Jump to table of contents

Next Events
Map and directions to events at Alewife Reservation.
More information: info@friendsofalewifereservation.org or 617-415-1884.
For events sponsored by the Department of Conservation and Recreation, see the latest issue of the Citizen Forester newsletter.

2015 News Archive
Support for Wildlife Testing at Alewife

Appeal to Donate to Tufts Wildlife Fund for hospital testing of cause of death for birds and animals. Alewife Reservation has seen its share of dead birds, and FAR members have always found them too late for an adequate necropsy to be performed, but would gladly travel to Grafton for this procedure with ample time. (read more)

photo: Maya Apfelbaum
Interfaith Solstice Service on 2015 Dec 6

Winged golden energy at early solstice, multi-cultural poetry ritual with Ellen Mass, host and ED of Friends of Alewife Reservation. Ananta Kumar Giri of Chennai, India shared poetry upholding our sacred bond to Mother Earth and outlining regenerative sustainability work. Maya Apfelbaum ignited prayers and candles in a Festival of Lights spirit, calling on each gathered to give voice to their connection to nature with support from Ric Hahn. We celebrated the gifts of Nature, spoke of the destruction of the silver maple forest and the need to address the ailing of Little River's waters there and rededicated to standing for the interwoven wellbeing of the Earth and our communities across the globe.

Jake Stout

On November 14, 2015 on David Brown's nature walk, at the Storm Water Wetlands overlook there were clear signs of a Beaver! Beavers haven't been seen in the Alewife Reservation in about three years so this is a great find for the Reservation. The Beaver took down about nine trees of varying size. It took down an Aspen tree, and small Willow and a few other young trees. It also took some big chunks out of some trees that are still standing. So glad that the Beavers are back!!! -Jake Stout

Beaver life cycle and habits (article with video)

Swimming Under Water Into a Beaver Lodge (video)

Beaver Building benefits us all (documentary)

photo: George Mclean
10 Point Buck on Mystic River Watershed, Medford

I have been trying for years to get a photo like this! A magical animal, they can disappear in the twinkling of an eye! -George Mclean

Sat, Dec 12, 9am-1pm: Clean Up Alewife Reservation (flyer)

Our new beaver and muskrat families require a clean habitat and environment. We want the waterways cleaned up*because the Cambridge-Belmont Little River and Alewife Brook are some of the worst in Massachusetts.

Factor Claims Civil Disobedience Warranted


Monitoring Report from the Alewife Reservation


Jake Stout
Sightings Tuesday Nov. 17 2015

I saw these ducks at two different spots along little river and I'm not sure what they are, they might be some type of hybrid duck. They tend to swim with other mallards, though I have seen some other mallards being aggressive towards them. Any ideas on what they are? (full size pictures)

Biodiversity For A Livable Climate

Restoring Ecosystems To Reverse Global Warming

"[W]e tell this new water story, covering the science, the land management practices and the activism that will make it all come to pass. And check out Michal Kravcik's Global Action Plan for the Restoration of Natural Water Cycles and Climate!" (slides and videos of the presentations at the conference web site!)

David Mussina
Blair Pond Happenings

(see the pictures)

George McLean
Two Young Eagles Dance over the Upper Mystic Lakes

Upper Mystic Lakes received a high US-EPA mark of A- for its water quality.

Gentiana Andrewsii, found fourth year at Alewife
Gentiana Andrewsii found 4th year in a row

Endangered species at Alewife Reservation found 4th year in a row in the wetlands beside Little River in Cambridge.

The large rocket shaped flowers were found by Ellen Mass in clusters just behind a large homeless tent. Fear is that the "Bottled Gentian" will get stomped and disappear, but thus far this species has remained strong and prolific. It was last seen in 1864 on the Charles River. The state forms were filled out and sent in recently to Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

Sat, Nov 14, 10am-1pm, Wildlife Tracking Walk with David Brown (flyer)
Friends Group Collaborates with University for Meadow Restoration - Press Release

The Friends of the Alewife Reservation has teamed up with ecologists from Lesley University and the Harvard University Herbarium to restore the plant community of the Blair pond meadow and monitor the long-term effects of plant restoration on the avian and insect communities using the habitat. (article)

Mystic Messenger, Fall 2015
Mystic River Watershed Association map of our region's water quality


(Map of Little River and Mystic River Watershed water quality)

Original River Restore Program Proposal

Original River Restore Program Proposal by Kris Houle of Horsley and Witten Inc., Summer 2015.

The global Climate Reality Project Wants Your Attention

Paris decisions, coming up, will impact our planet

Follow the Gore example. Connect globally to a powerful movement for change. Support best outcomes in Paris world climate conference by participating in campaign initiated by former US leader Al Gore. Follow like-minded people from many continents and their contributions. (https://www.climaterealityproject.org/whoweare)

World climate conference held in Tiquipaya Bolivia from 40 countries

Decry wealthy countries resistance to change (article)

DCR Fall Hikes and Events
  • Head of the Charles Regatta
  • Annual Pumpkin Float
  • Children's Magical Halloween Castle
  • Pleasure Bay: Olmstead's Seaside Promenade
  • Scenic View at Bellvue Hill Tower
  • (flyer)
Introduction to Water Quality Presentation 2015

Our planet does not gain or lose water

  • 97% ocean water
  • 2% frozen
  • < 1% fresh water!
We have to protect it!


Press Release on Factor Trial by Green Rainbow Party

(press release)

Ecology Camp wins award from Cambridge Mayor's Summer Youth Employment program

Click picture for larger image.

FAR Ecology Camp's "2015 River Restore Report" Exposes Little River Conditions

Referenced in Horsely Witten final report. (2015 River Restore Report)

Spotted Joe Pie Weed at Alewife Reservation North Meadow
FAR query and US-EPA response

EPA Discusses Water Quality of Little River (Cambridge), and Alewife Brook (mostly Somerville and East Arlington) and Little Pond (Belmont) after publication of River Restore report from FAR Ecology Camp 2015. (article)

Chester Inc. Plans for Maintaining Storm Water Wetland

Produced by Duke Bitsko (plan)

River Restore article by Christine Heady and Anthony Lamattina, Camp supervisors

Local journal Growing Up in North Cambridge: "Ecology Camp Students Protect North Cambridge Urban Wild" (picture above left)

Local journal Wicked Local Arlington: "Friends of Alewife Reservation host River Restore camp for youth"

Recent Storm water wetlands (SWW) Cambridge water quality samples

From Catherine Woodbury, Storm Water Manager, City of Cambridge DPW, September 2015.

Source pollution areas of first discharge area of "forebay" and outlet to Little River in middle marsh not tested in those locations, but upstream from those locations. (PDF of spreadsheet)

Blair Pond Team Outreaches for Experimental Soils Plots

Come and Participate!

Volunteers will establish test plots to 1) demonstrate the potential of reseeding with native indigenous species, and 2) to demonstrate effectiveness of permacultural methods via improving soil health. (article)

Bagging knotweed
Friends of Alewife Reservation Community Service Day at Blair Pond

United Way- Ernst and Young Accounting Firm volunteers visit Blair Pond in Cambridge 9/25 to help preserve the 4 acre open meadow and water quality in the Pond the state has just dredged, bordering Belmont and Cambridge.Thanks to United Way and Firm with 800 out nationally on their Community Service Day. Much was accomplished to prepare the ground for soil restoration and experimental planting plots.

Biodiversity Belowground Is Just As Important As Aboveground

"A new study demonstrates that soil bacteria and the richness of animal species belowground play a key role in regulating a whole suite of ecosystem functions on Earth." (article)

Local Observer Sees Little Wildlife

from Kathy Johnson

The development on Cambridge Park Drive is close to completion, and they are already showing apartments. The last couple of months I've seen water bird activity mostly at Yates Pond across from the T where Great Blue, 'Kronker' seems to reside for now. (article)

Final River Restore Report from Professional Consultant

Final River Restore Action Plan Recommendations consultant report. Thanks to Horsely Witten Group for assisting in the River Restore project, and teaching hydrology lessons to the 9th annual Summer Ecology Camp "River Restore Program" and providing a final report for municipal and state agencies and commissions. We especially appreciate our 10 summer youth which worked diligently over 6 weeks, bringing Kris Houle and Ingeborg Hegemann out to the Reservation to share "existing Little River watershed conditions". This professional report includes suggested Actions to benefit the agencies, construction crews and volunteers who will try to implement these improvements on a sorely needed Alewife sub-watershed in Cambridge and in Belmont, benefitting downstream communities in Arlington, Somerville and Medford.

