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FAR responds to City Climate Change Display Presentation

On Nov 30, the City of Cambridge released a draft plan to minimize climate-related flood risks to Cambridge residents and businesses. Some local businesses and environmental advocacy groups, however, cited important concerns. Friends of Alewife Reservation President Ellen Mass suggested that restoration of porous marshland, which allows rainwater to filter into the ground, should be a priority. You can read local media coverage here.

Earthos Institute and Tufts University to host Alewife Climate Resilience Sympoium

Earthos Institute and Tufts University invite you to a symposium on Alewife corridor collaborative resilience. The symposium will bring together the Alewife corridor communities of Belmont, Arlington, Cambridge, Somerville, Medford, and Winchester to look at the Alewife flood plain in its entirety, and explore collaborative scenarios for tackling issues of resiliency and climate adaptation. More information can be found here.

International Biodiversity Group in Cambridge brings experts together

In 2016, Biodiversity for a Livable Climate held a conference at Harvard University exploring Earth's biodiversity and how it benefits humanity. You can watch videos from the presentation here. The director of Biodiversity for a Livable Climate, Adam Sacks, has also written an article illustrating that biodiversity, not geo-engineering, holds the key to addressing climate change. That article can be read here.

America's First Day Hikes in our Region

The Department of Conservation and Recreation has announced dates for the the 2018 'First Day Hikes.' Family-friendly hikes will be provided on January 1 at seven state parks across the Commonwealth, as part of America’s State Parks First Day Hikes initiative. Hikes at Walden Pond State Reservation in Concord (12pm) and at Breakheart Reservation in Saugus (10am) are the closest. You can read the full press release, including the complete list of times and locations, here.

Artwork by Stephanie Liu

Amazing water color of eagle at Belmont's Little Pond

Regular visitor Stephanie Liu has taken many great videos of bald eagles at Little Pond in Belmont. Now she has captured eagle behavior in another medium: watercolor! It really is an impressive work of art! You can see a larger image here.

Local Expert on Sustainability Urges Moratorium on Construction near Alewife

Dr. Sarah Slaughter, an expert in the fields of sustainability and environmental resilience, has written a letter to the Cambridge Planning Board calling for a two-year moratorium on permits for new construction in the Alewife area. She raises many important points that the Board should address. You can read the whole letter here.

Eagles Continue Close Partnership at Alewife- Little Pond

Regular visitor Stephanie captured another video of a pair of bald eagles at Little Pond. You can watch it here.

Many Concerns Regarding Permits at 55 Wheeler St Near Alewife

More watershed testing and assessment is needed related to a MEPA review and subsequent Environmental Impact Review (EIR) which, when buildings are assessed cumulatively, more water storage and major open space is required from city permitting standards and from developers. Quantity of units of 2000 should be reduced by half. To comply with FEMA and state standards for floodplain (whether 100 year or 500 years), and city and state infrastructure according to Dr. Slaughter’s engineering analysis should be followed as well as a 2 year freeze. Major flooding in other sections of the country such as Houston, Texas should serve as a cautionary message to Cambridge... Full letter of opposition.

Aquarium team clears trash at homeless encampment near Little River

Members of the New England Aquarium's 'Live Blue Service Corps' led by Linda Carr and Ryan Kingston cleaned up trash at a homeless encampment at Alewife Reservation on November 19. Their hard work on a rainy day improved habitat for the Reservation's wildlife and also prevented trash from making its way into Litte River. We are so fortunate to have such enthusiastic conservation partners! Thank you so much for your help! Picture.

Photo by Mike Mulqueen

Awesome Insect Pictures Taken at Alewife and shared on iNaturalist

Regular visitor Mike Mulqueen took some fantastic pictures of insects at Alewife Reservation and shared them on the FAR Sightings blog as well as on the website iNaturalist. iNaturalist lets you share observations of nature (including locations of pictures) with other interested members of the community. Thanks for the great photos, Mike! You can check out pictures and other observations from Alewife Reservation here (you'll have to zoom in a bit to see our area clearly).

Photo: Jessica Rinaldi, Globe Staff

Globe backs federal EPA for continuing to regulate Massachusetts water pollution

Governor Baker wants the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to take over water pollution regulatory authority from the Federal Environmental Protection Agency. The Boston Globe editorial board writes that doing so could reduce enforcement due to political influence and sharply increase costs for taxpayers. Friends of Alewife Reservation opposes this proposal (House Bill 2777).

Photo by Jake Stout

Golden rewards found on the Saturday FAR Alewife Reservation Walk

Reservation monitor and steward Jake Stout met up with 10 eager visitors for a nature walk at Alewife Reservation on Sunday, November 12. The highlights of the walk included a bald eagle, a belted kingfisher, and great horned owls. Check out pictures from the walk!

Bald Eagles Seen at Little Pond

Regular visitor Stephanie captured some video of a pair of bald eagles at Little Pond. These magnificent birds are seen periodically in the Alewife area and it is encouraging to see them returning to our neighborhood once again! You can watch the video and read about her experience here.

