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FAR Annual Meeting Notes
November 10, 2011

Attending: Representative Will Brownsberger, Ellen Mass, Bill Belanger, Arlene Oliverio, Susan Agger, EkOngKarSingh Khalsa, Amy Mertl, Laura Schwiter, Sylvia Gillman, Catherine Woodbury,(14 attendees)

TOBIN SCHOOL - Cambridge

  • Opening remarks and introductions by Ellen Mass, President
  • Updates as to FAR accomplishements and events by Ellen
  • DCR designation may be a "park land". FAR requests retaining the designation of "Reserve", but even Middlesex Fells has not been able to.
  • FAR Ecology Camp very successful this year
  • Small amount of Alewife spawning in the field this year but is there.
  • Budget last year was appox. $25,000. One third went toward the FAR Alewife Camp.
  • Blair Pond will soon be dredged as a positive aspect of the watershed improvements.
  • Proud to have two outstanding representatives of the watershed as speakers tonight.


Representative Brownsberger

December 13th Representative Brownsberger will be running for State Senate and will continue to work on improving the area and watershed.

EkOngKarSingh Khalsa, Executive Director of Mystic River Watershed Association


  • MyRWA knows that the watershed work requires groups like FAR to organize and challenge and bring many to the waters for use and for water quality improvements.
  • Mystic River Watershed — "Has suffered the insults of modern prosperity" by its highly industrial nature.
  • The Obama Administration has a strong interest to restore urban rivers and watersheds.
  • Chelsea Creek used for shipping and fuel oil storage and delivery and has pollution problems.
  • The salt marsh and estuary ecology has been destroyed by dredging and filling, commerce, Eastern Salt, violation of state law and other pressures on the watershed, discharged e-coli from non-point pollution, phosphorous levels, bacterial contamination, algae blooms, litter, paint, SSO's & ESO's etc.
  • What Challenges does the watershed face? MyRWA is working to support all watershed improvement work such as what is happening with the storm water/wetlands restoration at Alewife
  • Too much pavement in the surrounding area brings much trouble to the watershed with displacement.
  • ESO's and SSO's, a study is about to ensue to improve this situation and we are very pleased that Metcalf and Eddy are doing an expensive study.
  • What can we Do? We can expand our use and study of this remarkable watershed.
  • Tuft's boathouse and other visionaries like Jack Markley have made our work possible.
  • Get into the "weeds at ground level" to feel and connect with this natural body of water. Very enjoyable.
  • Continue your Environmental education, building rain gardens, herring ladder, removal of water chestnut, celebrate! Herring Run and Paddle. You can also join in with our work as well as continuing yours here at Alewife.

Catherine Woodbury, Cambridge DPW, Storm Water Wetland Project Manager


  • Storm water management project at Alewife currently under construction for the benefit of all and for the watershed in general.
  • DCR Master Plan done early 2003-2004. The wetland is on state owned property and thus Mass Highway's bike path will connect to Minute Man and pathway to the Sea.
  • MWRA Long-Term CSO Control Plan (LTCP) for Alewife Brook has been required by the Clean Water Act.
  • LTCP will reduce CSO volume to Alewife Brook by 85% once all the separations are completed.
  • Designed to meet the goals and objectives of DCR's Master Plan for Alewife Reservation which is presently underway
  • MWRA's LTCP for CSO Control will separate sewer from stormwater.
  • Sewer separation of CAM004 (Huron A, Huron B and Concord Avenue) will greatly reduce discharges.
  • Storm water wetlands provide water quality treatment through the interaction of the water, soil and plants. One hundred thousand plants plus
  • Will insure a restored area, but many will have to watch to make sure invasives are not re-introduced.
  • Construction expected to last until spring of 2013. The use of erosion control cover crop, berm, silt fences etc will be in place throughout
  • Many amenities and benefits to the watershed and public and recreational teaching opportunities for learning.