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DEP File #: 123-0180, Cambridge Discovery Park, Acorn Park Road
Notice of Intent (NOI)
Mary L. White, August 20, 2004

Friends of Alewife Reservation

BOX 161 1770 Mass Ave.
Cambridge, MA. 02140-2818

August 20, 2004

Jennifer Wright, Director
Cambridge Conservation Commission
344 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02139

RE: Comments on the Cambridge Discovery Park, DEP # 123-0180

Dear Commission Members,

Dear Ms. Wright,

I wish to reiterate some of the points made by Ellen Mass, Friends of Alewife Reservation president in the cover letter. As an environmental compliance manager, I especially concur with the assessment that this is a rare wetland restoration opportunity for the city of Cambridge and the region. My work takes me to construction sites on a regular basis, and I am in a position to assess developmental impact and environmental restoration successes from some of my projects. This one could be one of those successes; and in fact, an exceptional watershed restoration model.

I have not felt such hope for an area to be restored in the Alewife as I have with this project. The Alewife Reservation has provided a connection to a wild area for nature study in all its aspects, for connection to past local historical usage and commercial endeavors, to a functioning ecology providing climate control, noise dissipation, and a spiritual beauty. The applicant has been very generous with his consultants and design, to recognize and design in accordance with these natural features. The applicant has left the door open in a variety of areas for local citizens to comment on his project and to take what has been presented and move forward in some areas. This plan as conceived, provides valuable watershed functions as flood control, pollution prevention, ground water recharge, fisheries and wildlife habitat. It is key that educational opportunities are also developed. Without intimate contact with nature future generations will not have the respect and desire to protect what we so gravely need for our planet's survival.

I have the following questions:

1. We believe that some of the "Drainage Ditches" and drainage swales into which site storm water flows, meet the definition of a "stream." Could the applicant provide an explanation as to why the determination has been made that they do not meet the definition of stream?

2. It would be beneficial to the phragmities marsh if the subsurface vaults holding stormwater would be able to pulse stormwater into the marsh to flush this stagnant area. In addition the stormwater basin, constructed in the location of the helipad, could be designed to release water over a spill way into the adjacent wetlands. This would also act to provide additional fresh water to the stagnant area.

3. For the basin construction, and parking lot restoration and building demolition near the bank of the river there was no description of construction means and methods, so it was hard to determine if there would be impact on the wetlands since they will be working so close to it. I know means and methods will be provided by the contractor once hired so the Commission should ask that a plan be submitted for Commission review and approval prior to construction.

4. There was no detailed landscaping plan for the site. The means and methods may have to be submitted when available as mentioned above in #3.

I have faxed with my comments a copy of an Order of Conditions for a large construction project in Marlborough, Walnut Hill 212-692 and an Order of Conditions for a large construction project in Weston, 337-0728 on Oak St. This is labeled Attachment A.

I appreciate the opportunity to comment and to have comments responded to by the applicant at the next hearing. Please contact me with any questions or comments that you have.


Mary L. White
Friends of Alewife, Steering Committee