January 2017

Thank You!g
A sincere  thank you to all of the generous donors who contributed to the Conservancy's 2016 Year End Appeal. Your donations allow us to continue our work to make the parklands more active, attractive, and accessible for all. In case you did not have a chance to make a donation, you can do so here.   

A new chart of depths in the Charles River Basin. Read more about this chart in "Parkland News". Image from MIT Sea Grant/Charles River Alliance of Boaters via The Boston Globe.
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Anderson Memorial Bridge Underpass
The proposed Underpass for the Anderson Memorial Bridge recently overcame a major hurdle: the Mass. Historical Commission (MHC) ruled that they accept the "adverse effect" of constructing an underpass, and gave MassDOT authorization to proceed with the design process, without formal consultation. The MHC has requested that DCR, the Conservancy, and several other groups work together to develop a Memorandum of Agreement as to how to mitigate the adverse effect, with both architectural and landscape design. Learn more about the underpasses project here.

Conservancy Comments on I-90 Project
The Conservancy submitted comments regarding MassDOT's I-90 Project, following their December 8 public meeting. Beyond restating that MassDOT needs to more fully realize the place-making potential and environmental considerations of this enormous project, the Conservancy emphasized three goals for the I-90 project as it moves forward: (1) add at least 5-acres of riverfront parkland (the proposed "Allston Esplanade"), (2) connect Brookline and Boston University residents to the river, and (3) incorporate climate-preparedness features. Read the letter here

There are two upcoming I-90/Mass Pike Public meetings:

Thursday, January 19, 2017
Join the Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association in the Community Room at the Central Square Library from 7 - 9 p.m. Attendees will discuss proposed I-90 improvements and how they will impact Cambridge with MassDOT Project Manager, Mike O'Dowd. The snow date for the meeting is Thursday, January 26, 2017.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Join the People's Pike at 6:30 p.m. at the Jackson-Mann Community Center, 500 Cambridge Street, Allston. Come learn more about the massive 110-acre plan to rebuild the Mass Pike Interchange in Allston, reconnect neighborhoods, create new transit connections, and improve access to the Charles River.  The snow date for this meeting is Monday, February 13, 2017. 

For more details on the I-90 meetings and project click here.

New Basin Citizens Advisory Committee Meeting 
On the agenda for the upcoming New Basin Citizens Advisory Committee meeting are updates for several projects important to the Charles River and its parklands: 
                - North Bank Bridge
                - Drawbridge Walkway
                - South Bank Park
                - Boat House & Upper Lock Gate House
                - Leverett Circle Pedestrian Bridge

Also expected at this meeting is a discussion of the recently released EF III, Draft Environmental Impact Report.  Permissive legislative passed by the state legislature in 2014 gave DCR and DCAM permission  to consider a request by EF Education First, Inc. to purchase a parcel of land from the state in order to construct the third building of EF's "campus," known as EF III, in the North Point Park area of Cambridge.  The project is now moving through the state's environmental review process. In mid December, the MEPA office shared the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR). T he deadline for comments on the DEIR are due to the State MEPA office by January 27. For more information click here or contact advocacy@thecharles.org.

This meeting will be held at the Hult Business School (EF I), 1 Education Street, Cambridge, on Tuesday, Jan. 17, from 4-6 p.m. 
Conservancy Volunteers   

Looking for a volunteer opportunity for your company or office in 2017? Volunteer with the Conservancy this Spring, Summer, or Fall! Volunteer events are a great way to get outside, learn more about the river, and have fun with colleagues, all while restoring the centerpiece of Greater Boston's urban parks. Email Sasha at svallieres@thecharles.org to learn more and schedule your event. Please keep in mind that we ask you to book your event at least a month in advance!

Open Volunteer Event
Our next open volunteer event with be Saturday, February 25 from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. We will be working to prune trees and cut back vegetation. Please email Sasha at svallieres@thecharles.org to RSVP and for more details. The event will be capped at 15 people, so don't delay, sign up today!

Volunteers working to prune tree limbs. Photo by Conservancy staff.
Swimming in the Charles     

What was once known as the Swimmable Charles program has become the Swim Park Project, a proposal to plan, design and build a place on the banks of the Charles River where the public can swim on a regular and ongoing basis at a "Swim Park" in North Point Park in Cambridge. Over the next few months, the Conservancy will build on three partnerships to augment our planning capacity for the proposed Charles River Swim Park. The Conservancy was selected for a Community Consulting Team project grant, where a team of experienced MBA's will be helping the Conservancy examine the operational and business side of running a Swim Park. At the same time, students from Tufts University's Urban and Environmental Policy program will be researching swimming facilities across the United States to help us learn from the triumphs and setbacks of some of our sister efforts. And, last but in no way least, a team of students from the Harvard Kennedy School will recommend advocacy techniques to help make sure the Swim Park project succeeds. We are thankful to have the support of these three groups and are excited for the future of the Swim Park! For more information click here

Parkland News       

Is the Charles River Boring?
A recent trip to Prague's Vltava River inspired Boston Globe contributor and former Boston City Councilor Mike Ross, to think critically about the Charles River Reservation. You can read Ross' provocative Boston Globe opinion piece  here

What do you think? Would you like more development along the Charles? What about more open green space or more cafes? The Conservancy's mission is to make the Charles River Parklands more active, attractive, and accessible for all in the community, and we are excited to engage in this lively discussion about the parks' future. Click  here   to read a response to Ross' piece, co-authored by Rafael Mares of the Conservation Law Foundation and the Conservancy's Renata von Tscharner.

U.S. Senator Markey Meets with Environmental Leaders
Renata von Tscharner, representing the Conservancy, was among 35 environmental leaders U.S. Senator Markey gathered in his office on December 20, 2016 to discuss environmental advocacy and potential challenges during the upcoming Trump presidency. Senator Markey has come out publicly against President elect Trump's environmental cabinet nominations and has vowed to fight for environmental policies. Read more  here .

Charting the Charles River's Depth     
An MIT engineer and a longtime sailor and scientists collaborated to create the most thorough depth chart of the Charles River Basin to date. This chart promises to become a foundational tool of multiple efforts to study, navigate, and manage the Charles. The team's charting efforts began in 2015, and used MIT's autonomous "Remote Explorer IV" boat to navigate the basin. View the chart and learn more about the project here.

Watertown Dam
The Watertown Dam, located up-river from the Watertown Square, was recently designated a Priority Project by the Division of Ecological Restoration (DER). The Watertown Dam hinders river herring, including American shad, from migrating upstream to spawn. Our partners at the Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) and DCR will work with DER to study how to improve fish passage at the dam, including evaluating the feasibility of removing the dam. Read the press release here.

- Jun Whang of Urban Inline speaks with Renata about inline skating in the parklands.

- Jennifer Gilbert, Chair of the Conservancy Board's Swim Park Committee, gives an overview on the Swim Park project and why YOU should support it!

Upcoming Events

For a more detailed list of events check out CRC's calendar.

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The Phillip and Elizabeth Gross Family Foundation
for your generous and visionary support!

Thank you to

Adelard A. & Valeda L. Roy Foundation

Charlotte and Herbert Wagner

for their generous leadership gift given in the month of December
Thank you to the Mass Cultural Council for their  support of our Youth Volunteer Program
To see a full list of foundations, business partners, and leadership corporate sponsors, please visit our  website .