Thursday, August 17, 2006

'Wild Geese," a poem by Mary Oliver

A very good friend sent me this poem, which I pass on to other friends of the White Geese.



Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

- copyright Mary Oliver

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.

Department of Conservation and Recreation Poisoning the Charles River?

Update, 8/31/06: The Cambridge Conservation Commission hearing mentioned below is now 9/11/06 at 7 pm, Cambridge City Hall Annex, corner of Broadway and Inman Street in Cambridge.

The DCR is apparently trying to get somebody to support its application. Since their reprehensible front organization the Charles River Conservancy was coming that night anyway, the hearing is now 9/11/06.


This morning, WBZ Radio in Boston reported the sighting of possibly poisonous algae in the Charles River on the harbor side of the Mass. Ave. Bridge.

The Charles River White Geese have traditionally lived a half a mile east and west of the BU Bridge which is the next bridge after the Mass. Ave. Bridge going away from the harbor, perhaps a mile or so further west.

The Museum of Science mentioned in Marilyn's report below is perhaps half a mile from the harbor and built on the Charles River Dam. Going outbound (westerly) from there are the Longfellow Bridge, then the Mass. Ave. Bridge, then the B.U. Bridge.

Marilyn reports:

I suspect the poisonous algae bloom by the Museum of
Science is directly related to fertilizer at the new
"Teddy Ebersol's Red Sox Fields at Lederman Park."
Lederman Park is on the Boston side of the river by
MGH and the Longfellow Bridge, i.e., just upriver from
the Museum of Science. The "Teddy Ebersol's Red Sox
Fields" are regulation Little League fields
constructed in a DCR "public-private partnership."
[For more information on the fields and the DCR's
private partners see]

So there are now 6 acres of new turf, installed by the
DCR, on the banks of the Charles.

We know that one precipitating cause of algae bloom is
fertilizer runoff. Given the extraordinary rains
earlier in the summer, there was probably runoff from
the "Teddy Ebersol's Red Sox Fields at Lederman Park"
despite the newly installed drainage and irrigation
systems there. Whether the 6 acres of sod had been
treated with fertilizer before installation, whether
they were treated with fertilizer after, are questions
I think the DEP and appropriate public health
authorities need to ask.

I don't know of other large tracts of riverbank that
would have been treated with fertilizer.

The DCR does say all that rain led to a fungus
infection now killing the newly installed turf at the "Teeddy Ebersol's Red Sox Fields at Lederman Park." Consequently they asked for, and received
permission from, the Boston Conservation Commission to
apply "Tartan," a fungicide, on August 3, 2006.

So a further question is whether the DCR may have
applied "Tartan" between August 3 and the bloom.
"Tartan" is toxic to fish and aquatic invertebrates, and
98% stable in water. The manufacturer's data sheet
says, "Do not apply directly to water, to areas where
surface water is present . . . . Drift and runoff from
treated areas may be hazardous to fish/aquatic
organisms in adjacent sites. . . . Do not apply when
weather conditions favor runoff or drift" (Bayer
Environmental Science, Material Safety Data Sheet,
Tartan Fungicide, Revision Date: 02/09/2006). Killing
off fish and aquatic organisms with runoff or drift
from "Tartan" into the Charles at "Teddy Ebersol's Red
Sox Fields at Lederman Park" might contribute to algae

Interestingly, the "Teddy Ebersol's Red Sox Fields at
Lederman Park" seem to be the prototype for the ball
fields the DCR and Cambridge plan for Magazine Beach.
Remember, the Cambridge Conservation Commission will
consider whether to allow this project at its upcoming
August 28, 2006 meeting at 7 pm at the McCusker
Center, 344 Broadway (corner Inman and Broadway).

Like the fields slated to be destroyed at Magazine
Beach, the fields where "Teddy Ebersol's Red Sox Fields at Lederman
Park" now are were also in the Mass Wetlands Protection Act's
category of "bordering land subject to flooding." The
Boston project replaced 6 acres of waterfront grass
with gravel, topsoil, an irrigation system, and sod,
plus regulation Little League fields, including
extensive chain-link fences and many klieg lights on
60-foot high poles.

This is essentially the plan for Magazine Beach's 7
acres: dig up wet dirt and grass, replace with
gravel, dry dirt, sod, and an irrigation system, and
add chain-link fences. All that's missing from the
plans are the klieg lights (for now).

The DCR says Magazine Beach would ordinarily be rich
habitat for wildlife, but it's already been so
developed by humans that it no longer is. As a casual
visit shows, there's plenty of wildlife--Canada geese,
gulls, ducks, hawks--at Magazine Beach all year round.
It is the pending Cambridge-DCR plans for the place
that will themselves destroy its ongoing value as
habitat, however.