Charles River Watershed Association Explains its Water Quality Duties

Developments proposed for the West Cambridge Quadrangle will add thousands of units and increase stormwater discharge (some of it contaminated with harmful bacteria) to Little River, which received a 'D' grade in the last round of federal water quality assessment. A rigorous water quality testing program, like that used by the Charles River Watershed Association in the Charles River, is needed in the Alewife subwatershed of the Upper Mystic River Watershed.

Video from the Climate Resilience Candidates Forum: Alewife Flooding Addressed

Many of the consequences of Climate Change will be felt at the local level, and how we plan for the future will determine our ability to sustain our quality of life. Cambridge residents had an opportunity to hear what candidates for City Council knew and thought about this important topic on September 26. Video of the forum has been posted here. Discussion of Alewife floodplain protections occurs at ~1:49:00.

Is Cambridge Climate Resilience Planning Left to Boston?

Climate change is here and it will dramatically affect the lives of Cambridge residents in the future. A recent article suggests that the lives and property of those residents will depend on the Coastal Resilience Solutions (including a sea wall) proposed by the City of Boston. Meanwhile, some meteorologists are saying our unusual weather is mostly related to an 'El Niño' effect. You can check out the Cambridge Climate Protection Action Committee's November Climate Bulletin here.

Picture taken by Christopher Addis

FAR and others lobby for Mass Parks and Water at Beacon Hill

Friends of Alewife Reservation president Ellen Mass joined Gabby Queenlan from Massachusetts Rivers alliance and others to advocate at the state legislature for parks and clean water. They met with Cambridge representative Mike Connolly. One of the primary goals was to call for an increase to the DEP and DCR budgets. The 'Lobby Day' event was sponsored by the Environmental League of Massachusetts. Picture. TV station WWLP provided coverage of this important citizen effort.

DCR Citizen Forester, November, 2017

In this issue:

  • Income, equity and the urban forest
  • Species Spotlight: Common witchhazel, Hamamelis virginiana
  • TREE Fund webinar
  • Grants, Webcasts, Events, Resources, and more!
Webinar Training for lobbying at the state house on behalf of parks and water

November 2 is Lobby Day at the Massachusetts State House, and the Environmental League of Massachusetts wants to help you learn how to effectively advocate on behalf of parks and water. They have organized a free online training event on Oct 30 from noon - 1pm that will cover the Lobby Day agenda, materials to bring, a 'Budget 101' and other useful information. You can register here. FAR needs your advocacy!

Picture by Maria Smith

Aquarium Volunteers Team Up with Friends of Alewife Reservation for Cleanup

Volunteers from the New England Aquarium 'Live Blue Service Corps' came to Alewife Reservation to help remove wood pallets found in Little River.The volunteers also mapped invasive vegetation so FAR could apply to the Conservation Commission for permission to do further cuttings. Pictures.

Endangered Bottle Gentian (Gentiana andrewsii) Found at Alewife for the 4th time

An eagle-eyed visitor spotted a rare Andrews' Bottle Gentian at Alewife Reservation. This beautiful flower is classified as 'endangered' by the State of Massachusetts and was previously found at Alewife in 2010 and 2015. We are so fortunate to have one of these rare plants in our neighborhood!.

Picture by Deb Milligan

Good Turnout for Nature Walk on October 14

Reservation naturalist and monitor Jake Stout led a nature walk at Alewife Reservation on Octobe 14. Over a dozen people attended, including students from Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, participants in the 2017 Summer Ecology Camp, visitors from Fresh Pond and regular attendee Marsha Hunter. Full-size picture.

Bald Eagle Returns to Little Pond

Regular visitor Stephanie captured some great video of a bald eagle at Little Pond. These magnificent birds are seen periodically in the Alewife area and it is encouraging to see them returning to our neighborhood once again! You can watch the video here.

MIT Professor sends letter warning of risks of building in the Alewife quadrangle floodplain

Sarah Slaughter, MIT professor and CEO of Built Environment Coalition, sent a letter to the Cambridge Community Development Board warning of the dangers to residents of building in the Alewife quadrangle floodplain area. She recommended a moratorium on new construction permits in the Alewife quadrangle to prevent the kind of flooding tragedy recently observed in Houston following Hurricane Harvey. You can read her full letter here.

Picture by George McLean

Alewife News and Updates: September and October

In this issue:

  • Letter from the FAR President
  • Update on seasonal activities
  • Proposed developments in the Alewife area
  • And more!
Gov. Baker proposes Mass DEP takes over Federal water pollution regulations

The National Pollution Discharge Elimination System monitors the discharge of pollutants into waterways and is currently administered by the Federal Government (EPA). Gov. Baker wants to change that with House Bill 2777, but doing so would place a huge and unnecessary financial burden on Massachusetts taxpayers. Mass Rivers Alliance (MRA) has responded with a major environmental campaign, and FAR requests environmental minded citizens respond with letters (sample from MRA) and phone calls (Talking Points) to oppose the huge enforcement burdens on Mass DEP.

