Monday, July 06, 2009

DCR "Public Hearing" Nonsense, A Responsible Proposal for the Charles River

Last Tuesday, June 30, the Department of Conservation and Recreation held a “public hearing” on the Boston University campus concerning the BU Bridge Repair project.

The “public hearing” was an excellent example of bad faith as the DCR papered over continuing, needless environmental destruction and heartless animal abuse.

This is part of a series of strikingly irresponsible projects being progressed in spite of lack of merit. The protagonists routinely use whatever technique is available to further unworthy ends.

Key in the BU Bridge Repair project is not the needed repairs, but the totally unnecessary destruction included in it. It is no wonder that none of the three “public hearings” on this destruction have been conducted in Cambridge near the destruction in spite of very clear promises to do so. A related, non-destructive project has had a public hearing in the Morse School.

The BU Bridge Repair project furthers destruction of habitat aimed at the very popular and valuable Charles River White Geese. It destroys all the undestroyed vegetation in their nesting area just east of the BU Bridge. Half of the destruction is for staging that should be placed under Memorial Drive where staging was placed for the BU Bridge sidewalk project.

The project completes the destruction of all ground vegetation located between the BU Bridge and the BU Boathouse. The rest of the ground vegetation has been destroyed in stages since the DCR and Cambridge confined the Charles River White Geese to this tiny portion of their mile long habitat in September 2004. It would turn three quarters of the nesting area into a construction zone, leaving the geese with one quarter of the nesting area, all of which has been denuded of ground vegetation by the DCR. Even the tiny amount of grass under Memorial Drive across the on ramp would be taken from them.

In September 2004, the DCR and Cambridge started starving them. It was a two pronged attack. Half their food was taken from them by the City with a plastic starvation wall at the edge of the Charles River across from the Hyatt. Their food at Magazine Beach was blocked first with excavation, and then with a bizarre wall of introduced vegetation which has no business on the Charles River.

The DCR has repeatedly promised “no intent” to harm the Charles River White Geese, starting with their attack on the Nesting Area in fall 1999. The DCR explains that, in their world, starving the Charles River White Geese is not harming them.

Currently also pending is the replacement of Green playing fields at Magazine Beach with SMALLER poison maintained playing fields. The decrease in size is “needed” to put in an expensive drainage system to carry away poisons which have no business being dumped on the banks of the Charles River.

In addition to starving local animals, the Cambridge City Council is also taking Magazine Beach away from the general public. Magazine Beach, which has been used for pick up sports activities for the better part of a Century, will be prohibited for use without specific advance permission. This is an extension of the police enforced prohibition of neighborhood pick up games at Russell Field.

The Boston Conservation Commission, when faced with a similar situation at Ebersol Field near Mass. General Hospital, ordered signs posted allowing public use when not scheduled through central scheduling. The Boston Conservation Commission disagrees with the Cambridge City Council’s intents at Magazine Beach.

The DCR has informed the Cambridge Conservation Commission of its intent to destroy hundreds of healthy trees, including every cherry tree, between the BU and Longfellow Bridges. The DCR, working closely with Cambridge, is offended that Memorial Drive has hundreds of mature, healthy trees which did not appear on 19th Century plans for what was then a treeless tidal wetlands. Obama stimulus moneys will be used with Governor Patrick’s blessing.

Part of the tree destruction project will include reinstatement of the plastic starvation wall across from the Hyatt.

Maximum secrecy can be expected. If people know what is going on, they might object, and that would involve people knowing just how bad the Cambridge City Council and Governor Patrick are when it comes to environmental destruction, heartless animal abuse, and denying public services to the public.

Responsible behavior would defer the BU Bridge Repair project until Magazine Beach is livable for the Charles River White Geese. Key in the livability would be destruction of the bizarre starvation wall, return to Green Maintenance and killing of the silly, expensive drainage system which is not needed for green maintenance. The nesting area, as well, should be allowed to the Charles River White Geese for uses as they deem fit, including the nesting uses which they have done there for 28 years. Destruction should be limited to needed destruction, not the outrageous staging use which belongs under Memorial Drive.

It would also be minimal for the Cambridge City Council to behave as responsibly as the Boston Conservation Commission and return Magazine Beach to use by the public when it is not otherwise scheduled.

Plus, it would be nice to refrain from destroying hundreds of healthy, mature trees because they do not appear on a 19th Century plan for what was then a treeless tidal wetlands, and do not do that part of the starvation attacks.