Belmont, Arlington, Cambridge storm water FORUM

VIDEO of Belmont, Arlington, Cambridge storm water FORUM, September 10. Belmont's Attention to future storm water improvements. US-EPA gives warning.
Photo: Anne Marie Lambert of Belmont Citizens Forum, Master of Ceremonies. Credit: Belmont Media Photo

Breaking Analysis of the Paris Climate Pledges - the Climate Scoreboard

The world will still heat by more than 6 degrees Fahrenheit, producing catastrophes from food shortages to widespread extinctions of plant and animal life. (article)

October DCR Citizen Forester Newsletter


Alewife Red Tails are back at Alewife

Buzz and Belle updates from Paul Roberts, Summer 2015. (article)

Volunteer Work Day- Lesley Soccer Team

Report by Bill Green.

Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping for Municipal Operatators

US-EPA on Phase II of National Storm Water Standards and Enforcement (MS4)

FAR has requested that Alewife sub-watershed municipalities be subject to enforcement to comply with national storm water standards even during construction and landscaping surrounding the storm water wetland on Cambridge Park Drive and on Acorn Park Drive on either side of Little River in Cambridge. Evidence of compliance is missing. (compliance requirements)

US-EPA Discusses water quality ...

... of Little River (Cambridge), Alewife Brook (mostly Somerville and East Arlington) and Little Pond (Belmont). Response to inquiry after publication of River Restore report from FAR Ecology Camp 2015. (article)

"Water Trouble" (Flooding) Forum September 10

Discussion on Alewife sub-watershed Storm Water discharges
September 10, Winn Brook School, Belmont
Belmont Citizens Forum
Arlington, Watertown, Belmont discuss town violations and obstacles to enforcement

Speakers: Former Belmont town official, Arlington engineer, Mystic River Watershed and Charles River Watershed Association representatives. (flyer)

DCR Opportunities: Tree Stewards, Tree Risk, Emerald Ash Borer Events

Tree Steward Training (flyer)

Boston Globe indicts Belmont for high bacteria counts to Little River and watershed

Winn Brook depicted.

FAR Ecology Camp's "2015 River Restore Report" Exposes Little River Conditions

FAR's Ecology Summer Camp spent 6 weeks making observations and conducting scientific research with several professional consultants to identify problematic areas on the river and devise solutions which can be completed by FAR volunteers or brought to the attention of state groups and professional environmental firms in the near future.

"Priorities for Action" on pages 23 - 25 outlines substantial ideas for improving Little River and its banks and streams.

FAR plans to partner with cambridge officials, grassroots groups, municipal bodies and other volunteers to implement these improvements projects beginning in the Fall of 2015.

Please email info@friendsofalewfiereservation.org to find out how you can support FAR's Little River restoration efforts.

(River Restore Program Report)

Ecology Summer Camp 2015

Between July 6th and August 14th, ten Cambridge high school aged students make progress on a River Restoration project, work to enhance the Alewife Reservation and learn about local Ecology. This is FAR's 9th annual Ecology Summer Camp. Check out the final report, activity descriptions, and pictures of our awesome campers!

US-EPA: Mystic River Steering Committee joins in the goals of Federal Agency

(Steering Committee Charter)

Explore Alewife Brook Reservation in Cambridge
Saturday, August 8, 10 AM - 11:30 AM

Meet at the Alewife Brook parking lot at Cambridge Discovery Park at 100 Acorn Park Drive.

Alewife Brook Reservation features a state of the art restored wetland with boardwalks and scenic observation decks overlooking the Little River. Ages 10 and up.

Maggi Brown is a DCR ranger and her work over 20 sites is greatly appreciated. She has trained with the Chester engineer who designed the storm water wetland and FAR has brought them together to begin more educational tours. Please attend.

Wildlife Specialist Predicts Greater Threats to the future of Wildlife at Alewife Reservation

My concern is that, from a wildlife perspective, any trail from the area of the housing development through the reservation in the direction of the T-station will become a thoroughfare for commuters as well as an avenue of active recreation by walkers, dog-walkers, mountain bikers, joggers and so forth. It can be expected that any further increase in human usage will have a proportionate effect in the decline of habitat tenability for the shier species of wildlife that have been discovered in the reservation. It is bad enough that permission was given to cut the heart out of the greater Alewife ecosystem by the clearing of the silver maple forest, any further reduction of habitat compounds the offense. -Dan Moore

Bill Green
Turkeys at Blair Pond

Field used for soil and plant experiments.

Wildlife Monitors wanted for FAR's wildlife Committee. Call office at 617 415-1884.

Watershed Turtles Laying Eggs in Arlington section of Alewife Reservation

(pictures in FAR Wildlife Blog)

Review of A Vision For Revitalizing Alewife, Our Last Remaining Wild Lands

Local noted quarterly Journal, Growing Up in North Cambridge publishes Alewife Reservation review by Ellen Mass of Professor Robert France's book, A Vision For Revitalizing Alewife, Our Last Remaining Wild Lands. Purchase for $10 at Porter Square Books. (review)

Cambridge 8th Graders Complete Observations and Water Quality Testing at Alewife Reservation

(their blog)

Thanks to 60 incredible, hardworking Alnylam Pharmaceuticals employees for their stewardship this past Friday!

(pictures on facebook)

RESULTS of US-EPA Science Forum May 2015

Held at US-EPA headquarters in Boston
Spotlighting Little River-Alewife Brook contamination results


Unique Watershed Opportunities At Alewife Reservation

Review of Robert France and his books by Ellen Mass


Where FAR and supporters must go in the future

Please see the new report, "Non-Governmental organizations supporting the Urban Waters Federal Partnership". It reflects where the 28 NGOs are working along with their activities related to each location's work.

Boston Leads the Massachusetts Way for Climate Change Planning - Thank you Mayors Menino and Walsh

The City of Boston updates its climate action plan every three years, starting with A Climate of Progress, announced on Earth Day 2011. A Climate of Progress encompasses Sparking Boston's Climate Revolution and the recommendations from the 2010 report of the Climate Action Leadership Committee and the Community Advisory Committee. Boston's next climate action plan was launched on October 29, 2013, which will focus on climate preparedness and community engagement. Explore plan.greenovateboston.org web site.

A Lovely Art Show Reception

Thanks to the Cambridge Homes and all who attended. The artwork will be hung through the month of May. Please stop by to enjoy the beautiful pieces memorializing the Silver Maple forest. (pictures)

Swan with barb in mouth

Thanks to Kathy Johnson and Suzanne Teegarden for contacting Animal Rescue, who sedated the swan and removed the hook.

Tweets from Animal Rescue League:
Here is the hook.
The hook was removed & the swan was given a clean bill of health! She was returned to Alewife.

Biodiversity Conference pre-walk at Alewife Reservation

Biodiversity Conference pre-walk at Alewife Reservation with Friends of Alewife Reservation as Professor Morimoto of Lesley University gives lessons on bonding with living natural organisms among us and in our treasured natural areas such as Alewife. (pictures)

Public Lands Protection: Needed Now


Unique Watershed Opportunities at Alewife Reservation
Review of Robert France and his books By Ellen Mass


Eastern Research Group working around Alewife Station
Earth Day / Park Serve Day at the Alewife Reservation

Thank you to our 60 volunteers who attended Friends of Alewife Reservation's 8th annual Earth / Park Serve Day clean-up April 25th, 2015. (article)

Rodenticide campaign

A campaign has been started by 185redtails@yahoogroups.com to try and stem use of super toxic rodenticides that run through the food chain around Alewife and Fresh Pond. FAR has been an important component of this campaign and wishes to engage other supporters of ours to engage those businesses and construction managers at Alewife and Fresh Pond, asking what they are using. Read the material to find out what is safer than the common products. Ask what pest service they use and whether it can be stopped immediately until a safer product is found. Call the number placed on the attached business letter or FAR at 617 415-1884.

We are finding many dead animals on the Reservation.

More information:

Candlelight Vigil by Silver Maple Forest, October 2, 2014
BU Global Day of Service 2015

Great Success and lots of fun with 30 eager and hardworking Boston University students this past Saturday! Thanks for helping us clean the Alewife Reservation, BU! (pictures)

Paul Roberts
Buzz and Belle Might Leave Univision for PBS - Red Tail Saga April Update

Two weeks ago I posted that the story of Buzz and Belle was a melodrama worthy of broadcast on Univision. It now looks as though they might be picked up by PBS, maybe to replace Downton Abbey. (article)

The Environmental League and the Charles River Watershed Association need Friends Groups Help!

(sample letter)

Arlington Land Trust newsletter

(Arlington Land Trust News FALL 2004)

Click for full map
Mystic River watershed - Grand map within Massachusetts

Baseline monitoring taking place. Note Alewife Little River and Alewife Brook.