Candidates hedge on major climate issues at Alewife despite profound science

At an Oct 3 Q&A community meeting featuring a Q&A with candidates for Cambridge City Council, words such as "sustainability", "flooding" and "resiliency" and important topics like "reducing potential for major flooding" were mentioned maybe once by candidates. Traffic and walkability received more attention. The candidates failed to mention the important words of the primary speaker, an MIT professor with expertise in climate change and flood risk. Only one candidate discussed environmental issues with the required severity. Full Candidate Responses.

You're invited to "Let's get climate smart"

You are invited to hear climate change specialists of our region assist in helping to plan the adaptation area of our own city to help us interface with ongoing city plan on November 16. They include scientists and outstanding planners from surrounding Cambridge municipalities, the Metropolitan Planning Council, Trust for Public Land, Friends of the Malden River, a keynote by the city manager of Richmon, CA and the Climate Smart Cities Program. Flyer.

A parable for Cambridge: Building in a Coastal Floodplain in the 21st Century

Several large-scale developments have been proposed or are in construction in Cambridge's 100-year floodplain. This continues in spite of both the current risk of flooding and the likely higher future risk due to climate change and paving over open spaces. The Atlantic recently published a parable illustrating the difficulty of having a conversation about firearms regulation and the lessons also apply to issues such as climate change and floodplain development. You can read it here.

Wildlife Walk on Saturday, October 14

Friends of Alewife Reservation naturalist Jake Stout will be leading a wildlife walk through the Reservation on Saturday, September 14 from 4-6pm. Meet at the Reservation entry bridge across from the Alewife T station. If it rains on Saturday the walk will be re-scheduled for Sunday, October 15 at the same time and place. Hope to see you there! For more details, check out the event flyer.

Fresh Pond Residents Critique Mixed Use Development in 100-year floodplain

On October 3 the Fresh Pond Residents Alliance hosted a meeting with 75 attendees to review the City of Cambridge's 'mixed use' development plan in the Quad area. A guest professor from MIT described serious flooding risks in Cambridge. Most City Council candidates in attendance focused on traffic and access issues; only one emphasized environmental concerns. More information is here.

DCR Citizen Forester, September, 2017

In this issue:

  • Forestry History: The Station Tree
  • DCR Tree Steward Training in Petersham, MA
  • Species Spotlight: Red oak, Quercus rubra
  • Tree Warden Qualification Course
  • Grants, Webcasts, Events, Resources, and more!
New England Aquarium Volunteer Team Cleans Up

On August 25 a team of volunteers from the New England Aquarium's Live Blue Service Corps and a focus group from Tufts University visited Alewife Reservation for an intensive cleanup. Together they removed three large bags of trash, three large bags of recyclables, a bicycle and lots of cardboard. Many thanks to all those hard-working volunteers!

Photo by Ellen Mass

Memorial Reception for FAR Board member Sylvia Gilman

A memorial reception was held recently at the Cambridge mayor's office to honor the life and accomplishments of Sylvia Gilman, a long-time Friends of Alewife Reservation board member and local artist and activist. Family and friends attended. A retrospective of her art and drawings of Cambridge and Alewife scenes is currently at the Cambridge Public Library in Central Square. Full size picture here.

Friends of Cambridge Athletics comes to Alewife for Community Service

Over 70 student athletes from the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School's Sailing, Crew and Football teams rose early on Sunday, September 17 to lend a helping hand at Alewife Reservation. Pictures and a special letter of thanks are here. Many thanks to the cleanup participants!

ISB School performs Community Service at Alewife Reservation

Students from Penelope Hilane's class at the International School of Boston participated in a cleanup at nearby Alewife Reservation. The eager youth spent an hour picking up and then separating trash from the Reservation. Claire O'Neill led the outing, which was sponsored by Friends of Alewife Reservation, and also provided French translation services. Many thanks to all the participants! (Full-size image)

FAR Climate Change Educational Resources Recommendations for Teachers

Climate Change is the defining challenge of our times, and it will take an informed electorate to see through the lies of the deniers and convince our elected officials to take action. Learn more about the mechanisms and consequences of climate change with these resources. Knowledge is power!

FAR Summer Ecology Camp Wraps Up

Wicked Local Cambridge covered the conclusion of the 2017 FAR Summer Ecology Camp. Read their article here. Many thanks to the camp staff, professional consultants, Cambridge Mayor's Summer Youth Employment Program and others who helped make this year's camp a success!

A Monarch Visits Alewife Reservation

On August 12 a monarch butterfly stopped by the Alewife Reservation garden on Acorn Park Drive for a pit stop. You can check out a couple pictures here.

Cambridge Commissioner of Public Works Visits FAR Summer Ecology Camp

The commissioner of the Cambridge Department of Public Works, Owen O'Riordan visited the FAR Summer Ecology Camp in early August. He explained the history of Cambridge's storm water policy and the sewer separation project (an enormous, expensive undertaking by the municipality, the Mass Water Resources Authority (MWRA) and private engineering and construction companies), and more.

