Friday, August 11, 2006

Magazine Beach on the Charles River, Cambridge, MA, 8/11/06

1. Marilyn Wellons Reports.
2. Bob La Tremouille Responds.
3. Kathy Podgers Analysis in The Bridge.

1. Marilyn Wellons Reports.

I went down to Magazine Beach to have a look and gather goose feathers, as a friend had suggested. A pretty large contingent of the White Geese was offshore, including Brown Beauty and her cohort, plus the Toulouse and her family. There may have been
20-30 geese there.

I was sorry I didn't have any corn for them, and walked the length of MBeach to the overlook behind the old stone building, to see if the WG may have been coming ashore behind the Magazine Beach Swimming Pool, as they did in 2004. No evidence of that, I don't think it's now possible.

On the walk up and back near the river (no longer possible to walk along the shore), I saw purple loosestrife everywhere in the DCR-Cambridge "native" plant "restoration," all the way to the sole remaining willow upriver.

Purple loosestrife is flourishing in the drainage ditch parallel to the walk on the inland side, but it's really rampant at the Bumpy Memorial Pond. I think it'll take over the space between the pond and the river in no time as well as encircle the pond

Along the river there's also a bumper crop of very tall ragweed, which I don't remember either in such quantity or vigor before the "restoration."

Despite the expensive scraping out of all soil and plants at Magazine Beach in 2004, the targeted "invasive" false indigo is still right there. The DCR tried to get rid of it, at great expense to the Cambridge taxpayers, despite acknowledging that it holds the riverbank against erosion for free and is habitat for herring and herons. I was glad the false indigo had returned or never been eradicated.

A fellow in a motorized scooter was driving along the path, but for the most part he couldn't see the river (as was possible before the "restoration") because the ragweed and purple loosestrife and surviving designer plants blocked his view. He had to go all the way to the outlet of the Bumpy Pond at the boat launch to be
able to sit and look at the water. At 5' 7", I couldn't see the water for much of my walk.

When I turned to walk back to the parking lot by the Bumpy Pond, I saw the White Geese had come ashore and were feeding on the grass between the ball field and the parking lot. It was after 12 noon and I thought that was a great good sign. Andrake and Daffney [the two White Ducks, see previous reports (Bob)] were swimming close together across the river on the Boston side, happily, I thought.

2. Bob La Tremouille Responds.

The Charles River White Geese tried the land west of the construction zone in 2004. For good reason [see initial report on the two White Ducks, Andrake and Daffney], they are very much afraid of being exposed to predators. The land is quite steep. It would allow them to be rushed with little advance warning. Additionally, and I am no expert on geese, it seems that they are built for flat land not for sloping land. [They're built for the "bordering land subject to flooding" at Magazine Beach the DCR's continuing "restoration" will destroy, if the Cambridge Conservation allows it at its hearing on Monday, August 28, 2006, at 344 Broadway in Cambridge. The DCR has asked for an additional 2 weeks to prepare for the hearing, and August 28 is two weeks later than the date previously posted here (Marilyn). We don't know the time of the August 28 hearing yet.] The Charles River White Geese were also concerned about actual access from the Charles, a definite problem.

The current situation gives the Charles River White Geese access through about 5% of the shoreline to perhaps 10% of the land area of the Magazine Beach playing fields. They used to have access to at least 60% to 70% of the land. They DID NOT go farther from the Charles River than they could go and still safely retreat from predators.

Current plans of the Cambridge City Council and the Department of Conservation and Recreation are for more destruction. The playing fields will see their soil fully removed and replaced with soil and sprinklers. The sprinklers are considered necessary because nine city councilors and the DCR will have destroyed the wetlands to introduce those designer bushes which have no place on the Charles River and proved it by refusing to grow.

The parking lot around which feeding is now centered will also be destroyed and "moved," with destruction of perfectly healthy tree(s) and destruction of the current feeding area for perhaps a year (?).

I also need to apologize to the reader on the purple loosestrife problem. Kathy Podgers wrote an excellent analysis which I would love to post, but I seem to have lost it.

3. Kathy Podgers Analysis in The Bridge.

Kathy has an excellent analysis of Magazine Beach in the current issue of The Bridge. It is on line at