David Morgan, Arlington’s Environmental Planner and Conservation Agent, was the guest speaker at the 2022 Annual Meeting, held via Zoom on January 23, 2023. He described the Urban Ecology Framework he is coordinating with Tufts graduate students to chart the Town’s progress on identified goals for ecological land management and set a timeline for accomplishing them. He has provided a summary of the project, including maps and contact information.
January 2023 – News Brief
The Board of Directors of the Arlington Land Trust invites you to join the 2022 Annual Meeting via Zoom on Monday, January 23, at 7 pm. We will elect Board members, hear a brief Treasurer’s report, and provide updates on the Mugar property and other local conservation projects.
Our guest speaker this year is David Morgan, Arlington’s Environmental Planner and Conservation Agent. David joined the Department of Planning and Community Development in Fall 2021 and has worked closely with the Conservation Commission, Open Space Committee, and other town groups on land use issues. He is also the liaison with the Land Trust for oversight of the conservation restriction on the parks and woods at Arlington 360, the former Symmes property.
David Morgan previously worked as an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Research Fellow for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where he investigated ecosystem-based climate change adaptation and policy, focusing on New England’s wetlands and coastal ecosystems. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Hampshire College in Amherst and his Master’s degree in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University.
At the Land Trust meeting, David will describe the Urban Ecology Framework he is coordinating with Tufts graduate students. This project will chart the Town’s progress on identified goals for ecological land management and set a timeline for accomplishing them. Researchers will identify gaps in current plans and suggest best practices. New information will be added to planning efforts in the form of a landscape ecological analysis using GIS to map the ecological integrity of existing lands and likely habitat patches and corridors. The Framework will guide further planning efforts, such as a biodiversity action plan.
Please save the date and join the meeting using the link below.
All are welcome to attend the meeting. Anyone who has made a general membership payment and/or contributed to an ALT special fund during the past year is considered a member and is eligible to vote. If you have not done so already, please renew your membership or make a contribution here.
Thank you. We look forward to seeing you via Zoom on January 23.You can contact the Land Trust at email@example.com.
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October 2022 — Mugar Update
Since the previous Mugar Update in January 2022, several legal actions have occurred regarding the proposed 40B development known as Thorndike Place, although no final decisions have been made. Following is a summary of recent actions and an update of the Land Trust’s involvement in the ongoing process.
The Zoning Board of Appeals filed its decision and conditions on the project in November 2021, and in December two lawsuits were filed against the ZBA decision: 1) the developers of Thorndike Place, Arlington Land Realty LLC, filed a lawsuit with the Housing Appeals Committee; and 2) three abutters of the Mugar property filed a lawsuit in Middlesex County Superior Court. In April 2022, the developers terminated their appeal, which means the abutters’ case can move forward.
Land Trust to Support Environmental Studies
Attorney Daniel Hill, who has been hired by the Coalition to Save the Mugar Wetlands on behalf of the abutters, recently gave the ALT Board an update on their lawsuit. He explained that a primary goal of the case is to present evidence concerning environmental damage, flooding, and related hydrological and stormwater problems that could be caused by the development. Although the Zoning Board of Appeals approved the project with extensive conditions, the lawsuit argues that insufficient data and analyses of groundwater conditions were available at the time.
Hill and several engineering and hydrological consultants are in the process of preparing the case and gathering such data. The ALT Board has agreed to underwrite some of the costs directly associated with these environmental studies. The analyses and reports will be available for the lawsuit and for the Conservation Commission and other Arlington officials to use in future planning for the Mugar property. Hill does not expect the court trial to begin until 2023 or 2024.
Coalition Seeks to Protect Wetlands
The Coalition to Save the Mugar Wetlands was established in response to the proposed development of the wetlands. The group is engaged in raising awareness about the proposed 40B Thorndike Place project and supporting the efforts of the abutters who have filed suit to prevent any development on the property.
The Coalition has launched a Go Fund Me page to help raise funds to support their legal efforts. On Saturday, October 15, 1-5 pm, the Coalition will sponsor a Yard Sale and Fair on Parker Street as a neighborhood celebration and fundraiser.
Arlington Land Trust continues to advocate for the permanent protection of the Mugar parcel as conservation land. The site is subject to regular and significant flooding, and is a critical stormwater buffer for the surrounding and downstream neighborhoods of East Arlington.
September 2022 – News Brief
The Arlington Land Trust will have information booths at Town Day and Spy Pond Fun Day. Please stop by to say hello, learn about our current projects, and meet some ALT Board members.
Saturday, September 17, 9:30 am – 3 pm
Massachusetts Avenue between Pleasant Street and Jason Street
Sponsored by the Town of Arlington
Join us for the return of Arlington Town Day for its 44th year. Festivities include music, food, demonstrations, and activities with over 200 booth vendors.