DCR Citizen Forester, August, 2017

In this issue:

  • Trees Get a Sip during Drought
  • Species Spotlight: Leatherwood, Dirca palustris
  • From the Mass. Tree Wardens: Tree Warden Qualification Course
  • Grants, Webcasts, Events, Resources, and more!
DCR issues permit for FAR and Blair Meadow

The Massachusetts DCR has issued a permit for Friends of Alewife Reservation, Blair Neighbors and Lesley University to continue plant research and habitat restoration at Blair Meadow at the border of Cambridge and Belmont. We look forward to continuing our valuable work with our research and restoration partners!

Picture by Jack Bitney/Boston Globe

Governor Baker Fails to Protect Massachusetts Waters

The Massachusetts River Alliance (MAR) reports that Governor Baker has chosen to side with the Trump administration and delay implementing new clean water standards that had been negotiated over the previous 9 years. This represents a serious failure of leadership by the governor and a blow to clean water for Massachusetts.

Read more about what happened and what you can do to help save Massachusetts waters here.

Pictures by Jake Stout

Summer Ecology Camp Learns about climate change, water quality and more

The 2017 FAR Summer Ecology Camp had a busy first few weeks! On July 14, participants learned about climate change and biodiversity from one of our consultants and also built solar-powered models. In the afternoon, they tested the water quality of the oxbow near the stormwater wetland at Alewife Reservation. Pictures are here.

Pictures by Jake Stout

2017 FAR Summer Ecology Camp Pictures

The 2017 FAR Summer Ecology Camp got off to a busy start! On July 6, participants visited the stormwater wetland at Alewife Reservation. The next day, they learned about eco-friendly urban design from representatives of local non-profit Earthos Institute. Pictures are here.

Clean Water Act Protection Campaign Goes Forward

The Clean Water Rule is under threat from the current administration, but our conservation partners at River Network have a plan to save it! They have put together a set of resources that any of us can use to push for greater protections for the water on which we all (including nature) rely. Check it out here.

Eleventh Annual Far Summer Ecology Camp Begins July 3 at Alewife

This year marks the 11th annual FAR Summer Ecology Camp! Themes this year include:

  • Climate Change
  • Science (ecology, statistics and classification)
  • Biodiversity (loss, gains)
  • Ethics (Including the study of our relationship with the environment)
  • Alewife Reservation (its role, protection and restoration)
  • See a complete flyer here.
Join The Mystic River Watershed Initiative To Help Improve Local Waterways

From the US EPA website: The Mystic River Watershed Initiative is a collaborative effort with a goal to improve water quality and environmental conditions as well as create and protect open space and public access to the Mystic River and its tributaries through safe public pathways and access points. The Initiative is guided by a steering committee composed of 22 organizations including not-for-profit community groups, local, state, and federal governmental agencies.

Learn more about the steering committee here. More details about the Initiative can be found here.

2016 federal water quality report shows little improvement since 2015

The US EPA has released its annual report card for the Mystic River Watershed (which includes Alewife Brook and Little River). It shows that we still have a long way to go. Press Release. Despite 'impaired' status of water bodies adjacent to Quad off of Concord Ave, building plans roll forward.

Updated Alewife Reservation Biodiversity Study

FAR Monitor Jake Stout has conducted a survey of wildlife at Alewife Reservation. You can read his full report here.

Global Water Dance held on June 24 at Weir Meadow at Fresh Pond Reservation

On Saturday, May 20 the Cambridge Water Department, community groups and local residents came together to celebrate Fresh Pond. Events included nature storytelling, a wildlife parade, live animals and other events. It was a great day to be outside and celebrate with our neighbors! Full article here.

Mystic Photo Contest Announced

The Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) is happy to announce a 2017 Photo Contest as part of the Association's 45th Anniversary events! MyRWA is seeking photographs that illustrate the beauty and challenges of the Mystic River Watershed. Check out the full announcement here.

Cambridge Students Finish Murals at Alewife

The talented young artists who have been painting murals on the utility boxes at Alewife Reservation have finished! You can check out pictures of the finished murals and learn the stories behind them here. [Note: the article says 'Belmont', but the students are from Cambridge.

US-EPA and Belmont Agree to Improve Little River Water quality

Deepest gratitude goes to the US-EPA and town of Belmont upstream from Little River for recently enforcing the Clean Water Act (CWA). According to a press release issued on May 30th from the EPA's New England Regional office, Belmont engineers and Water Department officials with support from the newly formed Belmont Storm Water Committee are addressing "stormwater discharges of pollutants from cracked and leaking sewers moving into the storm drain system, and discharging into Winn’s Brook, Wellington Brook, and the Little River", located in Belmont and Cambridge. Full press release here.

Picture by Jake Osborne

New Study: Urban Tree Cover Reduces Magnitude and Timing of 'Heat Island Effect'

Replacing trees, grass and other plants with pavement, cement and other artificial surfaces is known to make cities warmer. A new study shows not only how much plants can cool cities (1-6 degrees C), but also how much they can shorten the time of year the 'heat island effect' is active (up to 15 days). Read the whole paper here. Warning: it is a *dense* read.