Photo by Bob Coe
City Council vote on Regional Flooding Discussions

Regional flood discussions to be initiated by Mayor passed Council December 8 by Leland Cheung at the silver maple forest Environmental Committee Hearing October 28th.

Policy Orders of increased rain precipitation and overloading of sewage gallons did not make the Council rostrom, although they were submitted and supported at the Hearing itself along with the discussion requirement.

2014-2015 Cambridge City Council: Front Row: Dennis J. Carlone, Nadeem A. Mazen, E. Denise Simmons and Dennis A. Benzan. Back Row: Timothy J. Toomey, Jr., Craig A. Kelley, Leland Cheung, Marc C. McGovern and David P. Maher.

New Issue! DCR Citizen Forrester April 2015
Cambridge Friends School Science Class Visits to Alewife Reservation


Why Arlington must Reject Mugar Woods Development

Mugar Woodlands Deeply Theatened (Arlington Land Trust newsletter)

New Issue! DCR Citizen Forrester, March 2015
Spring Events


Your Help Needed: Drastic Budget Cut In Climate Change Funding - Governor Baker


photo: gwsp.org/ www.anthropocene.info
Happy World Water Day To You


FAR Notes from 3/17 City Vulnerability Assessment Study at MIT meeting


What Goes On In The Back Yard -The Beauty of Pollination

photo: Kris Snibbe/Harvard Pubic Affairs and Communications
Harvard President Opens Door to US-China Climate Progress and Cooperation

Drew Faust visits Tsinghua University to share climate change policy and study. (article)

Bacterial Assessment: Alewife Brook, Ell Pond, Malden Canal

Thanks to the Mystic River Watershed Association for this water quality report. Items beginning with "SOM" on pages 5 and 6 are from Alewife Brook. (report, on MyWRA site )

2015 Earth Day / Park Serve Day

It is our pleasure to invite you to participate in DCR's Park Serve Day on Saturday, April 25, 2015

Silver Maple Forest Land Should Live

Ellen Mass- Letter to the Editor- Cambridge Chronicle 3-12-15 (article)

Demanding a Renewable Energy Revolution : Uniting for climate change!


Sad juxtaposition. My favorite burrows to check for activity are now obliterated.

Rowan Curran of Forrester notes disappearance of Habitat at the silver maple forest within the Alewife Reservation. FAR wildlife signs depict "Wood Warblers" who may have disappeared. Important nesting area for birds and dening area for mammals. (tweet)

Hydrology Study shows pollution discharge to Cambridge Bordering Land Subject to Flooding (BLSF)

November 6: Cambridge Storm Water Site Visit with Ellen Mass, Bruce Jacobs, Amy Mertl. (report)

DCR publishes Citizen Forestry newsletter

Wednesday, February 25, 2015, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. (EST): Webcast: An Introduction to Structural Soils: Research, Development, and Performance
For details on this free webcast series, see page two of the newsletter.
-DCR Urban and Community Forestry Program

New England Wild Flower Society

Discuss the present and future of Biodiversity in New England in all day conference March 26, Cambridge. (newenglandwild.org/sym)

March 2010: flooding with Silver Maple Forest in the background
Cambridge Should Use FEMA more

Cambridge should use our federal floodplain regulations more. Study them. Here are just a few:

US-FEMA is supposed to update very soon.

FAR annual meeting

Agenda and slides
Thanks to Whole Foods for donating refreshments.

Forest and Park Friend's Network Presentation Spotlighting Alewife Reservation

photo & story: Paul Roberts
A Winter's Tale Of Belle And Buzz And Mr. And Ms. P (Peregrines) At Alewife


Fresh Pond Programs for February 2015

(list of programs)

Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) process continues in Cambridge

Resident and Engineer, Mike Nakagawa explains how the CSO system has worked at Alewife and what the issues are. (article)

Credit: The Boston Globe
Climate Change Report Could Change Future Alewife Development


Wind energy - ELM Advocates for Clean Energy

Bill going through the House (article)

Natural Resources at Alewife Reservation

Poster Panels for new Storm water wetlands at DCR Kiosks throughout the Reservation.

Climate Temperature Increase in 2014 - NYC getting Hotter

From CCEAG list serve (article)

chopped tree at Alewife
Credit: Cambridge Day
Expansive News Coverage at Alewife

FEATURED: Your Arlington newspaper covering silver maple forest developments. Recent history of events leading up to the disaster which hit our region. (article) (article)

Boston Globe spotlights Alewife with no mention of Environmental issues

Climate Change and Flooding Education Fall on Deaf Ears Says FAR

Sad endings for silver maple forest and Alewife in 2014 (article)

Kick off the New Year on a DCR First Day Hike!
Join us for free winter fun in the DCR Boston Region!

(list of activities)

Solstice Celebration - December 20, 2014

(pictures and poem)

Sat, Dec 20, 1:30pm
Annual Alewife Solstice Ritual
Call to Action
Conserve and Restore the Forest Land


Greater Alewife Ecosystem

Ellen Mass describes the "Greater Alewife Ecosystem" and restoration potential for 3 local papers. (Term originally coined by David Brown, Alewife wildlife assessor.)

All species and ecological processes are interconnected in a massive web, although the average person does not view the natural world in this way and may miss the opportunity to grow environmental awareness and satisfaction by avoiding a continuous and fascinating relationship with Mother Earth. The “Greater Alewife Ecosystem” provides a local environmental model and nature center to identify nearby natural resources, bonding with them, thus improving one's mental and physical health. (full article)

UPDATE: Silver Maple Trees as Possible Martyrs- Dec. 20


Chronicle climate challenge flies in the face of local forest removal

From Silver Maple Forest Alliance members: Guest Commentary by Ellen Mass, Kathy Johnson, kathy and John Roberts, Deborah Lockett, Quinton Zondervan, Amy Mertl.

The Cambridge Chronicle editorial, Nov. 6, challenges us to respond to climate change, both municipally and with personal obligations, and find balance between human needs of development and environmental protection that is eroding, according to recent reports. This challenge echoes Obama's recent executive report on natural resources protection and the Intergovernmental UN Report (IPPC): “The gathering risks of climate change are so profound they could stall or even reverse generations of progress against poverty and hunger if greenhouse gas emissions continue at a runaway pace.” (article)

Soils protection for the future and for mitigating climate change

UN Food and Agricultural Organization's (2015 International Year of Soils)

Read Ellen Mass and Raheel Neres's article on Alewife and soils in the December 5, 2014 Cambridge Chronicle.

Cambridge Polution Alert Alewife Brook and Little River, December 9th, 2014

Alert text from James Wilcox, DPW Engineer.

Cambridge storm water/sewer separation should be completed in 2015, but concerns remain about dumping pollution in storm water wetlands and Little River.

Belmont Uplands Coalition and 10 citizens File formal litigation based on Clean Water Act and new Belmont Storm Water By-Law (article)
Planning in Limbo in Cambridge: Cambridge Neighborhoods Left Out of the Process of Permitting and Planning

Article for Fresh Pond (West Cambridge) Residents Alliance. Includes Fresh Pond and Alewife. (article by Jan Deveraux)

Restoring the Silver Maple Forest Land at Alewife

A Must For Arlington, Belmont, and Cambridge.
Climate Change Requires Conservation of Natural Resources at Alewife

Read Greater Alewife Ecosystem Restoration by Ellen Mass, FAR President, and Raheel Nere, Suffolk University Environmental major.

This article was inspired by the presentation Wetlands: Sinking Carbon and Keeping It Out of the Atmosphere by Steven Apfelbaum, Eco-restoration specialist and Founder of Applied Ecological Services, at this conference:

Biodiversity for a Livable Climate conference logo
(Program with Videos and Slides)

False Hopes for Affordability in Housing

Belmont's 10 percent Housing Quota has not been met
Thus Affordable Housing displaces a functioning forest.

Jacobin magazine:
Why 40B does not work for low income residents
DeBlasio's NY false hopes and over-development plans


March 2010 flooding with Silver Maple Forest in the background
Belmont Coalition keeps law suits going - Storm water issues still on the table


Why Open Space at the Belmont Uplands is Needed

Mystic River Watershed Association slideshow
Presented at Cambridge Environmental Hearing October 28

How global warming works: modeling Antarctic sea

Here's an interesting short video on mechanisms connecting global warming and increases in Antarctic sea ice:


Credit: Neil B.
Photo album:
Silver Maple Forest Cemetery for Lost Dreams
Alice Heller walks to scene of forest and wetland devastation with sign 11-9-14
Silver Maple Forest Conservation Plea: Keep the Land as Floodplain and Adaptation Center

Chronicle Editorial Nov. 6 ... echoes Obama's recent Executive report on natural resources protection, and the Intergovernmental UN Report (IPPC): "The gathering risks of climate change are so profound they could stall or even reverse generations of progress against poverty and hunger if greenhouse gas emissions continue at a runaway pace." (more)

Order Of Conditions - DEP File No. 123-208
Research on bird song impacts on human wellbeing

"[B]ird song contributes to positive values associated with urban green space. Urban planners should consider preserving a variety of habitats in cities for hosting a diversity of birds and thereby boost conservation of songbird diversity and recreational experiences for urban people. (more)

Carnage and Chaos at Alewife

Editorial on the felling of the trees, October 11, 2014

Response from long term activist and leader, Ellen Mass on recent woodland calamity at Alewife Reservation (article)

Cambridge Health and Environment Committee hearing

2014-10-28 3-5pm
Chair: Lelund Chung
Despite advance requests, Cambridge had neither audio nor video equipment and we were unable to obtain footage of Professor Morimoto's second half of the hearing.

from Friends of Alewife Reservation on Vimeo.

