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Meeting on Alewife Construction today
June 13, 2011

RE: Update on information related to Storm water Management plan (forgive me for not clearing up my mega list and breaking it down- for those unconnected- please discard if this is irrelevant) Be patient.
If you wish to continue receiving any e-mails about this long term urban wild conservation campaign endeavor, please let me know.
This will be the last one on the mega-list.

RE: Storm water construction update:
After much delay, I was able to meet briefly with Catherine Woodbury at DPW who has assured us that there would be a daily engineer hired by the city from SEA in Cambridge, the construction Firm which is handling the project, which means a highly invested individual, but one nevertheless. Although one realizes the meaning, we will abide as we meet with the City about the project on the 9th at 11pm at DPW and will be able to talk about further meetings, daily logs and wetlands-habitat considerations. Let me know if you plan to attend. This is most important.

This will be an important meeting and hopefully a very positive one with much interest and concern for protecting this very rare urban wild. Both the Conservation Commission and DEP, I am told will be checking and keeping up with the project in the area of erosion control, wetlands protection, removal of soils, removal of invasives, minimzing carnage and hopefully, NOT doing "pest control" which is in the summary of the plan. We are concerned about "pest control" and what that means. I had already attached the "summary" for contractors from the City in the earlier versions and had seen nothing about the daily oversight engineer.

DPW website:

under "Cambridge Park Drive Area Drainage Improvements and Stormwater Wetland Project".

I do hope that those using the Reservation and the multi-purpose pathway will keep notes, and photos, and continue to ask questions, but especially that you will download the plans and talk with others. We tried very hard to get a monitoring team going this spring, but were unable to do so with friends at Pfizer and scientists who have worked with FAR. IT is too large of a project, and we are too small of a group. But it is not too late, and is quite challenging and educational if such a team were to get together and follow what some have said is the most interesting storm water revitalization (wetlands restoration) project in New England as 68 thousand native plants and various levels of marshes will be created, expanding the urban wild considerably with 10 acres of wetlands which were not there before. And cleaning our rivers. We were heartened this year after 2 years absence to see Alewife spawning at Winn Brook in Belmont.

Another reason for a reliable team is that we must confront DOT and DCR for the iron fence that is blocking a long existing wildlife corridor. I will write another letter soon to see if you will sign on. Thanks David, Elizabeth and Begabati for your letters and interest. Please try to attend that meeting, and we will confer in advance by e-mail as to what is required for that conference.

Feel free to e-mail me as well. Please C:C me any correspondance.

In regards to the "bike path" really a multipurposed pathway, all of us are deeply concerned and must discuss further with DOT , not only about the iron fence,l but as Begabati noted, we have stripped much of the west end of the trail of vegetation and mulched and walled the entry. I was never made aware of this plan of total blockage, nor did we see a design of this scope. during our visits with the engineers. It was never explained, and my work was with DOT Peter Jodoin, engineer appointed on site. I have spoken with PR of DOT on this project Phillip MacDonald over several years, and was unaware of these plans, although we looked at them over closely. The best step to take would be to talk to these engineers in a meeting to see if we can open the corridor, as we will likely be unable to get it removed with train requirements. We will have to build or tunnel a corridor if the fencing cannot be altered I would surmise as the blockage cannot be left as is.

There are a number of issues, not the least of which is width (promised a 10 foot one and the west end one is almost 30 feet. The other issues are the amount of vegetation removed along the pathway from T stop to Blanchard rd. The other is equipment coming and going and restoration of our meadow at the east end entrance. FAR has proposed and received a grant to have a community garden at the entry with the participation of Fresh Pond Tenants and we are anxious to plant the garden and have been put o hold for "2 years". This is untenable.

While the project is approved and will benefit everyone for passive recreation, commuting, relaxing and walking with friends, hiking, and biking, we are deeply concerned that much notice is given as signage to watch out for wildlife and that they are entering a wildlife refuge. FAR was created primarily for enviornmental protection and awareness. IT is not a bike speed way or skate board or skaters paradise.Just like the Watertown Reservation of the DCR is very sensitve to these matters. We had hoped to avert a challenge here by meeting many times and talking with DPW and DCR over the years but are uncertain as to what they have in mind, now that we are finally down to the wire. We realize DOT is delaying its work and that is a problem for the storm water basin work, but we expect that community still has a strong role to play in all of this.

Sorry for long-winded note.

Please study, be prepared and write me of your thoughts after looking at the website.
And various links if interested.

Here is the grant brochure that FAR did with a team and Bioengineering 4 years ago.
This is why we have supported this work which will create much disarray in the short run.