Progress for FAR Mural Project at Alewife

The young artists selected to paint murals on utility boxes at Alewife Reservation have made excellent progress! Check out the latest pictures here.

Alnylam Comes to Alewife

Twenty-five employees from local pharmaceuticals giant Alnylam donated their time (and several plants!) to keep Alewife Reservation clean and green. At Alewife Reservation in Cambridge and at Blair Pond in Belmont the volunteers weeded, added new plants, picked up trash and removed invasive plants. Pizza for our volunteers was generously provided by the Bertuccis at Alewife Station. Many thanks from FAR! Pictures.

Picture by MyRWA

Cambridge to Benefit from EPA/Belmont Mystic River watershed Upper Basin agreement

The Mystic River Watershed Association recently wrote about an EPA Administrative Order on Consent with the Town of Belmont over years of water quality damages. This is a positive development, but FAR President Ellen Mass noticed some concerning discrepancies. Check out the full article and Ellen's observations here.

EPA Makes Settlement with Belmont to Clean Up Little River in Cambridge

The EPA has taken steps to improve water quality in Mystic River tributaries downstream of Belmont, Mass. Press Release

Pictures by Janet Hobbs

FAR Mural Project at Alewife Takes Off

Amireh R. Kamalaban and Grace Picard paint flora and fauna at Alewife Reservation. Such skilled young artists! Pictures

10th Annual Fresh Pond Day

On Saturday, May 20 the Cambridge Water Department, community groups and local residents came together to celebrate Fresh Pond. Events included nature storytelling, a wildlife parade, live animals and other events. It was a great day to be outside and celebrate with our neighbors!

Photo: Susan Agger and Temple Beth El Belmont

Mitzva Day FAR Cleanup at Alewife Blair Meadow

Temple Beth El held Mitzva Day (Community Service) on May 21st by cleaning up at Blair Meadow. More.

DCR's Universal Access Program 2017 Summer/Fall Newsletter

The DCR has released its Summer/Fall newsletter for the Universal Access Program. Contents include information on canoeing at Quabbin Reservoir, an adaptive swimming program in Worcester, the grand opening of the McGraw Center for Adaptive Sports and much more!

Join Watershed friends for annual Mystic River Watershed Association event

The Mystic River Watershed Association is holding the 21st annual Mystic River Herring Run and Paddle on Saturday May 20! The Mystic River Herring Run and Paddle includes a 5K run/walk race, three paddling races (3, 9, and 12 miles), educational booths, children's activities, and more. All events are held at the DCR Blessing of the Bay Boathouse in Somerville. For more information, read the event flyer

Fresh Pond Residents Alliance opposes Lanes and Games Permitting on Floodway

From the statement: The Fresh Pond Residents Alliance has serious concerns regarding this project. It is a redevelopment of a currently low-density commercial site that is not only within the current 100-year flood delineation but within the floodway itself. It is in the worst part of the whole Alewife area in terms of flooding.

For more information, check out the entire story.

DCR Citizen Forester, May, 2017

In this issue:

  • Book Review: Branching Out: Features from the Past for the Future
  • Species Spotlight: Pagoda dogwood Cornus alternifolia
  • Edible Spotlight—Revisiting Yellow Birch
  • Webinars, Upcoming Conferences, News, Events, and more!
Final plans made for youth nature mural at Alewife Reservation

Friends of Alewife Reservation, students and teacher Leo Muellner from Rindge and Latin High School and artist Janet Hobbs plan flora/fauna murals at entry to Alewife T stop. Students Pyter Fellweiler, Grace Picard, Amira Rezaei-Kamalabad won the FAR Arts Mural contest. Congratulations to such artistically skilled and passionate young conservationists!. Picture.

Watch Alewife Fish Migration at a dam in Medford

Want to see a wildlife migration in your own backyard? If yes, head to the Mystic Lakes dam in Medford on the two upcoming open house days (Tuesday, May 16, 3pm - 7pm and Saturday, May 20, 12pm-3pm) to learn about the river herring migration and to see the migration firsthand. Your support has helped this migration rebound, with 71% more herring spawning in the Mystic Lakes since 2012. The dam is located at 517 Mystic Valley Pkwy Medford, MA, 02155 United States. We hope to see you there!

Join DCR for the 2017 Accessible Recreation Fair at Herter Park/Artesani Playground

The Massachussetts DCR is holding its annual Accessible Recreation Fair on Saturday, June 3 in Brighton. From the event flyer: Family-friendly, accessible, and inclusive activities include: cycling with an assortment of adaptive cycles, hiking and letterboxing with all-terrain wheelchairs and walkers, face painting and kite decorating, golf and other equipment demonstrations, bubble blowing and games, music and dancing, and much more!

Mothers Out Front: Spring Calendar

From the Mothers Out Front website: We are mothers, grandmothers, and other caregivers coming together to make climate change an issue that our leaders can no longer ignore.

You can check out the calendar of upcoming events in Massacusetts (currently a work-in-progress) here. For more information about the organization in general, check out their website.

