Tuesday, September 22, 2009

DCR Destroys Wildlife Habitat Without Chapter 91 License Application Approval

Charles River, Cambridge MA: The Cambridge Conservation Commission, once again, fails to preserve and protect this gem of an Urban Wild. Although the Department of Conservation and Recreation obtained a required Chapter 91 license for bridge staging they claimed they needed to repair the roadway, that was allowed only for work on the bridge itself. Staging for repairs need only 25' from the bridge to be used. Here you can see the whole upper area of the meadow has been destroyed, and barriers erected to prevent wildlife from getting onto the banks from the Charles River.

The DCR and the Charles River Conservancy demonstrate how to turn a rich diverse Urban Wildlife habitat into a groomed, manicured "yard," to serve their "vision" of extending Boston University's campus onto the abutting public parkland.

The DCR is not content with stewardship of a mature landscape on the Charles. It is hungry for projects to serve its own bureaucratic needs and its design-development constituents. It will devour that landscape to get a project, as here.

In addition to protecting water quality, the Wetlands Protection Act, WPA, charges the Cambridge Conservation Commission with protection of all habitat in wetland and associated areas, not simply habitat of rare or endangered species.

Please note that this project does not restore habitat critical to the health of our metropolitan area. Rather, it destroys it. Memorial Drive and the Goose Meadow here, now, is indisputably habitat to hawks, small mammals, waterfowl and other birds, including migrants. Their mature trees and woody and herbaceous plants from the river to its northern side provide food and shelter for them.

The plants' beauty and shade constitute human habitat essential for our physical, mental, and spiritual re-creation. Their photosynthesis sequesters carbon from passing cars and improves the air for all.

The trees and smaller plants along the shore and banks also prevent erosion. One, Amorpha fruticosa (false indigo), is used elsewhere in the United States for the erosion control that is central to water quality here as well. The DCR's take on this plant is more than disturbing: false indigo holds the bank for free, but the DCR works to eradicate it as "invasive." Along the Charles, the DCR cuts it down and, when money is available, cuts it out entirely. The DCR treats resprouts from the deep-growing roots that make it so valuable for erosion control with Rodeo.

On its face this plan is contrary to the Wetlands Protection Act.

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