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Silver Maple Forest in Grave Jeopardy
FAR Responds to Silver Maple Forest feature article from Belmont Citizen Herald
August 17
added to website September 15, 2010

Dear Editor,

Thanks for the centerpiece and photos and video on the Uplands silver maple forest. Some observational facts were repetitious from previous coverage over years, containing scanty environmental facts, but the article, containing 2 photos of the area, was not unfavorable towards the environmental position. Hopefully, soon, readers will get a sense of the area and what it is about, despite the zealous "Save it or Pave it" campaign. Development spokesperson, Steve Corridan repeated what was cross examined and challenged by 4 days of adjudicatory hearings in 2009, but absent from the article.

The actual 'trial' concentrated on environmental protections but overlooked by former Journalist, Christian Schiavane Thanks to the last two outstanding opinion pieces which outlined the issues clearly.

O'Neill Properties has not performed any watershed impacts to affect downstream communities throughout the Mystic River watershed. It is obvious the floodplain forest or a "gem" (article title name), has already mitigated the massive flooding with its wide swath of wetlands and marshes and bogs. Darrell King's description of the forest area continues to remain center for our New England region of biodiversity. Virginia Fuller has presented many of the wildlife sightings and needs, and forest protections to her Winn Brook community.

It is impossible to list the hundreds and likely thousands of natural species that will be affected with the O'Neill clear cut plan. These include many varieties of sedges and rushes, and diminishing species of birds such as the Sora rail, wood duck, great horned owl, the endangered yellow breasted chat sighted last year, and great numbers of nesting warblers and orioles, to name a miniscule number of species. Summer FAR ecology campers, together with Chelsea and Malden youth, spent the summer finding a rich array of macro-invertebrates which indicates that one of the ecosystem's ponds contains a water ecology that continues to thrive today. The storm water management plan of Cambridge will bring our watershed in compliance with the federal Clear Water Act's higher standards. The area can be a wildlife refuge and a recreational mecca on the major T stop artery with the new bike path being constructed as well.

Development Impact studies of the Mystic River watershed, years ago, were proposed in a Bill by former Senator Robert Havern of Arlington but not completed before his retirement, thus the town of Arlington's concern will continue, i.e., that the safety and health of Cambridge and Arlington and Somerville remain in question with any greater watershed impact such as another flood as in March of 09. No company or town impact studies exist of the wetlands and marshes surrounding the site, and there are none of the construction site itself (upper floodplain). The DEP officer refused to look at the piles of evidence of professional assessments of the upper floodplain submitted by the Belmont Conservation Commission finding the area to be a rare ecological environment. The Herald's words from Mr.Corridan, whose Company, he says, complies with environmental law, should not continue to be printed as they are taken before cross-examination occurred, and not based on them, as Professor Emeritus Baram notes when referring to the questionable legal processes after the Hearings.. Cambridge water and environmental interest groups remain very supportive of the Belmont Conservation Commission's effort to protect their town and the watershed in general.

Ellen Mass