Photo by George McLean

Hungry Offspring in Springtime

Award-winning nature photographer and Friend of Alewife Reservation George McLean has captured another precious moment in nature: a bluebird bringing food for its offspring in a nest box. What a fantastic photo!

Happy SPRING from FAR

During a recent episode of 'The Writer's Almanac,' host Garrison Keillor recited a very moving poem about Spring written in 1877 by British poet Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Nothing is so beautiful as Spring—

When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;

Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush...(Full Poem)

Illustration by Enzo Pérès-Labourdette

New Yorker Magazine Publishes Two Stories In Honor of Arbor Day and Spring

New Yorker Magazine has published two stories in honor of Arbor Day. The first explores 'big questions about what trading, sharing, or even friendship might mean among plants.' The second explores the unique role and sad fate of London plane trees in New York. Both are great reads and provide fascinating insights into the world of trees!

Dedicated Volunteers Turn out for 2017 Park Serve Day

Saturday, April 29 was 2017 Park Serve Day, and Friends of Alewife Reservation volunteers were out in force! You can check out a couple pictures from the event here.

MWRA Does not have to show compliance with EPA water quality regulations until 2020

The annual update on progress of Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) control measures on Alewife Brook has been released. Solving Alewife Brook's appalling water quality problems has been a long struggle (see previous posts of stormwater updates for the past 10 years) and it appears we still have a long way to go: the MWRA will not have to show compliance with water quality standards until 2020. You can check out the full report here.

Photo and linked video by Stephanie Liu

Eagles Return to Belmont's Little Pond

Eagles have returned to Little Pond in Belmont! Not only that, but wildlife specialists say they may be here to stay. You can see some video of the eagles here. You can learn more about eagles here.

City releases storm water testing Data for Alewife Brook for 2016 and 2017

You can check out the data at the City of Cambridge's website.

Lighting at Night- Not for wildlife habitat areas: Fresh Pond Alert

As you may have heard, the City of Cambridge and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation are building a bike path on the old rail bed running from Fresh Pond to Mt. Auburn Cemetery. The friends of Fresh Pond Reservation respect and applaud the City’s desire to provide lighting for all new bike paths; however, since the new bike path that runs through Fresh Pond Reservation functions as a wildlife corridor, they are asking the City not to install lighting along the existing rail bed at Fresh Pond Reservation. It is of utmost importance that you call your City Councillors with this message as soon as possible. Find out more here.

Green Budget Ammendments Need YOU!

The Environmental League of Massachusetts is taking action to ensure the environment remains a budget priority in our state, and they need your help! If you haven’t already placed a call to your State Representative to urge co-sponsorship of amendments 830 , 1196 , 1053 , 940 , 1073 , 839 , and 288 , please do so this week. Letters to the editor of your local newspaper also help. Together we can make a difference! You can use this tool to send an email to your representative.

Alewife Reservation Cleanup Day on April 29

Come join Friends of Alewife Reservation for its annual cleanup on Saturday, April 29 from 9am to 2pm! For more information check out the event flyer. See you there!

Global Blueprint for Climate Change: Implications for Quadrangle Restoration

Author and scientist Paul Hawkin has published a book describing a comprehensive plan to reverse global warming one manageable step at a time. Eco-agricultural and diverse solutions presented in this book may help with future restoration of the Cambridge Quadrangle floodplain!

Large Numbers of organizations sign onto 2017- 2018 "Green Budget"

From The Environmental League of Massachusetts: On behalf of the Green Budget Coalition, the Environmental League is writing with the Coalition’s budget amendment co-sponsorship requests. See the attached letter for details. We will be following up soon with the amendment numbers.

Boston Architectural College (BAC) visits Alewife Reservation

A group from the Boston Architectural College visited Alewife Reservation on April 8. Check out the full-size picture!

Photo by George McLean

Alewife Art Show at The Cambridge Homes

The Cambridge Homes and Friends of Alewife are sponsoring an exhibit of nature and wildlife images captured by award-winning local photographer George McLean and noted youth photographer Jake Stout. Stop by April 1 - May 30 and check it out! View the full flyer for more details!

Artwork by Grace Picard

Submissions come in for public arts project at Alewife

Local high school students have begun submitting artwork for a public arts project at Alewife Reservation. There are many talented young artists in our community!

New International Environmental Group on the Block
Join the March for Science

As the new administration continues its War on Science, citizen involvement and activism become ever more important. Our next big chance to show our support for knowledge and fact-based public policies is coming up on April 22 at the March for Science on Boston Common. For details, check out the event's Facebook page

Photo by George McLean

Drought brings early migration for herring

How do we know? The gulls told us! George McLean captured a photo of a gull with a herring in its mouth. Both gulls and eagles are taking part in the spring bounty. With good weather approaching, who WOULDN'T want to be outside?

Photo by Chris Cruz/Wilson Center

EPA Environmental Justice Leader Resigns

From the Washington Post A key environmental justice leader at the Environmental Protection Agency has resigned, saying that a recent budget proposal to defund such work would harm the people who most rely on the EPA. Full story.