A complete schedule of events compiled by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce is available here.
Spy Pond Fun Day
Saturday, September 24, 10 am to 1 pm
(Rain date Sunday, September 25, 1-4 pm)
Sponsored by the Friends of Spy Pond Park
Enjoy live brass band music, participate in scavenger hunts and puzzles, and learn about the local flora and fauna of Spy Pond while engaging in nature activities for the young and young at heart. This year the Land Trust will not be able to transport visitors to Elizabeth Island, but those with their own canoes or kayaks are welcome to land on the island and walk the trails at any time.
April 2022 – News Brief
Land conservation is a year-round commitment, but Spring offers many opportunities to get outdoors and put one’s good intentions and plans into action. Please consider participating in one or more of these projects to benefit Arlington’s open spaces and natural resources.
EcoWeek, April 22-May 10
Arlington EcoWeek is an extended time of learning, reflection, and action. A wide range of activities offers something for everyone: nature, climate, biking, song, public art, green infrastructure, zero waste, pollinators, native habitat restoration. Community and student groups and Town Departments offer presentations, tours, and interactive events to inspire connection to and celebration of our natural world.
For more information and a complete calendar of events, visit EcoWeek.
ArMI Weedout Events
The Arlington-MA Invasives (ArMI), was founded in 2021 by Elaine Crowder as an outgrowth of her time spent weeding in Arlington parks during Covid. The ArMI is a volunteer umbrella organization that aims to crowdsource invasives removal. Any resident who removes invasives in their own yard is a de facto member, as is any like-minded organization
Register and find more information. Participants must sign a new waiver each year to participate. Download the waiver, print, sign, and bring it to the weedout event. Also bring water, a heavy-duty black garbage bag, and snacks. Wear garden gloves, protective clothing, repellent. Helpful tools include hand spades, hand forks, clippers and loppers for vines, shovels, and garden pitchforks.
BOW ST./FRAZER RD.
Sat, April 23, 12:30-2:30pm (Rain date Sun, April 24, 12:00-2:00pm)
Help the ArMI clear garlic mustard, English ivy, and other invasive weeds at this “Make Way for Natives” demonstration spot near the Minuteman Bikeway in Arlington Heights. Native cherry trees, joe pye weed, evening primrose, and asters are already supporting the butterflies and moths that form the basis of our native food chain. We want to ensure they thrive and spread. Park on Frazer Rd. or in the Ed Burns Arena lot, a short walk west along the Bikeway to the intersection with Frazer Rd.
HILL’S HILL & FIELDS
Tues, April 26, 10am-12:00pm and Sat, May 7, 1:30-3:30pm
Meet at the basketball court next to the Ed Burns Arena on Summer Street to remove garlic mustard along the playground fence and Minuteman Bikeway, as well as in the nearby Hill’s Hill area.
Sat, May 7, 10-11:30am
Meet at the Wildlife Habitat Garden near the bridge at Mill Brook to help clear the area of garlic mustard. Park in the lot next to Hurd Field on Drake Road and walk toward the Reservoir and bridge.
Spy Pond Trails Day
Sat, May 7, 9am-1pm (Rain date Sun, May 8)
The Spy Pond Committee of Envision Arlington, the Appalachian Mountain Club, and other civic groups are hosting their 16th annual gathering to improve the scenic path that parallels Route 2, between Lake St. and Pleasant St. Projects will include maintaining access trails to the pond, pruning plants to create vistas, bagging litter, controlling invasive plants, and nursing newly planted native species to stabilize the soil and provide wildlife habitat.
Trails Day qualifies as a community service project for students. Participants should bring sturdy footwear, work clothes, a hat, sunscreen, and rain gear. Liability waivers will be available and must be signed by all participants (under 18 need approval from—and are preferably accompanied by—a parent or guardian). Equipment and snacks will be provided, but please bring your own lunch
Recommended parking: take Exit 60 off Route 2, head toward Mass. Ave. on Lake St., first left onto Colonial Drive, left onto Roanoke, left and park along Spy Pond Parkway.
Contact the Spy Pond Committee for more information.
Alewife Path Cleanup & CSO Tour
Sat, April 23, 9:15am (Rain date Sun April 24)
Save the Alewife Brook (StAB) is a growing grassroots environmental group with supporters in Arlington, Cambridge, Somerville, Belmont, and Medford who are working to address flooding and water quality problems in the Alewife Brook.
On April 23, StAB and Everywhere Arlington Livable Streets (EALS) are collaborating to gather trash along the Alewife Brook Greenway path in East Arlington, and they will offer tours of the CSOs (Combined Sewer Outfall) in the area. Volunteers will be recognized by their red Save the Alewife Brook t-shirts.
Meet at Thorndike Field Dog Park off Lake Street, where parking is available. Bring gloves, water, and a garbage picker if you have one. Trash bags will be provided.