Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Visibility No. 372, Cambridge Conservation Commission hearing November 17, 2008

Marilyn Wellons reports on leafleting at the BU Bridge on Monday, November 10:

It was dusk but, as usual, many drivers gave thumbs-up on seeing the sign to Save Magazine Beach. Even in the dusk they, cyclists, and passers-by took the flyers.

When people stopped to talk they wanted to know what was going on at Magazine Beach, and to say how much they enjoy the urban wild at the goose meadow. Many of them check it out every day as they cross the bridge. They tell me they love it, and draw strength from this contact with the natural world.

I told them about Cambridge's destruction of habitat and playing fields open to all Magazine Beach. Some people say they're not Cambridge residents, but are upset to learn the city is essentially appropriating state parkland for the privileged use of its own groups.

I also alerted them to the Department of Conservation and Recreation's plans to destroy the goose meadow--home to rabbits, hawks, mallard ducks, migrating songbirds and waterfowl as well as the White Geese--under the guise of work on the BU Bridge.

The Cambridge Conservation Commission will hear the DCR's request to destroy the goose meadow at its hearing on November 17, 2008, at 8:30 pm at the 2nd floor conference room, 344 Broadway (corner of Inman Street). All who care about this place should plan to attend, if at all possible, I say.

The DCR claims it needs to clear all of the meadow 100 feet from the river to the sidewalk for construction staging. In fact it could go under the Reid Overpass at the BU Bridge rotary, where staging for the sidewalk repair is now. That equipment will be gone and there's plenty of room beyond what it occupies for the larger project.

Further, the DCR wants to clear a 50-foot wide work zone in the nesting area for, among other things, a stormwater drainage system that could go elsewhere.

Although the proposed staging area is technically beyond the ConCom's jurisdiction, destruction there will necessarily affect the 100' zone that is within its jurisdiction. And the stormwater system and work zone next to the bridge is certainly within that jurisdiction.

Will the ConCom approve all this destruction? It has accepted the DCR's lies about Magazine Beach--that human activity had so altered what is normally rich habitat that the habitat no longer existed there--and approved the project that itself is even now destroying that habitat. Whether it will go along with the DCR's convenient lie that it must use the goose meadow for staging and stormwater management, and consent to wholesale destruction of habitat on the Charles remains to be seen.