Gina-Maria Giuliano, 21, of Somerville is arrested during a protest to save Silver Maple Forest from a looming development project.
Credit: Wicked Local Staff Photos / Sara Feijo
Cambridge Chronicle On Silver Maple Forest Demise

Former Pennsylvania Firm: AP Cambridge Partners LLC II (Foreign registered)
Who really owns AP Cambridge Partners LLC II at this moment?

Ringler, 60, and Madeleine Sis, 21, a junior at Lesley University, were arrested around 10 a.m. for trespassing after they marched into the forest and refused to leave, according to Belmont Police Assistant Chief James MacIsaac. (article)

Chronicle hones in on "Greater Alewife Ecosystem" science of Cambridge Environmental Hearing 10-28

Developers have begun cutting down trees in a forest that borders Cambridge, Belmont and Arlington, but environmentalists say it's not too late to save the wooded area. (article)

Credit Martin Meissner/Associated Press
New York Times:
U.N. Panel Warns of Dire Effects From Lack of Action Over Global Warming

Machines digging for brown coal in front of a power plant near Grevenbroich, Germany, in April.

The gathering risks of climate change are so profound they could stall or even reverse generations of progress against poverty and hunger if greenhouse gas emissions continue at a runaway pace, according to a major new United Nations report. (article)

Letter from Ernie Kerwin to Belmont Town Officials
Cambridge Committee on Health and Environment 2014-10-28

Leland Cheung, Chair
Dennis Carlone
Nadeem Mazen
Marc Mcgovern

Summary of meeting


Severe impacts on the floodplain forest to surrounding resources and buildings
The Silver Maple Forest: Economic Benefits and Ecological Connections, Amy Mertl, Biology Professor, Lesley University

Hydrology Study of the Belmont Uplands in light of Climate Change on the Mystic River Watershed
Review of Drainage Calculations for Residences at Acorn Park Drive, Bruce Jacobs, HydroAnalysis, Inc.

"The Silver Maple Forest is more valuable as it is now than any development would be on the site, despite what has been lost"
The Silver Maple Forest is still alive, David Morimoto, Lesley University

"[Please] consider ... using the greatly valued 100 year floodplain ... for multiple community possibilities"
Conservation Proposal, Silver Maple Forest Alliance

Interview with FAR President, Ellen Mass

Peace and Justice Radio (90.3 FM, 6-10am Sundays) interviewed Ellen Mass, FAR President. (download mp3)

Silver Maple Forest poem

by David Morimoto, Journal of Conservation Biology, 1994 (poem)

From Neighbors Heller and Solomon

Tuesday morning October 28th

Two of us proceeded ed with signs and flowers from the Fresh Pond mall to the Silver Maple Forest site via Alewife T station so we were visible to all who were driving, biking and walking to their destinations noting climate change, flooding and animals. At the site, we were confronted with backhoes and noises of construction as they were bundling up the felled trees and clearing the area. We put some flowers on some stumps and said our farewell. It was sad and intimidating as there were a bunch of construction workers and a security detail in a big black car. We walked back with our signs visible so everyone could understand that there is still a community presence and a glimmer of hope that all is not lost.

US President Requires Natural Resources preservation
Third Wave of Arrests and Rally at Silver maple land

Belmont Restraining Order to Cease Work is Affirmed. Cutting has Stopped.

Cracking branches like breaking bones were louder than the crashes and thuds of the 80 year old trees towering over rich habitat within the Upper Alewife Basin in Belmont, bordered by Cambridge and Arlington, with no equal floodplain woodlands in the region, performing ecological nourishment, carbon sequestration functions, and green protection for the grand biodiversity of this New England home to wildlife species of 20 mammal and over 90 bird species, 40 of which are nesting. With seeming careful calculation, an agonizing death knell sounded for the gorgeous yellow leaved deeply lobed maples as hundreds were indiscriminently cut or bulldozed and hit the ground, falling on the public land and marshes - abandoned to die in full leaf, covering the ground in a corpse like blanket. (more)

Rozann Kraus HUNGER STRIKE In 3RD Day

Leading bike advocate, founder of TROMP, dance teacher and noted Cambridge citizen, is on a hunger strike for the safety and care of citizens. "Please find the attached flyer I was hoping to give to the Governor today. He was detained elsewhere. I will eat no solid food until the carnage at the Silver Maple Forest is stopped and new environmental impact studies are presented."

La Faute-Sur-Mer en Vendee,
Coast of France, October 15
Floodplain permitting crime
France Calls for severe prison sentence for Mayor for coastal floodplain permitting

In February 2010 a storm Xynthia provoked the death of 29 persons in La Faute-sur-Mer, en Vendee. While the trial must conclude on Friday, the prosecutor's office requested on Wednesday, October 15 various prison sentences against three of the four elected representatives in the affair. The former mayor of the community, Rene Marratier, is affected to serve as an example. The verdict will be made known on December 12. (more)

A personal silver maple forest cry to share with friends, from Esteemed Natural Science Professor at Lesley University with Students

The unravelling is happening before our eyes. Bees, deer, snakes, birds, and humans exodus. My heart goes out to US. All of you. ALL OF YOU. Lets converge Monday to mourn, keep hope burning, and make our presence known. Let's tell those who proclaim support to show it by standing with us, with their selectmen congressmen suits blessed by the forest soil, lest they be legacied as hypocrites who betrayed their kin. (more)

police officer handcuffs protestor
Published in Cambridge Day
Four More Arrested At Silver Maple Forest For Trespassing

Belmont, MA - October 17, 2014, 9am - Four Cambridge residents were arrested this morning for trespassing within the Belmont and Cambridge Silver Maple Forest presently being clear-cut. Signs along Acorn Park Drive in Belmont with over 20 supporters read, "No climate change," "Don't cut our floodplain silver maple trees," "Stop the cutting before it's too late." (more)

sun through silver maple branches
This Tree Fell (flyer)
We Heard It!!!

Save our Silver Maple Forest

It's a flood plain and they've started cutting… but it's not too late.


photo: David Mussina
Published in:
Wicked Local Cambridge article
Wicked Local Burlington
Wicked Local Belmont

photo: Quinton Zondervan
Cambridge Day article
Silver Maple Forest Rally and Arrests from October 14 (FAR article)

Belmont Selectmen have a double message from last night's meeting, but we support Selectman Paolillo town political reservation of economic pressure the new development will place on the town's basic services. At the same time they were willing once again to hear from Lesley biology professors Amy Mertl and David Morimoto who presented a strong argument for town enhancing benefits for natural resources functions and their financial savings from severe water/flood and pollution damages in the years ahead. New Selectman Bagdadi also applauded their economic research on the "Uplands" and Chair Rojas said they were doing everything they could. We do not know what that means or does anyone but them (Everything is in closed executive session).


birds flying from a tree
No more homes for them
Prudential and Partners Hide Behind Affordable Housing to Destroy a Floodplain Forest (press release)

After the trees that protect it have been cut and the animals left homeless.

PLEASE help spread the word.

Protest October 13
Save The Silver Maple Forest contingent
Honk! 2014 Parade
photo: Alexander Azzi
East coast sea rise reports floods take center stage

Huffington Post and sea rise
Union of Concerned Scientists .

FAR Newsletters: Silver Maple Forest

FAR and Silver Maple Forest events coming up.
Sign up to participate in the HONK March/Parade.

Stand with us for the trees!
vigil September 26, 2014

(see Calendar)

map from hydrology report
Drainage Swales Not Allowed As Storm Water Run Off from Developer

(letter) (hydrology report)

Belmont Uplands Owner: O'Neill Properties
What the Alewife Reservation and Upper Alewife Basin of the Mystic River watershed Can Do for You

From Max Lockwood, Marathon Runner from Washington D.C.

Forest / Wilderness Therapy - Saves people's lives by bringing them emotional balance and well being.

