Where Lies the Responsibility of removing a floodplain forest?

Responsibility of permitting the partial destruction of a vital floodplain

While the complex permitting process of the forested “Belmont uplands” encourages highly diverse thinking and speculation, we hope that friends of our rare natural resources (Alewife urban wild) will talk to their selectmen and city councilors who have voted to protect this area and sponsored  resolutions on the preservation of this floodplain forest. .

City and town officials should discuss among themselves, the issues of permitting, regional impact and history of the development changes, including zoning between town and city. Specialists could be present from the Conservation Commissions of town and city and DPW personnel.

The Tri Community Flooding Group was formed for just this purpose but they claim it is not their purvue and cannot discuss the floodplain issues. How is this possible?.The responsibility of permitting or not permitting is on the shoulders of the municipalities for removal of this floodplain forest.

Even the issue of the floodplain forest is not completely understood. The Friends using the term comes from identifying our forest by the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program of Mass. Fish and Wildlife.

There has been much news about this fragile ecosystem regularly in the local papers over the years, and in the Sierran newsletter and Audubon Sanctuary magazine and Boston Globe. So it is high time officials who determine what is happening in the town and city to discuss the matter as an environmental  region and get together to do so, It is a floodplain held in trust by two municipalities. Actually, three municipalities, if we include Arlington, but not a peep from them although much of the flooding  envelops East Arlington. They are completely silent, with the exception of the Arlington Advocate.

The 7 passed resolutions and orders by the Cambridge Council and the 3 passed motions by the Democratic City Committee indicate that much is known and updates have been regular. But there should be the political will to figure out how to cooperate between Cambridge and  Belmont to know why the developer continues to move forward, when the popular will is so opposed to the felling of this silver maple forest.And where do the irregularities lie in the case?

The Belmont Conservation Commission has many of the answers. And perhaps the Cambridge one does as well. But they must talk. Citizens and environmental activists have led the way, and have gone beyond normal advocacy with years of presentation and education. IT is time for the city tand town o understand this floodplain as it effects citizens daily lives.. Are we not worth it? Can this area help us in the climate change challenge? Do we owe some thoughtful discussion for the sake of the trees and wildlife which cannot speak for itself? Will we continue to be a ‘green’ city or town if we allow 7 acres of rare forest to be destroyed because of a determined zealous developer who is being sued  on the East coast for extensive environmental pollution?

This matter is in the hands of the courts through the Belmont Conservation Commission and Interveners, and the Mystic River watershed legislators, and the city and town officials where it must remain. The Lorax of Dr. Seuss would not be pleased to learn that we citizens are no longer the spokespersons for the trees.But may be pleased to learn that a higher power has taken up the discussion in their behalf.


Published by EllenMass

President Friends of Alewife Reservation