Cambridge and Belmont's silver maple forest is one-of-a-kind forest ecosystem, nearly a century old, that is bordered by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) 115 acre Alewife Reservation, metro-Boston's largest contiguous open urban wild space. The woodland, located between Cambridge, Belmont and Arlington, spans the region's Native American, agricultural and industrial history. The 15 acre forest, which includes wetland and marsh areas, is targeted for deforestation by developers in order to create a large apartment complex. The adjacent Reservation is home to coyote, otter, fox, deer, and over 90 bird species that require the forest's diverse habitat for their survival. Development displaces natural absorption by the maples, sending millions of gallons of stormwater runoff with each rainfall into an already taxed Little River/Alewife Brook waterways system. These high flows and pollutants from the building and parking lots increase the risk of contamination and flooding for downstream communities, as stormwater moves towards the Mystic River and Boston Harbor.
Deforestation means a rare wildlife refuge gem, easily accessible for education and recreation via the Alewife T, will be permanently eliminated. The towns of Belmont, Arlington and city of Cambridge have the option to buy the property, but need support from the Governor and State Agencies to halt permits until the neighbors have their day in Superior Court soon.
Tell Deval Patrick and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs:
Save the Silver Maple Forest!
As development pressures continue to mount in the Boston area, it is unwise to remove life protecting natural resources such as wetlands surrounding healthy rivers and streams, and wild places like the silver maple forest between Arlington, Belmont and Cambridge. The Reservation surrounding the forest functions as a learning center for classes and visitors coming from the adjacent Red Line T stop. Small river floodplain forests are rare or nonexistent, especially in our dense Metropolitan urban setting. For this reason, and for global climate change adaptation needs, the woodlands need our protection, for the wildlife that forages and reproduces there, and for flood and pollution protection that Cambridge's largest wetland offers to the bordering communities.
Please keep developers out of the silver maple forest. Support the purchase of this important open space location by halting permits and completing a regional environmental impact study, which includes flooding, traffic, and other environmental issues that allow for acceptable living standards in Boston's western corridor.