Forest Walks - Induce health and well being and this also extends life and overall human well being.

Bird Habitat and Birding - Provide a sanctuary for birds; Allows humans to learn about birds.

Wild flowers and plants - Provide a sanctuary for rare and common species of plants and flowers. Provide a safe place for people to visit and learn about them.

Educational opportunities - Provides schools (elementary, middle, high school and college) with invaluable opportunities to work first hand with animals and bird habitat, wildflowers and plants,

Outdoor recreation - Provides numerous health benefits including exercise and emotional well being.

Cleaner air - Provides additional oxygen to the air, improving the health of the current and future generations.

Nature drawing – Gives local artists and students of art an opportunity to access new and natural beauty in close proximity to their school or an urban environment.

Small river floodplain forest - Provides essential floodplain protection for the communities around and downstream from it.

Carbon Sequestration - Provides uptake of carbon from atmosphere during increasing climate change.

DCR FALL events in October, November, and December
State of Vermont Achieves 100 percent Renewable Energy Sources

Vermont's largest city has a new success to add to its list of socially conscious achievements: 100 percent of its electricity now comes from renewable sources such as wind, water, and biomass. It's not that Cambridge can replicate Burlington – we're in a whole different geographic situation, but the article is testimony to what long-term master planning can do to carry a city into a sustainable future. (more)

9/29: Cambridge annual bike riders stop to get "Save Silver Maple Forest" message at new Alewife storm water wetlands

new native garden
MWRA works with FAR to finalize native garden at Acorn Park Drive in Cambridge.

(Original garden was behind Alewife T Station)

Photo by David Mussina
Vigil 10/2 with Reverend Fred Small at Silver Maple Forest
Gentiana Andrewsii (Bottle Gentian)
Endangered Species Gentiana Andrewsii (Bottle Gentian) found for the 4th year in Alewife Reservation near the silver maple forest.

Registered with Ma. Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

Harvard College Faith and Action Group performs Community Service at Alewife Reservation 10/4. We located the plant cleaning the homeless encampments.
From the World's Largest Climate March to New England's Vital Small River Floodplain Forest
Urgent Group Letter in Cambridge Chronicle
"Silver Maple Forest - A valuable regional economic resource"


A look at this delicate ecosystem on the edge of Cambridge: Ellen Mass of Friends of the Alewife Reservation

"In this episode of Not for Nothin', I interview Ellen Mass of the Friends of the Alewife Reservation about this precious open space that straddles Cambridge, Arlington and Belmont. Development is threatening to destroy the reservation, situated on the Mystic River Watershed, which is home to irreplaceable flora and fauna." -Susan Fleischmann (video)

FAR Newsletter September/October: Silver Maple Forest in Imminent Danger
Press Release: Silver Maple Forest Vigils
History of Silver Maple Forest Belmont Uplands

"Uplands Area Transformed Over Centuries", first in a series of articles about the history of the Belmont Uplands by Anne Marie Lambert in Belmont Citizens Forum newsletter September-October.

Save the Silver Maple Forest
Save The Silver Maple Forest Logo

A developer plans to clearcut 700+ trees in the Silver Maple Forest in August to build almost 300 apartment units. He already has almost all the permits and expects to get the last permits and begin clearcutting, possibly within the next month.

If we do not act NOW, we will lose this unique urban wild resource forever!

Make a Difference
Contact your Legislators

Find your legislators.

Thanks to the following authors for their letters, which you can use for writing your own:
From Ben Beckwith to State Representative David Rogers.
From Walter Kittredge to Martha Coakley
From Ben Beckwith to Councillor Carlone
From Ben Beckwith to Selectman Rojas
From Pat Irwin to Marc McGovern
From Quinton Zondervan To City Manager Rossi

Subscribe for updates or Volunteer to help
We need volunteers to help with distributing postcards and other literature, attend meeetings, make phone calls, etc. and we will tell you when specific events are happening.

We will never sell your information to another organization.
Name: Email: Repeat Email: Phone (optional):

When you click either button, it will open an email to us. Press Send to send it to us.
Make a Difference
Help preserve this unique urban wild that serves our communities so well!
Silver Maple Forest 2014: Did you Know?
  • Did you know that the Silver Maple Forest is likely to be clear cut very soon if the developer has his way?
  • Did you know that many tons of climate carbon sequestration relief, and floodplain-protecting trees (hundreds) will be felled?
  • Did you know that the "Uplands" is technically a "small river flood plain forest"?
  • Did you know that the "uplands" is really a rare silver maple forest and it is unique in the Boston area, that holds the entire Alewife urban wild (Alewife Reservation) together for 19 species of mammals and 90 species of birds?
  • Did you know that the towns of Belmont and Arlington have both voted against the development of the Uplands on June 28, 2004?
  • Did you know that the town of Belmont cannot vote on whether to approve or not, the granted 40 B Housing application - a Massachusetts mandate in conjunction with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development?
  • Did you know that the removal of most of the Uplands (all upland area around the flood plain and vegetated buffering wetlands), will scatter or kill much very rare urban nesting and hibernating wildlife? Fisher, otter, fox, coyote, rabbit, muskrats, mink, etc.?
  • Did you know that O'Neill's 40 B filing estimates up to 1000 people, or 299 units, in the middle of stagnant mosquito marshes, wetlands and sensitive ecology systems with no amenities unless they are added to the already inappropriate plan?
  • Did you know that Little River and Little Pond in Belmont and Cambridge already have dangerously high levels of bacteria and pathogens tested by Mystic River Watershed Association?
  • Did you know that there is already a flooding issue along the flood plain and river where the developer will discharge into?
  • Did you know that Cambridge and state have extensive cleanup measures proposed, and are far along in their planned clean up of a part of Little River and Alewife Brook by 85 percent?
  • Did you know that the Mass Historical Society was against building on the Uplands because it believes that archeological relics may still be present?
  • Did you know that because of the great fill 60 years ago, that much of the Uplands has rich deposits and an undersoil that is excellent for borrowing and hibernating, but unstable for a huge building, such as the "40B" one proposed for nearly 1000 persons.
Floodplain facts from a Belmont Town Meeting member
  • Precipitation data show that at mid latitudes like the northeast US it is raining a lot more than it used to.
  • Storm data show that the intensity and frequency of severe storms is increasing in the northeast.
  • Models by some of the country's best climate scientists show that estimates of the "24-hour 100-year storm" started increasing dramatically in the 1990s.
  • The percentage of impervious surface in the Alewife Brook watershed has been increasing steadily since the 1930s and 1940s, when we started converting from an agricultural economy to an automobile-driven economy of manufacturing and industrial office parks, full of urban sprawl; it is now over 47%.
  • NOAA reports a ten-inch rise in sea level in Boston harbor over the last 100 years.
  • The above factors (and others) have resulted in increases in "peak flow" during any rain storm, a key indicator of flooding studied by Professor Vogel of Tufts on the Aberjona River, where they subsequently analyzed and built rain gardens and bioswales at carefully studied locations in order to slow down and filter stormwater.
  • The Army Corps of Engineers Hurricane Evacuation maps advise first responders to evacuate much of the Alewife Brook watershed as a "Zone 1" area should a hurricane of Category 2 or higher strike land in this area.
  • To date developers have had a lot more money, motivation, and staff to analyze and study what it takes to move forward than government officials and citizens have had to sort out the complexities of regional development during a time of apparent climate change.

For more information, call FAR at 617-415-1884.

Read Silver Maple Forest in Belmont Open Space - Report to the State

Town places high value on open spaces and Uplands:
Belmont Comprehensive Plan
Belmont Open Space And Recreation Plan
Belmont Five-Year Action Plan - Chapter 9

Save The Silver Maple Forest - Recent News
Cambridge Policy Orders on Silver Maple Forest, passed 2014-07-28

Cambridge Policy Order O-4 summary:

Cambridge Policy Order O-27 summary:

  • Commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Recreation: Require the developer to show, in an open hearing of the Belmont Conservation Commission, that the storm water systems of the development can indeed handle 8.6 inches of rain in a 24 hour, 100-year storm;
  • Commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Recreation: Consult with the Cambridge Conservation Commission regarding risks associated with extreme precipitation events;
  • City Clerk: Forward this resolution to the Commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Recreation.
Why transforming the Silver Maple Forest into a commons is the key to saving it from development

by Palatano (more)

Silver Maple Forest Alliance requests help from the Sierra Club


photo: Kathy Johnson
Reflections On The Silver Maple Forest By David Morimoto


People's Climate March this Saturday

Environmental activist Bill McKibben
(photo: BillMcKibben.com)

"Two Silences and a Big Loud Noise at the People's Climate March"

Land Valuation Misdeeds in Belmont

Accruing profit value on a 40B affordable housing property. The US Supreme Court has precedents against this type of tax payer gouging. (Testimony to Belmont's Zoning Board of Appeals- 2006)

Know The Silver Maple Forest Floodplain Facts


Environmental Bond bill signed without Silver Maple Forest

FAR is pleased that Governor Patrick signed H. 4375 "An Act Providing for the Preservation and Improvement of Land, Parks and Clean Energy in the Commonwealth" into law, thanks to Environmental League of Massachusetts. But we are not pleased about the omission of silver maple foreest which has been our preservation charge and hard work over the past 2 years trying to bring it back to the legislative arena since it was vetoed by Gov. Patrick in 2012 after passing House and Senate by then-Rep. Brownsberger and then-Watertown legislator colleague, Steve Tolman.

