Friends of Alewife Reservation Permitting News

MyRWA received this press release from the Friends of Alewife Reservation (FAR).

 Please join us in manual labor and much spirit, as FAR begins its Fall season in its continuing stewardship of Alewife Reservation and its 130 acres of threatened wetland, woodlands and meadow.  Over the summer several community service work parties together have been busy with  watershed studies, youth educational projects, and control over invasive species in the Alewife sub-watershed property.  This summer’s 9th annual student ecology camp sponsored by FAR produced a professional level assessment of Little River adjacent to Alewife Brook which flows into the Mystic River. Youth assessed its water quality (noted by several forums to be the worst in the Commonwealth of D- grade), river contour, flow,  development and flooding threats which come from the Boston Harbor. The 100 year floodplain  is measured as the lowest sea elevation in Cambridge (5 feet above sea level at the Alewife T), noted by the completed official city Vulnerability Assessment Study, and revealed at MIT city presentation last February as our most flood prone area, especially if a ‘Sandy’ occurrence were to happen on our local coastline. Plans for permitting and implementation of the River Restore Project are in process. State and municipal agencies have been sent the report asking for circulation of the report, more official public data and relevant municipal plans for watershed improvement.

The Commonwealth’s Department of Conservation and Recreation recently renewed a stewardship permit for Lesley University, FAR and its volunteer from Harvard Herbarium to expand its experimental soils restoration and plant cover project  in the Blair Pond meadow, adjacent to the rich birding habitat, and  surrounded by impressive tall canopy tree grove cover,  integral to the 130 acres of rare urban wild which benefits the Mystic River watershed, and the towns of Arlington, Belmont, cities of Cambridge and Somerville not to mention home to the 20 species of mammals and 90 bird species.  The meadow is on the West Cambridge/East Belmont border.

Under this permit 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.  In late September visitors to the Blair Pond area will note plot delineation, purpose and goals, for upgrading existing soil conditions which will increase the natural value of the western most part of Alewife Reservation and the watershed it serves as a vital floodplain for Boston metropolis and in general the US east coast. Presently DCR and Commuter Rail plan flood retention protection surrounding Blair Pond along the railroad tracks.

Friends of Alewife Reservation seeks advice and manual assistance from neighbors and others interested in restoration and maintenance of this hidden gem in the heart of North Cambridge.  To offer your suggestions and support please contact FAR office at: 617 415 1884 or or Ellen Mass at 617 290-4864.