Friday, March 20, 2009

Magazine Beach pesticides opposition

Cambridge residents concerned about the environment are contacting the City Council, registering opposition to the city's plans for Magazine Beach. These plans are to install professional-level fields, maintain them with chemicals including pesticides, and, to protect the stressed commercial turf, restrict use. Parts of Russell Field in North Cambridge are now open only with advance approval from the city.

Ann Spanel submitted the following letter to the City Council and copied it to the Cambridge Conservation Commission.


Dear Cambridge City Councilors:

I am strongly opposed to the use of pesiticides on ANY of Cambridge's fields, for any reason. I testified to that effect some years ago at a number of City hearings, and it was my understanding that the City's policy was NOT to use these poisons on our fields. Children and pets use these fields, and I am very concerned that you are adding ONE MORE TOXIN to our parks. . . . Cambridge is making it very hard for me to walk my dog safely in a City park. I am not at all pleased to learn that you plan to spray a field at Danehy Park as well. The idea that a field I could be walking on a pesticided field and my dog tracking pesticides into my house is unacceptable to me.

Cambridge is digging up and replacing the grass adapted to the riverfront environment [at Magazine Beach]. At great expense it's installing 7 acres of gravel, topsoil, commercial sod, and an irrigation system. The resulting, very expensive fields will need restricted use (as the city is doing at a new field in Danehy Park) and chemicals to maintain the "quality of turf our players deserve," as the DCR spokesperson told the Boston Conservation Commission about Ebersol Fields.

I am further concerned that Cambridge may follow suit in using Tartan, a pesticide forbidden to be used near water, that the DCR used on Ebersoll Field.

I look forward to hearing back from you.


Other residents wishing to register opposition can also e-mail the City Council (, and the Conservation Commission (jwright@CambridgeMA.GOV).

Marilyn Wellons