DCR Citizen Forester, March, 2017

In this issue:

  • Practical Science of Planting Trees, Part II
  • Species Spotlight: yellow birch, Betula alleghaniensis
  • Celebrate Arbor Day
  • Webinars, Upcoming Conferences, News, Events, and more!
Two Upcoming Events at Alewife Reservation

Spring is just around the corner, and tours of Alewife Reservation will be starting up soon! Our first scheduled walks will be a Walk on the Wild Side with Dave Brown on March 25 and a Wildlife Tour hosted by reservation monitor Jake Stout on April 8. See the event fliers for more information. See you there!

Living With Water

Top New England leaders in urban design at the Urban Land Institute discuss growth in Cambridge Quadrangle (see note about the 500-year floodplain on page 17) Full Article.

Enforcement of Environmental Rules Dips

From the Boston Globe: Over the past decade, the state Department of Environmental Protection’s enforcement of air and water quality rules has fallen off sharply, as the agency’s workforce shrunk by nearly a third, according to a Globe review of state records. Full Article.

Photo by Glen Campbell

More Eagles in our Midst

The waters of Alewife Reservation are part of the Mystic River Watershed and are known to be bald eagle hunting grounds. A local partner organization, Medford Wildlife Watch, has posted many spectacular pictures of eagles taken at the nearby Mystic Lakes. You can check them out here.

March 30: Lobby for the Rivers Day

From Massachusetts Rivers Alliance With a new administration in Washington weakening river protection, and news of water disasters around the country, our rivers desperately need our help. One critically important, positive action we can take is to protect our rivers at the state level. The Massachusetts Rivers Alliance invites you to participate in the first-ever Lobby for the Rivers Day, on Thursday, March 30th at 11 am, at the State House in Boston. More details are here.

Massive Building Proposed on City Floodplain

Major residential and commercial developments, including a marijuana dispensary, have been proposed by the Cambridge Community Development Department, Utile Inc and various corporations and Alewife committees. Some of these projects are planned for areas that are identified in the City of Cambridge Open Space Report for 2009-2016 as being in the 100-year flood plain. Check out the full-size map here. Check out the notes from the 6th meeting of the Envision Cambridge Alewife Working Group here.

Photo by George Mclean

Bald Eagle Seen at Alewife Brook

George Mclean captured this fantastic picture of a bald eagle at the mouth of Alewife Brook near the Cambridge and Sommerville city line. (Full-size image ).

Photo by Daniel Behm / Audubon Photography Award

Screech owl seen at Alewife

The family of Matthew Urciuoli saw a screech owl, like the one to the left, while walking on Saturday, February 11th around 7pm in East Arlington at the end of Lafayette St. Learn more about screech owls here .

Walking on the Wild Side

See www.friendsofalewifereservation.org/sightings for more wildlife in Alewife Reservation.

Envisioning Workshop brings anyone and everyone to hear Tim Love of Utile spell out heavy density for city of Cambridge and subsequent "upzoning" plan for the floodplain with little feedback from public.

Over 80 people attended a workshop at the Tobin School cafeteria on February 8. You can read the workshop agenda here.

Briefs from CPAC

Several reports have been published regarding Massachusetts and New England Climate Change reports and Green Infrastructure. The Cambridge Climate Protection Action Committee (CPAC) has released its February 2017 bulletin. One of the main stories is that Massachusetts leads the way in LEED certified buildings!

UMass Amherst has also published a study showing temperatures in New England should rise faster than the global average.

DCR Citizen Forester, February, 2017

In this issue:

  • Gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar
  • Species Spotlight: chestnut oak, Quercus montana
  • DCR Challenge Grant
  • UMass Summer College
  • Webinars, Upcoming Conferences, News, Events, and more!

Photo by ceed.org

Envision Cambridge | Alewife Working Group #6 | Meeting: 1.26.17

Meeting begins voices for mitigation of storm water/flooding/climate change. You can check out notes here . The date of the next meeting was also announced.

A Bald Eagle Visits Alewife (Videos)

Visitor Stephanie Liu observed a bald eagle hunting around Belmont's Little Pond and the nearby upland wild area. She sent us two great videos taken over a two-week period. Thanks, Stephanie! Click here to watch them!"

Action Alert: Head on EPA attack

From The Massachusetts River Alliance: We need your help with legislation for rivers. State representatives will be considering six important bills this session to improve water quality and quantity in rivers and their success depends on you! Click here to find out how you can help these bills pass. Thank you for your support!

Upcoming Programs from DCR Friends and Partners

Click here for the full list of upcoming programs.

  • Eastern Forest Pest Update (Jan 25)
  • Tree & Forest Health Update (Feb 3)
  • DCR Arbor Day Poster Contest
  • UMass Community Tree Conference (Mar 2)
  • And many more!
George McLean's Photos of Birds at Alewife Reservation

George McLean is a frequent visitor at and much appreciated friend of the Alewife Reservation community. Over the years he has taken hundreds of pictures of wildlife at the Reservation. Check out several of his finest bird pictures here .