The DCR began to destroy Lederman Park as habitat
several years ago when it sought to "upgrade" the ball
fields there. The DCR specifically cited geese and
goose droppings at Lederman Park as a problem in 2004
when it asked for, and got, US Fish and Wildlife's
permission to poison Canada goose eggs and otherwise
expel the animals from the lower basin.

Similarly the DCR and Cambridge have worked since 2004
to expel the Charles River White Geese from their
primary source of food, the "bordering land subject to
flooding," at Magazine Beach prior to the pending
"upgrade" of the ball fields there.

One last observation. Last year the Charles River
Watershed Association declared the lower
Charles--between Lederman Park and the Museum of
Science--to be swimmable. The water was clean and a
perfect temperature. This year, after construction of
"Teddy Ebersol's Red Sox Fields at Lederman Park," we
have poisonous algae in the very same place.

Would the appropriate authorities please give us an
honest investigation of the possible link between
chemicals applied to land within 100' of the river and
the algae bloom?

Marilyn Wellons

Friday, August 11, 2006

Purple loosestrife, courtesy of the Department of Conservation and Recreation

From Kathy Podgers:

Below is a link to info about how destructive to waterfowl and wetlands this plant is. Although it is pretty, looks can be deceiving.

We never had this horror at "Magazine Beach" before the DCR started tampering with the natural environment there. Now we do need to remove some "invasives," courtesy of the DCR!!!

I just took some more photos there, to document that the area really is habitat to wildlife, and migrating waterfowl. After all, Magazine Beach is on the Charles River Estuary on the International Atlantic Flyway!

We should reserve, preserve this last remaining natural area for "Mother Nature."

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

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Charles River White Geese Photos Included in Photo Display at Suffolk University in Boston - Announcement, Review

1. Marylin Wellons reports (8/6/06).
2. Bob La Trémouille reviews (8/7/06).
3. Marilyn Wellons review (8/9/06).

1. Marylin Wellons reports (8/6/06).

My daughter's boyfriend has pointed out the display of photos of the White Geese at Suffolk:

The Adams Gallery at Suffolk University presents photographers’ impressions of life along the 80-mile course of the Charles River in Exploring the Charles: Boston Herald Photo Project.

"The Boston Herald’s award-winning team of 19 photographers was dispatched to the 23 Massachusetts cities and towns along the banks of the Charles. The result is a dazzling collection of photographs capturing the people, wildlife and luminosity of the river’s environment.

Exploring the Charles: Boston Herald Photo Project is at the Adams Gallery, Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont St., Boston, 9 a.m.- 7 p.m. daily, July 17, 2006, – September 8, 2006."

I can't paste the photo of the parents and goslings at the railroad tracks the Suffolk website shows.

2. Bob La Trémouille reviews (8/7/06).

I viewed the show this afternoon.

Suffolk Law has a lovely building and the gallery is in a highly visible front side location. The artist responsible are the photo staff from the Boston Herald.

It is a good sized show, presenting scenes from areas throughout the Charles River.

Four shots of the Charles River White Geese are given major prominence.

The first shot is the shot from the webset, Mommy and Poppy crossing the railroad tracks with a very tiny baby in the forefrotn, on the rail and dwarfed by Mommy, Poppy and the rail.

The second shot is two white geese yelling at each other, nearly beek to beek, with five babies on the ground below them trying to make out the goings on.

Third shot is Mommy and one baby looking at a second baby braking out of its egg.

Fourth is from the ground, close to two babies with Mommy and Poppy in the background. Poppy is glooking straight at the camera in a down angle. Two babies are each enjoying their own dark green leaf, very clearly a CRUWI contribution.

All truly beautiful. All emphasizing the major value of this beautiful gaggle to the Charles River and to Cambridge.

3. Marilyn Wellons review (8/9/06).

I did manage to see the photos today and the ones of the White Geese are astonishing. How on earth did he get the one of the gosling hatching?

There are also other great photos, of course, but the photographer who got the White Geese also has wonderful shots of the river and a great one of a homeless person on the riverbank.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Follow-up, Bumpy memorial, Two White Ducks

Bob La Trémouille reports.

1. Introduction.

Yesterday afternoon, at Magazine Beach, I spotted two small white beings on the Boston side of the Charles River swimming oh so close together. It was very nice to see the two white geese, Andrake and Daffney still getting along and happy.

2. CD.

The day before I had received a CD from a lady who does PR for the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority.

The MWRA owns and operates the pollution control plant which is between Magazine Beach and the BU Bridge. Their workers had been very close to the Charles River White Geese and, five years ago, the MWRA allowed us to have our first memorial for Bumpy on their property.

It was quite lovely.

The CD contained perhaps 50 or more photos taken during the 7/23/06 Bumpy memorial event. That CD showed me a very clear error I had made in my analysis of the attack on Andrake which was part of that event.

I emailed copies of five key photos to many who might be interested.

Key were the parts concerning the attack.