Arlington and Belmont Commissions still using out of date rain data

"The 24-hour 100-year storm is now estimated at 8.8. inches instead of the 6.5 inches estimated in 1961. It is my understanding that the stormwater management design of the proposed project was made to accommodate 6.5 inches of rain, an event which is now known to occur every 30 years instead of every 100 years." (more)

Alewife North Trail Adirondack bridge at high water level during FAR Ecology Camp 2014 at wildlife walk, led by Anne Marie Lambert
two people coming out of the forest
photo: Elley Vanderlinde

Adirondack bridge built by FAR summer campers of 2012.

Cambridge Day: "Weather swells storm of public comment, but Silver Maple Forest order is washout"
Your Arlington: "Storm Of Public Comment Favoring Silver Maple Forest, But Council Waters Down Order"

Damaging flooding hits North Cambridge at Alewife

Letter from Cambridge Housing Authority - assessment of flood damage. (letter)

Silver Maple Forest Notification Letter To State On Climate Change Impacts 2014

From Belmont Storm Water Working Group - Anne Marie Lambert (letter)

Poem Draft By Maya Apfelbaum

A poem for saving the Silver Maple Forest (more)

march to rally location
Wicked Local Staff Photo / David Gordon
Environmentalists protest the silver maple forest project


Silver Maple Forest Rally and Parade on June 28, 2014

photo: Kathy Johnson
Reflections on the Silver Maple Forest by David Morimoto

Where's the Lorax when you need him?
The trees have something to say to us.
Published in the Arlington Advocate
2014-09-06: part 1
To come: part 2

Silver Maple Forest Will Go Say Cambridge Officials

August- City Manager Speaks to Belmont and Arlington officials on purchase
August- City DPW Commissioner Describes Silver Maple Forest Development and Construction

Optimism and Inspiration for future of Urban Cities- International Sustainable Cities Newsletter (here)
Ecology Camp 2014

15 urban high school campers from Cambridge learn everything about the Alewife Reservation's ecology. They are having a great time this summer.

2014 Ecology Camp Daily Log - latest entry: June 30

2014 Ecology Camp Weekly Log - latest entry: Week 2

FAR Newsletter, Volume 1, Number 4, July/August 2014
  • FAR Ecology Camp 2014 Visits The State House
  • FAR Ecology Camp 2014 Ends
  • Editorial: Save the Silver Maple Forest!


2006: Belmont Uplands Ecological Overview

By noted ecologist Patrick Fairbairn (document)

2013: Silver Maple Forest Passed Unanimously


Belmont Conservation Commission Cites Numerous Infractions of the Wetlands Protection Act


Alewife Greenway Cleanup Saturday July 26

Alewife Brook Greenway users are invited to join in a cleanup of a section of the path in Arlington on Saturday, July 26, from 10:00am - Noon. (more)

Forest Therapy highly Recommended

(Japan Times article "‘Forest therapy' taking root")

Thank you From Mass Environmental League and 90 organizations including FAR to Legislators


New Storm Water Wetlands Brochure

West Cambridge Environmental Center (brochure)

The River is a Restless Spirit

The Silver Maple Floodplain Forest
Audubon Sanctuary March 2006

Mass. Audubon Highlights Silver Maple Forest Values and Conservation Imperative

The River is a Restless Spirit
Author Gayle Taylor Goddard has been in publishing for over 30 years.

people working at garden
Alewife Reservation Community Native Entry Garden

In photo: Ellen Clippenger (City of Cambridge), Ellen Mass (FAR), Sara Butler (Architect), Sami Smith (Lesley Intern), Bill Ackerly (FAR board), Stephen Gillies (FAR member), Lanny Callanan (DCR).

(three years growth of flora)

Black crowned night heron at Yates Pond at Alewife T stop
pople listening to guide
Fresh Pond Residents Alliance trip to Alewife Reservation


Urban Gem Article for Arlington Advocate - Lorene Melvin

My Early morning walk with Ellen Mass of FAR brought sightings of species of warblers including yellow, black and white and yellow rump warblers, ovenbirds, myrtle, and palm warblers. (more)

Friends of Alewife Reservation signs onto Environmental Bond Bill
Buzz on bridge
Alewife Red Tail Saga

Buzz has been putting on quite a show for everyone, feverishly bringing in dozens if not hundreds of sizable sticks to the atrium of 185 Alewife Brook Parkway. You can see the old nest from 2010 & 2011 on the left (south) side of the atrium, and the new “nest” on what we called the “annex, opposite the old 185 nest.” (more)

apartment building
Belmont Citizens Forum on Overdevelopment in North Cambridge


VNRC email header
Vermont passes state laws protecting lakes and ponds and wildlife habitat on the shores

H 516 passed by legislature. From Vermont Natural Resources Council. (more)

Sustainable Arlington member Aggragates Climate Change News

David Landskov, FAR Board

turtles mating

photo: Kathy Johnson
Yates Pond: Turtles Mating, May 2014
10 Examples of 'Green' Architecture in Africa
sandbag houses
sandbag houses Image: www.designother90.org

‘Green' has become a buzzword for sustainable, safe, energy efficient and/or economic. The Encyclopaedia Britannica describes green architecture as a ‘philosophy of architecture that advocates sustainable energy sources, the conservation of energy, the reuse and safety of building materials, and the siting of a building with consideration of its impact on the environment'. In the world of architecture we are all trying to go green but is this the same in Africa and if it is, how is it being manifested? (more)

Seal of Dept Energy and Environmental Affairs
Friends Groups Protect our Parks and Reserves Across the Commonwealth - JOIN FAR today
MIT Environmental Club at Rainy Earth Day/Park Serve Day
dump truck heaped with large metal and plastic trash
Earth Day and Park Serve Day A Great Success

Results of Mystic River Earth Day and Department of Conservation and Recreation Park Serve Day could not have been better. Despite the lousy weather for a cleanup program, FAR was delighted to receive students and residents from BU, MIT and UMass, and from Belmont and a worker from the local bowling alley. Participants heaped a pickup truck with trash bags and heaped a dump truck with large metal and plastic trash. (more)

Jim Hansen at MIT on Climate with extensive scientific response blog

Recent appearance with attention on methane, the Arctic and Greenland. (article from Daily Kos)

capture of FAR Wildlife Blog
The new FAR Wildlife Blog is open

The link is in the green column on the right of the page.

Canada Geese Understood

Kathy Johnson from Arlington Advocate

Canada geese are extremely visible and 'in your face', and mostly considered a nuisance. We often don't notice their regal stance and graceful flight in perfect V-alignment whereby we know spring is here or winter is on the way. (more)

Ruby soaring
End of an Era- Buzz and Ruby Homage with Paul Roberts Flickr photos

There was understandable excitement when Ruby was found incubating on March 8. There are at least three spots from which you can clearly see the nest, but you really needed a scope to be able to see if a bird might be sitting low in the nest. And it quickly became clear that the nest had been built up, so that it was often difficult if not impossible to determine if a bird was sitting tight (low) in the nest. (more)

Ruby soaring. Photo: Paul Roberts. More photos at

New Signs At Alewife Reservation
new sign

Sign Making at Alewife Reservation with National Civilian Community Corp and artist, Jennifer O'Donnell. Vermont cedar boards and making of wooden materials, Stuart Soboleski.

Sixteen signs were erected at the newly paved and created Alewife Belmont to Brighton pathway which give directives for observation, respect of wildlife, share the path, bird sanctuary, and welcome to the Alewife Reservation. Thanks to the above for their contributions.