City Passes Policy Order Opposing additional pathways in Alewife Reservation to the Alewife T stop or intrusive walkways in the Reservation

City councillors Craig Kelley and Jan Devereux proposed the policy order at the October 17 City Council meeting and it was approved by the full Council on October 31. You can read the full text of the order, and watch video of the City Council proceedings, here .

Free Education Program Offered to Municipalities in 2017

Last week the EPA and the Consensus Building Institute hosted an international webinar about free education programs in 2017. This program consists of a series of four 'learn and do' workshops that will help you work with your community to explore funding solutions tailered to your town's specific needs and fiscal realities. Workshops begin January 31, 2017. Contact Carrie Hulet for more information. You can watch the 15-minute webinar here .

Mystic River Watershed: Updates

The next steering committee meeting will be held on Thursday, January 26th from 9:30 am - noon at Watertown Town Hall. Dan Driscoll will discuss the MA DCR's Mystic Master Plan. You can prepare for the meeting by reading the summary of the October 2016 Steering Committee meeting here . FAR encourages all involved in Alewife work to attend and participate in shaping the future of our Upper Alewife Basin. Drop us a note if you attend!

Environmental Activism On The Rise In Mass. and Vermont

From: Toxics Action Center

Toxics Action Center works with hundreds of remarkable local leaders each year, but few are more straight-talking and passionate than Andrea Morgante (pictured here in orange, and speaking fearlessly to a crowd). Click here to learn more about this brave public servant and to read a special message from her.

photo: Jake Osborne (cedar waxwing)
Birding at Alewife - December 20

Birder Cliff Cook observed 28 different species of birds on a recent walk at Alewife Reservation, including a cedar waxwing like in the picture to the left, and reported his findings using the eBird smartphone app. Data collected by ordinary citizens can be valuable for conservation, restoration and monitoring projects, especially when government agencies lack the funds or political leaders lack the will to do the work.

Participation is fun and easy! You can see Cliff's entire list of birds, and learn about the eBird platform, here .

City of Cambridge Releases Climate Preparedness Resiliency Study

The City of Cambridge has released an updated presentation on climate change preparedness and resiliency under different climate change scenarios. It is a great resource for learning how climate change might affect the Cambridge area and also identifies steps to address negative impacts. You can view the presentation here .

See FAR's Purpose in final city Climate Congress statement which focuses on natural resources

The proceedings and findings of the 2016 Climate Congress are documented in the report "Building a Community of Response to Climate Change." The report also defines three "pathways of response" (adaptation, conservation and restoration) as well as the practices of climate citizenship. This report and video recordings of the congress sessions and discussions are available for viewing here .

Alewife Development Expansion in Quadrangle.

Development is picking up speed in the Alewife/Quadrangle area of Cambridge. Check out the latest information on projects that are proposed, under construction or recently completed. Links to the City of Cambridge Property Database are provided for many projects. Citizens must be informed and watchful of these projects to make sure they follow all applicable environmental projection laws.

DCR Citizen Forester, mid-December Announcements

In this announcement:

  • Urban Wood Utilization: Options and Alternatives
  • Webinar: Climate Change & Urban Environments
  • i-Tree Q&A with the i-Tree Development Team
  • Preparing Urban Forests in the Boston Area for Climate Change
  • And many more!
Sightings for December 12 FAR Wildlife Walk

Five students and a teacher from Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School participated in a wildlife walk at Alewife Reservation on Saturday, December 10. It was a chilly morning, but well worth braving the elements! During the 2 hour walk on the South side of Little River, we saw a Belted Kingfisher and four muskrat lodges. (Pictures).

Dismantling of the DCR Alewife Reservation North Trail?

Friends of Alewife Reservation has advocated for years for the protection of the Alewife floodplain and urban wild, especially as the water quality at Little River has continued to fail to meet Federal Standards. We hoped that greater protections would be forthcoming since the City Manager’s office and Community Development Agency recently created climate change and Alewife committees, but sadly, that is not the case...

Read the full message from FAR President Ellen Mass here .

Friends of Alewife Reservation captures 2016 City High School Environmental Focus

Students from the Rindge and Latin High School Media Center have produced a phenomenal video about Alewife Reservation. Check it out here .

Northeast Stream Quality Assessment

The USGS recently conducted an assessment of rivers in the Northeast. We hope to build a stronger water quality component into FAR’s small Perch Pond model to mirror the national policy employed by USGS this last summer.

There are streams that flow into our Little River area which should be monitored soon, as their water quality is failing

DCR Citizen Forester, December, 2016

In this issue:

  • What is i-Tree? Background and Updates for 2017
  • Species Spotlight: eastern white pine, Pinus strobus
  • DCR Arbor Day Poster Contest
  • Grant Opportunities
  • Webinars, Upcoming Conferences, News, Events, and more!
Alewife Reservation Nature Tour on December 10

Join us from 10am to 1m on December 10 for a nature walk in Alewife Reservation led by Reservation Monitor Jake Stout. Meet at 10am at the Reservaton entry bridge behind Alewife T Station and dress warmly! Flyer.

To view previous news, click here .

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winter wildlife walk Presentation Spotlighting Alewife Reservation
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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
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