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FAR Completion of Muskrat Marsh Pilot Project.
with Muskrat Marsh Pilot Work Project Photos
Submitted by Jackie Daoust and Ellen Mass
Added to website December 1, 2009

On November 21 students from Boston Latin High School Club, Sailing to the Stars, volunteered to aid Friends of Alewife Reservation to complete the Muskrat Marsh pilot project which targeted invasive species at the Reservation.

FAR began the project in 2005 to restore 12 acres of wetlands with diverse native plant species. With direct assistance from federal, state, and local agencies, and a priority grant from the MA. Coastal Zone Management, FAR assessed the area for over a year. Recently they were permitted by Cambridge Conservation Commission and approved by the Bulfinch Company to remove 1,000 sq. feet of the common reed Phragmities.

This has allowed the natural reeds such as Bulrush, to return to this unique area which is classified as a fen, a wetland with small hummocks fed by surface and/or groundwater characterised by their water chemistry, which is neutral or alkaline. They are different from bogs, which are acidic. Aquatic Technology Inc. individually dropped herbicides in the tubular stems in September. Volunteers of Sailing to the Stars geared in boots and gloves in the muddy marshy waters removed the remains of stems with shearers. Jacqueline Daoust from FAR directed the students to cut only Phragmities and protect the existing native species. "There is already visible proof that the removal of the Phragmities and the purple loose strife is providing room for more native species."

FAR Ecology Campers have removed purple loose strife and reseeded the area over the past 3 summers. With success of the reed eradication project, the natural biodiversity of the area will return.
Link for full project:

Muskrat Marsh Pilot Work Project Photos
In upper left photo, the volunteers, from left to right, were Robert Steninger, Katie Auerbach, Karen Tracy, Ben Hill, Athena Lee, Angela Liu, Willy Epiter-Smith, and Eddie Casanova.
Karen, Ben, Athena, Angela, and Willy came as part of a volunteer group from Boston Latin School.
Second year volunteers with Friends of Alewife Reservation.