Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Boston Con Com Considers DCR's Fake Vegetation Management Plan

1. Letter from Marilyn Wellons.
2. Analysis of Bob La Trémouille.

1. Letter from Marilyn Wellons.

The following was submitted to the Boston Conservation Commission this evening, August 16, 2006:

To the Boston Conservation Commission:

re: DCR request for an Extension Permit for Order of
Conditions DEP File No. 006-0971 for the Charles River
Basin Shoreline Vegetation Management Plan, and review
of vegetation management work performed during 2005
and work proposed for 2006, Charles River, Boston
(Riverfront Area, Inland Bank, 100-foot Buffer Zone).

Erosion, loss of habitat, and diminished water quality
are direct, practical consequences of flawed
vegetation management policies and practices on the
Charles. Recognizing this, the Commission has
attached Special Conditions to previous approvals of
the DCR’s Vegetation Management Plan.

In July, 2003 at Item 40, you specify that “[o]n the
banks between the Boston University Bridge and the
Western Avenue Bridge, the applicant . . . shall not
cut False Indigo in order to protect habitat of
herring and heron.” Otherwise, you instruct the DCR
to perform two cuttings each year, to a minimum height
of between 6 and 12 inches (Item 30).

While the applicant states in its July 5, 2006 Plan
that False Indigo provides “nesting areas for
songbirds and erosion protection along the shoreline,”
(CRB VMP Narrative, p. 4), it nevertheless lists it as
a “species of concern” without defining the term or
stating what the concern is.

I have found no definition of “species of concern” in
the literature on “invasive plants,” nor does the
Massachusetts Invasive Plants Advisory Group list it
as an “invasive species” since it is “native” to
Massachusetts. False Indigo’s problem seems to be its
uncut ultimate height of 12-13 feet. Unchecked, it
would in some places partially obstruct views of the
Head of the Charles.

It is for this reason I believe the False Indigo and
other plants in the prime Head of the Charles viewing
spot between the Weeks Footbridge and Larz Anderson
Bridge have been severely cut for at least ten years.
As a result, the remaining few, weakened plants cannot
provide adequate buttressing to the shore against the
prevailing winter winds from the northwest. At the
Commission’s site visit on August 14, 2006, we
considered the major loss of several acres of public
parkland to erosion there.

Taking only the example of False Indigo’s place in the
VMP, I would suggest that the Commission recognize the
plant’s virtues rather than consider it a “species of
concern.” I also suggest you prohibit its coppicing
on this small part of the riverbank for two years. At
the end of that time it should be possible to see if
greater vigor and the possible spread of the present
survivors succeeds in holding the shore.

Sections of the bank where there is no False Indigo
will surely continue to erode into the river, but the
DCR has no immediate plan to remedy the problem. The
uncut False Indigo, valued for erosion control, might
prove its great worth throughout the basin. If it
does not, the Commission would have lost little in the
attempt to find out since, again, the DCR has no
immediate plans to stop future erosion at the site in
question or to replace its lost acres of land.

In your review of the DCR’s vegetation management work
in 2005 and in 2006 to date, please see my enclosed
letter to you dated April 19, 2006 about unsupervised
cutting on the river.

Yours sincerely,

2. Analysis of Bob La Trémouille.

The nicest think I have to say about the DCR's fake vegetation management plan is that the DCR Chairman shouted me down when I tried to intersperse reality among the DCR's lies.

The DCR brags about leaving a foot of vegetation and ROUTINELY clear cuts on the Charles River.

The DCR has no honor.