Official New York City Wetlands Planning, Post-Sandy

The City of New York
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg

[W]etlands play a critical role in maintaining water quality and provide important wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities. … The somewhat overlapping Federal, State, and local regulatory regimes … contain gaps that may leave critical remaining wetlands vulnerable to a variety of direct and indirect pressures. This white paper identifies those gaps and suggests general approaches to filling them.
(pdf document)

Articles feature Beloved red tail Ruby death by poison

Globe article notes demise of red tail with mistaken poison location (more)
Wide concerns grow about development projects at Alewife and Fresh Pond (more)
Dead animals are showing up at Alewife and recently Ruby, the noted Red tail was killed from rodenticide and proven by an official necropsy. Although not known what killed the 4 geese and opossum by the storm water wetlands oxbow and new forebay adjacent to Cambridge Park Drive at the “Triangle”, we must immediately appeal to leaders in the city and owners of newly permitted construction to avoid all rat poison or rodenticides, and instead use other methods.

The DCR funding call has been voted on

Mass. Budget Allotments to DCR: results are as follows: We did well on Green Budget amendment co-sponsorships, particularly for our top priorities - the approximate current number of co-sponsors are DCR Seasonal Staff (34), DCR Parks & Rec (29), and DEP Admin (15). THANK YOU for reaching out to legislators and helping mobilize people throughout MA to get these numbers!! Legislators can still sign on as co-sponsors after today until the budget is debated in late April. Sent from Environmental League of Mass. By Erica Mattison.

Warm and Cold We Share Together

A Climate video series by International scientists. Produced in China. Series of A Civilization Journey of Climate. (more)

Sustainable Belmont organization spotlighted Belmont Uplands Silver Maple Forest

Its history and conditions, legal status and present preservation efforts

Presenters: Anne Marie Lambert and Idith Haber Kisin, in behalf of preserving the Belmont Uplands
Article by Ellen Mass

( Requested slide shows from Coalition to Preserve Belmont Uplands and Belmont Citizen Forum )

Farmhouses on Hill Road, Belmont
Anne Marie Lambert shared Alewife History and Hydrology with Belmonters

Presentation by Anne Marie Lambert of Sustainable Belmont, April 2, 2014, at the Belmont Public Library:

Belmont Uplands: History, Relevance
A Belmont Perspective on Some Regional Issues

USGS report on Alewife

US Geological Survey (USGS) 01103025 ALEWIFE BROOK NEAR ARLINGTON, MA.
Data on Alewife Brook flow rates from 2011-04-04 forward. (more)

First Parish Cambridge Trip to Alewife Reservation, March 23

The Sunday School program from First Parish in Cambridge visited the Alewife Reservation. (more)

eagle on sandy shore of Mystic Lake
photo: George McLean
Eagle on Mystic Lake

Sighted recently by a Belmont Light employee at Blair Pond in Cambridge and Belmont.

Cambridge's Recycling Newsletter

This newsletter has vital and interesting information about recycling ideas for you and your home area. (newsletters)

Thanks to Randy Mail for this.

photo of wetlands
photo-Art Michaels
Wetlands: The Vital Link

This article explains the differences among kinds of wetlands, why wetlands are important to us, and why fish, amphibians and reptiles need wetlands. (more) (entire series downloadable, added April 3, 2014)

Friends of Fresh Pond has a new Website - Check it out

Full of things to learn and do.

(their website) (their events)

cover page
Federal Government Engineering Journal Spotlights Alewife Storm Water Wetlands

Article on construction of the Alewife Storm Water Wetlands. (more)

From Engineer of Montgomery and Watson, Bill Pisano, long term friend of Alewife Reservation.

Natural Resources Alert

This Nasa Earth Observatory image shows a storm system circling around an area of extreme low pressure in 2010, which many scientists attribute to climate change.
Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

A new study partly-sponsored by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution. (more)

photo of meeting at Tobias School
Fresh Pond and Alewife Residents met at Tobin

Fresh Pond and Alewife Residents met at Tobin on 3-25-2014 to discuss urban planning, zoning, moratorium and basics of development and over-development. Round of applause after FAR noted the importance of including the climate change factor in residential living conditions in low lying watershed area such as the Mystic River watershed.

photo of canada geese walking among wildflowers
Three Canada Geese Deserve Eulogy

Canada geese are extremely visible and 'in your face'. We often don't notice their regal stance and graceful flight in perfect V alignment whereby we know spring is here or winter is on the way. In flight, male and female honk in sequence, indicating their instinctive manner of migration and love life. As a child, a goose approached me and bent his long graceful neck, then lightly bit my big toe. It looked up at me as eye to eye we met, and then walked away. Stunned, not hurt, I got the point. It was a diplomatic gesture of territory and I never forgot. (more)

photo of rooftop array of photovoltaic cells -
Biomimicry - Buildings of the Future

Time to re-think modern architecture, design and efficiency. Seattle may have the greenest biomimicry building in the world. (more)

photo of grass trees, mountains, sky
Recovery of the Climate Report

Recovery of the Climate
Scientific Report from Eastern Europe
New Water Paradigm (more)

photo: Kathy Johnson
What killed the Canada geese by the storm water wetland/oxbow?

Three dead geese found 3/10 with a long oil slick and either algae or fecal matter by carcasses at the oxbow entry at Little River. City of Cambridge is investigating cause. Poison and contamination spread is the concern of Friends of Alewife Reservation. (more) (flickr album)

Storm surge map of Mystic River Watershed
Click for interactive map
Climate Change Map of Alewife - Fresh Pond in North Cambridge

(Mystic River watershed climate surge data)
Map sent by Michele Sprengnether of Fresh Pond Residence Alliance

This map shows what area around Alewife has over a 1 in 6 chance of flooding by 2020. (more)

LETTER: Ecologists praise Alewife's urban wildlife

On Feb. 26 at Leslie Univeristy "deep ecology" speakers included wildlife assessor David Brown and landscape storm water wetland designer Duke Bitsko. (more)

a robin eats sumac berries
photo: Kathy Johnson
A robin caught eating some sumac
at Alewife Reservation recently.
Spring Arrives A Little Early for Some

Just a couple of days ago I saw dried leaves and underbrush near the creek or channel, historically, "Alewife Brook," which runs beside and into Little River from North Cambridge. I thought how colorless and cold it looked in spite of shining blue skies, and it was only 20 degrees. (more)

Formerly on the endangered species list, peregrine falcons are increasingly common in cities.
Biodiversity Support for Cities Expands in 2014

The rapid conversion of natural lands to cement-dominated urban centers is causing great losses in biodiversity. Yet, according to a new study involving 147 cities worldwide, surprisingly high numbers of plant and animal species persist and even flourish in urban environments — to the tune of hundreds of bird species and thousands of plant species in a single city. (more)

map of Alewife Brook Watershed
Green Infrastructure Plans Moving Forward in Belmont and Arlington

The Towns of Arlington and Belmont will work to identify the highest sources of stormwater runoff within their communities and begin planning for solutions to mitigate this impact. The municipalities, along with MyRWA, are taking a proactive approach toward identifying pollution sources and reducing pollutant loading through an examination of solutions with a focus on “green” structural Best Management Practices (BMPs). (more)

State and National Storm Water By-Law could protect Belmont and Cambridge silver maples

Idith Haber of the Coalition to Preserve Belmont Uplands gives hope for enforcing state and federal environmental laws using national standards:National Pollution Discharge Environmental Standards (NPDES) of 2011 which requires implementation via extensive infrastructure, protecting polluted storm water from our streams and rivers, and with greater erosion and flooding controls. National standards must apply.

The town may allow an over riding of the required storm water by-law based on a housing 40 B loophole. Cambridge should weigh into this opportunity to preserve its new 150 million dollar project of storm water wetlands which proceeded the last 2 years with utmost regulatory NPDES implementation. Such non-compliance upstream in Belmont may compromise the storm water wetlands in Cambridge. (more)

Alewife Brook
Mystic River Watershed Association helps bring attention to reduction of CSO discharges into the Little River and into Alewife Brook

From: Mystic River Watershed Association printed by Arlington Patch (more)

Arlington environmentalists ask delay for FEMA "floodway" building plan

Letter from Arlington Vision 2020's Sustainable Arlington to Rep. Garbally and Rep. Rogers

Preparing for the Rising Tide
Boston Harbor Association publishes Climate Report for Massachusetts

Boston Harbor Association publishes Climate Report for Massachusetts using FEMA as baseline for data by NAVD model — not other models which Cambridge will use such as ADCIRC.

Thanks to BHA for the scenerios reviewed and clear directives given. (more)

Disappearance of Alewife Reservation

Alewife Reservation has disappeared, but with good scientific reason. (more)

Massachusetts Climate Change State Regulations from 2009

(Requires agencies to withhold permits on floodplains and areas of flooding sensitivities.)

In considering and issuing permits, licenses and other administrative approvals and decisions, the respective agency, department, board, commission or authority shall also consider reasonably foreseeable climate change impacts, including additional greenhouse gas emissions, and effects, such as predicted sea level rise. (more)

2013 Friends Network Annual conference in Upton MA
group picture of conference attendees

2013 Friends of DCR Parks Network annual conference in Upton Massachusetts.
Center left: Ellen Mass, president of Friends of Alewife Reservation.

