Boston Conservation Commission Tackles Invasive Species and Urban Development

In a key move to preserve local ecosystems, the Boston Conservation Commission has approved an ecological restoration project aimed at managing invasive plant species at the Belle Isle Marsh Reservation. The comprehensive approach to tackling invasive species, such as European Buckthorn and Asiatic Bittersweet, includes the application of herbicides and manual removal methods. This decision, reflecting thorough discussions and recommendations, was one of several actions taken by the commission in a recent meeting, which also addressed urban development projects, including building reconstructions and waterfront improvements.

The ecological restoration at Belle Isle Marsh Reservation was a focal point of the meeting. With the endorsement of Natural Heritage, the commission agreed to manage invasive species using both chemical and physical methods to ensure minimal impact on the environment. The necessity for a licensed contractor to perform the work was emphasized, along with the use of natural regeneration and seed mixtures to promote the growth of native vegetation. This step is expected to contribute to the restoration and maintenance of the marsh, a crucial habitat for local wildlife.

Management of invasive species was further discussed with concerns about the spread due to human activity and the influence of low-impact access projects. The conservationists acknowledged the importance of early detection and treatment of invasives, underlining the need for public awareness and ongoing site management, especially since the absence of a site supervisor was noted due to a hiring freeze. Signage will be used to inform the public about managed areas.

In addition to environmental restoration, the commission also reviewed several development projects, emphasizing the balance between urban growth and conservation. Notably, a request for a certificate of compliance for the demolition of a residential building and construction of a new multi-family residential building was tabled, with the commission seeking further information on debris removal and landscaping.

The ecological enhancement of Endale Woods Urban Wild’s multiple trail heads received unanimous support, following staff recommendations and a site visit. Similarly, unanimous approval was granted for the reconstruction of a section of a Triple Decker building and open dock, upon staff’s recommendation post-site visit. These decisions demonstrate the commission’s careful consideration of urban development within the context of environmental compliance and sustainability.

A proposed project for the removal and replacement of a section of an existing building and pile-supported foundation over water was discussed with the commission, highlighting the need for the applicant to provide construction methods before work commencement. The commission voted to issue the order of conditions with a special condition, pending comments from the Division of Marine Fisheries.

The replanting within existing planting beds at Paul River Park was presented by the applicant, Crowley Krell. The commission considered the presentation, which detailed the existing conditions and proposed plan, including demo, prep, and materials. A site visit prompted the need to confirm the number of trees to be removed during construction, and the establishment period for the new plantings was discussed, with particular attention given to irrigation.

A notice of intent for the installation of a waterline extension at William J Boulevard in South Boston was put forth by AECOM on behalf of the Department of Conservation and Recreation. The project’s goal is to install a 6-inch waterline with minimal impact on the surrounding coastal areas, employing erosion controls and avoiding work during unfavorable weather conditions. Questions regarding infrastructure and project upgrades were addressed.

Another maritime project involved the proposed removal of a floating dock and relocation of associated pilings at a marina located on Commercial Wharf in the North End. Four Point Associates, representing Ocean Havens LLC, explained the necessity of the removal and the measures to mitigate noise and environmental impacts. The commission was assured that appropriate storm preparations and spill prevention plans were in place, and the work was set to commence promptly to align with the boating season’s opening.

Further discussions included a request from Northern Tree Service on behalf of the MBTA to renew wetland delineations for a new vegetation management plan. The commission issued a positive determination of applicability for the delineations and a negative one for the proposed vegetation management work.

The commission also deliberated on a request for a certificate of compliance for construction on East Pier Drive in East Boston, opting to continue the discussion due to uncertainties about the stormwater system and ongoing landscaping.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
Michelle Wu
Environmental Commission Officials:
John P. Sullivan Jr., Michael Wilson, Michael Parker, Anne Herbst, Alice Richmond, Nick Long, Kannan Thiruvengadam

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