches

Parking lot



Keep old skating rink for flood storage

Physical resources

Emphasis low flow, flat hydrology


North of Little River


(Weak introductory section: Most important. Core of Reservation)


Good recommendations:

1 Possible dredging to increase channeling dept. for flood storage

2 stabilize Eroding stream banks

   establish herbaceous communities

3 restore wetlands at MDC parking lot

4 expand drains and ditches at ADL for habitat  (BASIN??)

5 vernal pool certification

6 remove fence- blocks access to Little River. Build Trail along Little River

Bridge supported over Little River at Acorn complex. Connect wetlands on N. Side of River w/stormwater wetland on S. Side . Create possible loo for circulation. A Board walk will join River trail. Trail connects large contiguous habitat area to uplands.


Mentions contamination of Wellington Brook- good



Stabilize banks- Well

Reduce sediment w/ enhanced forested buffer

Increase to 3.5 acres of storm water wetlands


Goal: Low maintenance, self-sustaining. DCR managed with citizen monitoring

Ideal sources for family and partnerships

Properly funded and staffed

Institute circulation system

Boardwalks lead to Perch Pond

Trail between Little River. and Hill Estates

Connections to Little Pond

Bridge across Little River


Water Quality:

Place water quality  Monitoring boards



Remove invasives along Yates

Establish. Native plants

Connect to Linear Park

Interpretive signage


Blair Pond Master Plan

The goals and objectives of the plan are excellent as well as many of the proposed recommendations. Prioritization of the proposed recommendations is crucial for the entire Plan to be implemented.


Below are some essential beginning steps to show that Blair Pond

Should be preserved for the neighborhood, and especially for the

hydrology of the waterways in the Alewife Reservation that flow to the

Mystic River.

1. Install a Siltation device or comparable system  to prevent further siltation and improve flow.

2. Guard rail and plantings to prevent dumping and trash from entering
pond at end of Flanders Road.

3. Plan for dredging.

4. Pathway linking Rafferty Park to an observation deck on the pond.


5. Pathway at edge of Blair and Mooney for a contiguous wildlife and pedestrian corridor

We ask the DCR to reconsider the following elements of the plan:

The placement of the wetland plantings on the south side of the pond will eliminate ice skating, a recreational resource that has no negative impact on the pond.  Because of the flow of Wellington Brook, the pond only freezes in the southern section designated for wetland plantings.  In today's modern urban neighborhoods there are few things that bring the community together.  The iced pond in the winter does.  Young and old skate together and experience the wonder of nature. The ice also provides a great way to reach the perimeter of the pond to clean up trash.  It would be a shame to destroy this, when there are other suitable sites for the wetland plantings within the pond.

Though a lovely idea, the Mooney St entrance and the Wildflower meadow will most likely present problems.  The circle at the end of Mooney St is a largely deserted industrial area frequented by dumpers and dirt bikers, an area which is slated for development.   The path that leads from the parking area needs a narrow entrance to discourage dumpers and a winding path that prevents dirt bikers.  The proposed meadow should remain as scrub woods until an assessment is made that a cleared site will not be frequently abused and infrequently maintained.

The far southwest corner of the property once was a lovely if overgrown garden.  The garden, including raspberries, blackberries and a large wild strawberry patch were destroyed when the MDC bulldozed the decrepit shack that was on part of the property. The site, as well as much of the open southern side, could be planted with a variety of trees and shrubs to provide food and shelter for birds and bees.