Friday, November 16, 2018

Charles River: Phragmites, the Cambridge City Council’s “Kind of Activist” and an accelerating outrage.

Charles River:  Phragmites, the Cambridge City Council’s “Kind of Activist” and an accelerating outrage.

1. Introduction.
2. Phil’s analysis of Phragmites.
3. Some of the 56 trees being destroyed apparently imminently by the Cambridge City Council, the DCR and the City Council’s “Kind of activist”.
4. Heartless Animal Abuse, of course.

1. Introduction.

The Cambridge City Council wants to destroy 56 mostly excellent trees at Magazine Beach.

The only remaining explanation I am aware of is the position taken by Councilor Devereux with public support by Mayor McGovern, and silence from the rest of the tree destroyers.

The Cambridge City Council’s “kind of activist” has fought for the coming destruction for 8 years, according to her, although she keeps secret the 56 excellent trees she is fighting to destroy.

What she has bragged about is fighting, shudder, Phragmites.

Her technique is to go to a major poison drainage ditch which was created by Cambridge and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation during the outrages of the 2000's.

She has noticed, shudder, that Phragmites is growing there WITHOUT ANY CONTRACTOR BEING PAID TO PUT IT IN.

So she has pulled out a bunch of its surround the poison drainage ditch and put in plastic sheets to “prevent” regrowth.  The real impact of her magnificence is to reroute poisons which should be drained off the Poison Drainage SOMEWHERE.  The only somewhere available is the Charles River and its banks.  After all, that was why Cambridge and the DCR put the poison drainage ditches in.

Over the months, she has been pouring poisons into the Charles River, the phragmites has regrown through the plastic coverings.  However, it would appear that she has succeeded in dumping a lot of poisons into the Charles.

Where are the poisons coming from?  Well, until the outrages of the 2000's, Magazine Beach was clean, no poison, just a responsible riverbank.

Here is a photo of her blocking the poison drainage ditch and of neighboring city Somerville’s reaction to Phragmites.  This is a photo of the beautiful display of Alewife.  Alewife is an area where Cambridge and the DCR have destroyed 3.4 acres of the Silver Maple Forest, with another friend of the Cambridge Development Department telling people to look at everything but what Cambridge, the DCR and she are destroying there.

The blocked Phragmites:.

A responsible community, Cambridge's neighbor to the north, Somerville, proudly displaying this unpaid vegetation, Phil’s photo:

And here is a more recent view of the blocked poison drainage ditch, from Phil.

2. Phil’s analysis of Phragmites.

An attempt to eradicate the common reeds growing on Magazine Beach (Phragmites Australis) is currently underway, using a 2016 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. We believe this effort is ill-advised and causing substantial negative impacts to the Magazine Beach ecosystem.

The argument that these reeds constitute a dangerous “invasive” species appears to be based on a 1995 study by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs entitled Phragmites: Controlling the All-Too-Common Common Reed, Wetlands Restoration & Banking Program. But this research is nearly a quarter of a century old and is now badly outdated.

It is true that Phragmites pose a problem in naturally occurring, established wetlands, where it is documented that they out-compete existing species. But Magazine Beach is man made landfill (the original shoreline is roughly where Granite Street is today) and the bioswale at Magazine Beach where they grow was not created until 2009. It’s worthy of consideration that our park is not located in the pristine wild but in the heart of a most unnatural environment, a densely populated human city. These Phragmites self-seeded from a long established patch further upriver around 2012 and prospered, as they are perfectly adaptable to the stressful urban environment as well as to the changing climate.

Newer studies have revealed the following regarding these reeds

 Phragmites is native to North America. Therefore there is no specific introduction site or date. There are currently studies being done on the possibility that in the early 20th century a more genetically aggressive strain came in from abroad, or that it may have been the result of a natural mutation in the native reed population.

 Studies document that reeds annually evaporate about 1000 liters of water per meter of growth area. At full growth the roughly one acre patch of Phragmites therefore removed approximately seventy-five tons of excess water per week from Magazine Beach. Since the Phragmites removal began, the adjacent playing fields have been nearly continuously waterlogged, a condition never observed before to this extent. The flooding of the lower bioswale in areas denuded of reeds is also unprecedented. It has created an ideal breeding lagoon for mosquitoes, which today may carry deadly West Nile Virus or encephalitis, and fosters the growth of dangerous algae.

 Phragmites absorbs up to four times more nitrogen than other reed species. Nitrogen is the chief pollutant found in fertilizers used on Magazine Beach. This past summer’s unusually extensive bloom of water plants and algae in the adjacent Charles River, with its detrimental effects on fish and waterfowl, appears to be another unforeseen consequence of the Phragmites removal.

 Phragmites absorbs three times more carbon than “native” plants in a high-nitrogen environment. Reduction of atmospheric carbon dioxide is vital to halting global warming and sea level rise which threatens to inundate Magazine Beach altogether before the end of this century.

 Phragmites is today purposely planted in artificial wetlands at water treatment facilities, because of the species’ ability to extract heavy metals from the water and isolate them from the environment in its stalks. This ability may be of significant benefit for Magazine Beach, given what undocumented industrial toxins might be contained in its century-old landfill.

For further information, Google “benefits of Phragmites” or see:

If you are concerned about the problems caused by this ill-advised reeds removal initiative, please add your voice to those now asking for a moratorium on the destruction of the reeds at Magazine Beach and an updated environmental impact study.

Contact the Cambridge City Council: email

city clerk

individual councellors,,,,,,,,

Contact the Mass. Department of Conservation & Recreation. email

3. Some of the 56 trees being destroyed apparently imminently by the Cambridge City Council, the DCR and the City Council’s “Kind of activist”.

This magnificent (six story high?) willow is doomed.  It dominates the Charles River boundary on the western end of the magnificent beach playing fields.

The story on this magnificent grove changes with the sort of lack of candor that Cambridge and the DCR are notable for.  It is slightly north of the will and, likewise, dominates the playing fields.  Two dead trees in the ten story grove have been correctly removed so far.  How much more will be destroyed varies with the sales pitch.  Total destruction may have been part of the words being bragged.  It is very hard to keep the repeatedly changing story straight.

This entire, magnificent seven tree grove is currently at pretty close to the western end of the destruction area, across from the parking lot of the MicroCenter shopping center and to the west of the Magazine Beach swimming pool.  It is totally doomed.

This park is between the two previous areas and really includes the first two photos.  Approximately 30 trees in this magnificent park are doomed.

4. Heartless Animal Abuse, of course.

The 37 year resident gaggle of the Charles River White Geese are the most valuable asset the Magazine Beach area has.  So, of course, heartless abuse of them is a factor of pretty much anything done around them.  So the abuse is being inflicted even worse.  Many less visible resident animals are on the receiving end of the ongoing and increasing abuse, but, because of their lack of visibility suffer without public knowledge.

Wild turkeys are commonly seen walking the streets of the densely populated City of Cambridge, MA, USA..

The Cambridge City Council’s “kind of activist” on heartless animal abuse, plaque from her propaganda show that she put on in Cambridge City Hall Annex.