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Candidates downplay silver maple forest issue
Cambridge Chronicle, November 9, 2011
Letter: Silver Maple Forest shunned
The silver maple forest issue was shunned at the Climate Candidates Forum Wednesday night sponsored by Green Cambridge, Cambridge Climate Emergency Group, Friends of Alewife Reservation and others.
When asked, councilors conveyed unsupportive statements about preserving the area despite many Chronicle articles and regular updates. Pointing the finger toward Belmont undermines a significant number of resolutions Seidel and Davis sponsored. While most councilors claim Belmont is the decision-maker on the "Uplands" (silver maple forest) fate, the city's Alewife hydrological and land role was professionally presented at DEP hearings in 2009, proving impact on ecosystems, habitat and floodplain spread over the three municipalities. Davis felt the Mystic River Watershed was not her purview, but Alewife was. Likely a confused statement, but Alewife is part of the Mystic River watershed. Davis admitted she is primarily focused on the Charles.
Cambridge's broad open space wetlands occupy this area and are dependent on the forest to function properly. Also confused by the Councilors on the panel was the fact that the Community Preservation Act open space funding (CPA) is legally (MGL 44B) required for only natural resources of wetlands, forests, lakes, ponds, river edges and "scenic vistas- exact fitting for Alewife woodlands." Massachusetts is among highest of open space losses in the USA. But Cambridge CPA board wants law amended for community gardens use of Cambridge's 10percent open space budget. Community gardens are needed, but also needed is a floodplain health and safety net. Destroying the forest for planned development from a giant East Coast speculator known for quick property turnover, who is in court elsewhere as here in Mass. for the same thing, i.e. wetlands regulations infractions, and there for brown fields construction misuse.
Councilors also have not taken serious account of the ongoing 10-acre storm water and wetlands restoration and recreation project at the Alewife that requires objective monitoring with regular reports. US-EPA has made the Mystic a priority water body for cleanup. If the federal government sees our area as important, why don't we? As to purchase of the forest, we have a huge stake here with our largest wetlands integral to the forest ecology. Many await results of Craig Kelley's sponsored passed resolution requesting city manager approach Belmont and Arlington to initiate discussions. In June 2004, Belmont and Arlington voted not to develop the "uplands." All questioned candidates were opposed to misuse of urban planning, but Alewife development has been planned largely by bottomless pockets to fill -- not a good use. Candidates are fearful of getting into a quagmire, but they must, and good old clay mud spiced with alluvial soils at Alewife is worth it.
A candidates Alewife wildlife walk recently included Thomas Stohlman, Minka VanBeuzekom, Patty Nolan, Joyce Gerber, Charles Marquardt, Alice Terkel, Matt Wilson and others.
All are invited to FAR's annual meeting Thursday, Nov. 10, at the Tobin School to become an interest group for utilizing the area. -- Ellen Mass, Friends of Alewife Reservation
Read more: Letter: Silver Maple Forest shunned - Cambridge, Massachusetts - Cambridge Chronicle http://www.wickedlocal.com/cambridge/news/opinions/letters/x1760395171/Letter-Silver-Maple-Forest-shunned#ixzz1dQwcpQVt