Save the Silver Maple Forest
Heron at the mouth of Little River
The Belmont Uplands is a 15 acre tract of land at the edge of Belmont, Cambridge and Arlington. Once surrounded by the 'Great Swamp', it includes the "Silver Maple Forest" (see map below), a unique and fragile urban wildlife habitat. The forest and surrounding wetlands serve as natural sponges for a region already prone to flooding. This scenic area along the edges of Little Pond and the Little River is home to a diverse species of 45 breeding birds and 20 mammals which rely on the forest as well as the surrounding wetlands for survival.
The mission of the Coalition is to preserve the Belmont Uplands so it can provide water absorption and flood prevention, habitats for many varieties of animals, an outdoor oasis for area residents and an environment in which the largest Silver Maple Forest in the Boston area can thrive.
The Coalition is currently challenging a sprawling housing development with nearly 300 units and 500 parking spaces proposed to lie in the middle of the forest and encroaching on the surrounding wetlands. The mostly upmarket housing development would fragment wildlife corridors and degrade the natural value of the surrounding 120-acre Alewife Reservation. Friends of Alewife Reservation, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and local environmental groups are opposed to the development. The development would also adversely affect surrounding neighborhoods by making flooding worse around Belmont's Little Pond and downstream in North Cambridge and East Arlington.
Expert naturalists, hydrologists, and wetlands scientists supported the 20 faults listed in the Belmont Conservation Commission’s findings against the development. The Belmont Conservation Commission had challenged the development from 2007-2013.
Not all permits have been issued. The developer has not finalized a necessary land transfer or financing. In addition, the development does not have a stormwater discharge permit and a building permit. The Coalition and members of other environmental organizations continue to challenge the development.
7/23/14: Belmont Board of Selectmen asked to study effect on public health and safety after 50 years of rainfall data found missing from development review.
2/6/14: Town of Belmont Should Enforce New Stormwater Bylaw
2/1/13: New Evidence Brought to Light: ( About the Conservation Commission's separate challenge to Belmont Uplands development )
Flooding Impact Study by Expert Hydrologist Scott Horsley:
Courtesy Friends of Alewife Reservation
Pictures of forest and wildlife
How to Sign Up and/or Volunteer
Articles and Developer Information
Video of recent Forum on Floodplain Forest & Floodway Development is online.
Visit the forest : Parking and Trail map
Little River History Walk
Sunday , August 17, 4 pm.
Get in touch:
Send us an e-mail: Belmont.Coalition@gmail.com
Find out how you can support our efforts.
Boston-area maps. Located 7 miles from downtown, the T-accessible forest is enjoyed by many residents of the area. According to the Coalition's expert, Boston residents would otherwise have to go to Central Mass to experience the same variety of wildlife