There are two before pictures. The first shows the dog and his master walking along and having passed the ducks, with the dog on leash. The second shows the master holding the dog’s leash in his hand and looking at the ducks with truly heartless look on his face. The dog bears a similar look.

A third photo shows the owner attacking me after I beat down his dog after the dog had put his teeth on Andrake’s neck.

3. My transmittal.

I sent these five photos to a number of people who might be interested.

The following was the main transmittal:


This will follow up on my voice mail. The most important differences between the guy in the picture and nine city councilors are that

1. Davis is openly and aggressively fighting for his "right" to sick behavior.

2. Nine city councilors have pandered to this type of person and have made themselves his equal with their deliberate starvation of the white geese (the ninth has blessed it with his silence and the comment that the bridge closure was the first item of interest at Magazine Beach, clearly saying that starving the white geese has no value to him). The DCR/MDC behavior has been much worse.

These photos were taken by the PR person for the MWRA at the same time as your photographer was in action. I do not have his email. I did leave him a voice mail. I will try to give you as much of the sequence as possible (Yahoo allows 5 photos). I will be pleased to provide a copy of the CD.

The photos are numbered consecutively. The key ones are 6245 in the dog and master are walking by the ducks with the dog on leash and 6246 which shows him releasing the dog, and look on both of their faces. 6247 is the owner attacking me for defending the ducks.

And nine city councilors have very clearly and repeatedly shown where they are coming from.

4. Karen Parker Comments.

That was crazy. Why did the guy attack you because you helped the duck I suppose and he thought you were threatening his dog maybe? The look on the guy's face was that he wanted his dog to attack, what an asshole. Too bad that weren't some rabid animals we could sick on all 9 city councilors. Just kidding, Karen
I am glad the duck was saved.

You could tell by looking at the guy, he looked mean.

5. Summary.

“Mean” is an excellent description. It is a shame to have to associate with such people.

But, this is Cambridge, Massachusetts, a city subjected to a terrible state bureaucracy and terrible city government, if you are concerned about the environment and the beings who live in our environment.

But their hypocritical nonsense sounds so good\, and “mean” is putting it mildly.

If you would like a copy of the photos, please give me a ring at

I strongly regret that I do not seem to be able to understand getting the photos on the blog. I have done it once and have not been able to duplicate my achievement.

DCR / MDC Open House: Environmental Destruction starts at the top.

Bob La Trémouille reports.

On Wednesday, July 26, in the early evening, the Department of Conservation and Recreation held a public meeting, among other things, to give people the false impression of how responsible they are.

DCR Commissioner Stephen H. Burrington chaired.

The open house was conducted at a boat club near Charles Circle off Beach Hill in Boston.

It appeared that almost all members of the public present were people brought by Friends of the White Geese and people from the environmentally destructive Esplanade Association. The Esplanade Association is joing with the misnamed Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and with the DCR in their ongoing fight to destroy all animal life they can get away with destroying on the banks of the Charles River.

The meeting was moderated by DCR Commissioner Stephen H. Burrington.

Barrington apparently was previously associated with an “environmental” group which has been involved on the Charles River. These “environmental defenders” have recently been bragging about a “victory” over Boston University. They “forced” Boston University to move a massive “replacement” for Boston University’s SECOND Charles River Boathouse. None of these “victors” have ever meaningfully explained why Boston University has any need for a SECOND large boathouse, explained why the existing not overly large boathouse meaningfully needs to be replaced, or explained why it cannot be replaced in place. Naturally the existing boathouse is in an out of the way location surrounded by the BU Campus and the BU Bridge, and the “compromise” is prime Esplanade land in a very valuable PUBLIC location.

Wednesday night was not a great deal different.

Among others, Barrington, presented his a new maintenance supervisor for this region. The new person transferred from the rural component of the department to the urban component of the department. The new person was quite surprised at the reaction of people in his new building to seeing a wild turkey nearby. He apparently was unaware that this part of the agency is aggressively fighting to destroy all animal life it can get away with on the Charles or probably other places.

The new maintenance supervisor bragged on the DCR’s vegetation management program in which vegetation is left a foot high near rivers.

Barrington shouted me down when I attempted to find out how recently the program had been implemented since the prior Friday, July 21, their representatives (obviously the Charles River Conservancy) had scalped all vegetation abutting the Charles between the BU Bridge and the Mass. Ave. Bridge in Cambridge except where the White Geese live.

This casual destruction of needed vegetation is now done twice a year throughout Cambridge and Brighton because the DCR and their representatives have contempt for the environment and for their own supposed policies. The DCR in reality wants the Charles River to look like a lawn, not like a river.

The shouting down by Barrington combined with the very real existence of the behavior shows exactly how high environmental contempt goes in the DCR.

The maintenance manager seems like a good man. I hope he finds a new job with an entity that deserves his respect.