Excerpts from Five Comment Reports from January 15 DEP site visit participants on hotel development at Alewife Reservation area

Commeters to DEP extracted here are: Kathy Johnson, Anne Marie Lambert, Lucia Lovison, Ellen Mass, Quinton Zondervan, Councilor Dennis Carlone. Other commenters include legislators Representative Dave Rogers and Senator Sean Garballey.

Dennis Carlone, Cambridge City Councillor. The City's recognition that a vulnerability study is needed tells me that we need to be cautious in developing sensitive areas now under study. It makes great sense to wait for and learn from the vulnerability study recommendations before your Department's final determination is issued. (full letter)

Ellen Mass, President of Friends of Alewife Reservation. We will not be able to ascertain what future protections are required for this region of the Boston metropolis and our western corridor until the in-depth regional studies are done which will indicate massive flooding for this region during high hurricane level storms. The June 2014 Vulnerability Assessment, a state-wide initiative will either confirm or contradict the proponent's flood assessment predictions. (full letter)

Kathy Johnson, Site Visit Proponent, Appellate, Neighborhood Resident. Since a "Vulnerability Assessment" is in process in Cambridge with a long list of noted advisors and scientists and university advisors, I ask the DEP to hold off on permits related to flood storage and water elevation." (full letter)

Lucia Lovison-Golob, GISCI, Engineering Geologist and Geophysicist, Friends of Alewife Reservation (FAR) consultant and FAR Board Member. [I recommend] to wait for the vulnerability study … while asking to BSC Group to increase the storage tanks to cover for a 10.8 feet NGVD 88 (NOT 10 feet … as they are designed now) (full letter)

Quinton Zondervan, President of Green Cambridge. The climate is changing and we need to change our ways of deciding where to build what. At the very least, we can wait to permit large new buildings in the floodway until the vulnerability study has been concluded. I've added my name to a citizen's petition asking the Department of Environmental Protection to overrule the Conservation Commission's decision. (full letter)

GUEST COMMENTARY Need to investigate hotel plan at Alewife

On Jan. 15, the site visit area was saturated with storm water, almost entirely. Walking on grass was extremely difficult and large pools lay throughout. Geese and birds covered the grass. The Wetlands Protection Act designation (Bordering Land Subject to Flooding-BLSF) is present throughout the building plan area. Three remaining proposed buildings that would be on the 100-year floodplain are part of the Bulfinch Master Plan permitted in 2008 for nearly a million square feet. (more)

flooding in Discovery Park
Cambridge Environmentalists Cite Need to Delay and Investigate Hotel Plan at Alewife (Department of Environmental Protection site visit)

DEP site visit at Alewife. 10 citizen appeal brings attention to the FEMA 100 year floodplain and floodway. (more)

flooding in Discovery Park
Flooding at Discovery Park - Alewife Reservation


Department of Environmental Protection accepts Appeal from 10 Cambridge citizens to block or to delay a new hotel off of Route 2 by Alewife Reservation
BSC engineers for Bulfinch point out new hotel site

This past month, Department of Environmental Protection accepted a 10 citizen Appeal of Cambridge Conservation Commission's permit of 85 thousand sq.ft. for a 4 story hotel directly on the Alewife floodplain (see photos) at a time when Cambridge has begun its region-wide "Vulnerability Study" that will include Alewife and the Charles River watershed. The Study is now on hold for another 6 months in anticipation of the ongoing Central Artery flooding study with Woods Hole research which pertains to climate control of this region. (more)

New Harvard/Smithsonian Report Warns of Forest Removal
view from Bare Mt to NW

A groundbreaking study released Dec. 11, 2013 by the Harvard Forest and the Smithsonian Institution reveals that, if left unchecked, recent trends in the loss of forests to development will undermine significant land conservation gains in Massachusetts, jeopardize water quality, and limit the natural landscape's ability to protect against climate change. The good news is that the research shows alternatives exist for protecting and enhancing vital forest benefits for people and nature. ? The two-year study is unique in its forward-looking approach and its use of sophisticated computer models to conduct a detailed acre-by-acre analysis of the entire forested landscape of Massachusetts over 50 years… (article) (full report) (video of status of Massachusetts forests and perilous impacts in the future)

picture of hotspot - beautiful river area
Hot spot area WIB001 within the Alewife Reservation.
Hot Spots In The Mystic River Watershed

This map shows the Mystic River watershed and the known hot spots - areas of contaimination. If you zoom in on the Cambridge/Belmont border, you can find Alewife Station, the Alewife Reservation area, and the WIB001 hot spot. Click on WIB001 to see graphs of the history of E. coli and phosphorus readings at that site, with explanations.

Vulnerability Study Must be Complete- Stop Alewife Permits Until Then

December 2013 by Quinton Zondervan, President, Green Cambridge
The city of Cambridge is in the middle of conducting a Climate Vulnerability Study… We know the storms are coming but we don't know yet what to do about it. The vulnerability study is meant to provide us with a more detailed idea of what to prepare for in terms of climate changes, including rainfall patterns and flooding… ( full article)

Sustainable Belmont on Storm water

December 2013
While we rarely face water scarcity in Belmont, we are subject to the impacts of extreme weather events, such as Hurricane Sandy. With a 28% increase in precipitation in the last decade, stormwater run-off can cause sewers to overflow and pollute our basements, groundwater, streams and ponds. During extreme weather events, stormwater in the Mystic River can back up causing flooding of basements, roads and schools…..… (Sustainable Belmont website)

icon of Arlington Land Trust News 2004 Fall front page
Past views of Alewife floodplain still relevant today (from Arlington Land Trust News 2004)

The recent state court decision favoring the Town of Arlington and a federal mapping study of the floodplain around the Alewife Brook watershed both offer long-awaited recognition of the severity of flooding in this fragile area, and add support to long-standing and broad-based efforts to protect open space in the region… (more)

map of europe
Sustainable Cities Collective writer says, "Only one in Four European Cities prepared for Climate Change"

Seven out of ten European cities have no formal plans to adapt to climate change and one in three cities have no plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions according to new research. (article)

Jun 11, 11am-3pm: Fresh Pond Day (details)

Celebrate the land, water, wildlife and people that make Fresh Pond Reservation a unique and vital part of our City! The festivities will happen all around the Water Purification Facility at Fresh Pond Reservation, 250 Fresh Pond Parkway.

Check out DCR Events - June 5-15, 2016

Check out DCR Events - June 5-15, 2016

(older news articles)

On This Site
Forest and Park Friends Network

winter wildlife walk Presentation Spotlighting Alewife Reservation
Make a Difference
Help preserve this unique urban wild
Get Social!
Look for hashtag #AlewifeFriends on all your social media posts and use it on your posts about Alewife Reservation.
twitter logo   Follow us on Twitter
facebook logo   Like us on Facebook
instagram logo   Follow us on Instagram

Forward our web address to a friend!
Regional, National and International Climate Change
Aggregated by David Landskov of Sustainable Arlington and FAR board member.
Local Resources
About Friends of Alewife Reservation

The Alewife Reservation is a unique natural resource for the communities of Belmont, Arlington and Cambridge and home to hundreds of species, including hawks, coyotes beavers, snapping turtles, wild turkeys and muskrats, the reservation is a unique natural resource for the community.
Historical information (Powerpoint)

Friends of Alewife Reservation works to protect and restore this wild area and the surrounding area for the water quality, native plants, animals and over 90 bird species with paths for walking, running and biking, recreation, and for classroom education and research. We regularly steward and preserve the Reservation area for wildlife and for the enjoyment of present and future generations.

photo of nature walk

About Friends of Alewife Reservation
Statement of Purpose
Virtual Tour
Right now, view the wildlife-rich North Trail of Alewife Reservation.
MA Dept. of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)
Master Plan for Alewife Reservation
Citizen Forester newsletter archive
History of Cambridge
Free Download from Google Play
The Birds of the Cambridge Region of Massachusetts

by William Brewster 1906
Nuttal Ornithological Society

Biodiversity Study of Alewife Reservation Area: Species, Habitat, Ecosystems

Inventories by David Brown, wildlife assessor (2003, 2004.) Published by and available from FAR for $10. Write or call for your copy. (sample)

Updated Dave Brown Inventories (2008, 2010)

Inventories of Alewife Reservation Wetland Plants by Walter Kittredge, Botanist (2013)
Phone: 617-415-1884
Email: info@friendsofalewifereservation.org
Join our mailing list

For technical problems with this website, email: webmaster@friendsofalewifereservation.org