The Muddy River: A Century of Change

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2 The Muddy River: A Century of Change Tom Brady, Brookline Conservation Administrator, Tree Warden, Town Arborist or

3 Muddy River Flood Damage Reduction and Environmental Restoration Project A cooperative effort of the City of Boston, Town of Brookline, Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Boston and Brookline, Massachusetts

4 Emerald Necklace Parks Master Plan 1894 Olmsted designed and built parks: Charlesgate, Back Bay Fens, Muddy River (now Riverway &Olmsted Park), and Franklin Park. Olmsted designed and built Parkways:Fenway, Riverway, Jamaicaway, and Arborway.

5 Sanitary Improvement of the Muddy River... to abate existing nuisances, avoid threatened dangers, and provide for the permanent, wholesome and seemly disposition of the drainage of the Muddy River Valley. and provide for Completing a Continuous Promenade from Boston Common to Jamaica Pond

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7 1887 plan of the Back Bay Fens 1892 Plan of the Riverway shown over current conditions Developed by KZLA for the Emerald Necklace Conservancy

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11 Environmental Problems Accumulated sediment impacting aquatic and benthic habitats (High SOD, low DO). Contaminated sediments pose a risk to aquatic life and wildlife (metals, PCB s, PAH s). Invasive species (Phragmites) impacting riparian biodiversity and encroaching on open water. Aquatic weed (fanwort) infestation in the Fens.

12 Flood Problems Widespread recent flooding - October 1996 and June Major damage to public and private buildings including flooding at numerous universities (Northeastern, Simmons, Emmanuel and Wentworth), the Museum of Fine Arts and many others. Major damage to the MBTA transit system. Primary causes are undersized culverts and channel restrictions.

13 Kenmore Station closed for 2 months

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16 At peak in river 11 feet higher than normal elevation.

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18 $70 million in damage

19 History of Corps Involvement Flood control and environmental problems prompted Massachusetts, Boston and Brookline to develop a Master Plan for the Muddy River. WRDA 1999 directed the Corps to evaluate this Master Plan. WRDA 2000 authorized a project subject to the studies recommended in the Evaluation Report. Funds added in the subsequent Appropriation Bills for efforts on the Decision Document. Decision Document developed recommending a flood control and environmental restoration project for implementation under Section 522 of WRDA 2000 Director s Report submitted to ASA with recommendation to support project conclusions and recommendations.

20 Muddy River Flood Damage Reduction and Environmental Restoration Project The major features of the federally recommended plan include: improvements to protect against a flood, eradication of Phragmites from wetland and riparian areas, and... preservation and restoration of the historic park shoreline and vegetation in construction areas.

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22 Consider two approaches to storm water conveyance systems Los Angeles River 4 th Street Bridge Muddy River Under Brookline Ave Bridge

23 Engineered systems Los Angeles River is manmade, but so is the Muddy...

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26 Muddy River High Flow Storm Event (2010) The following day

27 Ecological Benefits and Habitat

28 Green Spaces and Gardens

29 Space Passive Recreation

30 Two storm water systems Courtesy of the Jamaica Pond Project

31 Flood Control Plan Accomplishments Protects against recurrence of Oct 1996 Flood (20-Year Event) Significantly reduces flood stages for all events including tributaries Environmental Restoration Restores over 40 acres of scarce urban aquatic habitat Restores anadromous fish spawning habitat (Fed. Significant Resource) Enhances diversity & productivity of benthic and warmwater fish communities Enhances biodiversity by eradicating extensive stands of Phragmites.

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37 As they are lifted into place

38 Excavation support with culvert sections in place

39 Culvert sections as they are placed

40 Granite facing on the new culvert

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42 Muddy River Restoration Project New ideas? A settling basin about 100 feet in length and three feet in depth has been built at the upper end of the channel, for the purpose of intercepting as much as possible the heavy material that will find its way into the channel from the open brook above. The basin will need to be cleaned out once or twice a year. If this work is neglected the basin will be filled to its top, and the surplus material flow along to Leverett Pond, from which it will have to be dredged at considerable extra expense. Alexis H. French, Town Engineer, Report to the Brookline Board of Selectmen, Feb. 20, 1894

43 As we close many thanks to the following: The Climate week planning committee U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Library of Congress American Memories Project and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Frances Loeb Library Map Reproduction Courtesy of the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library The Boston Public Library, Print Department Muddy River Management and Maintenance Oversight Committee The Emerald Necklace Bird Club The Emerald Necklace Conservancy Emmanuel College Fenway Garden Society Margaret Dyson and the Boston Parks Department

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Muddy River Restoration Project Maintenance and Management Oversight Committee 68 Harvard Street Brookline, Massachusetts 02447 www.muddyrivermmoc.

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