Stormwater Initiatives for 2015

Volunteers came forward for leading the following 2015 initiatives. Contact Anne-Marie Lambert if you are interested in learning more or working on any intitiatives,  ammlambert [a]

  • Soil data gathering project: Betty Krikorian and one of the BHS students feel strongly we need to gather existing detailed data about the soil composition in Belmont and enter it into the GIS system for further analysis so that the information is more readily available when considering where it’s feasible to infiltrate storm water.  Betty provided an example of flooding on top of the Waverly Hill near Watertown, presumably due to the existence of rocks and/or clay beneath the foundation rather than permeable soil.  Anne-Marie noted that most modern developments in town require soil borings be filed in Town offices, and that there are also many historical soil borings available. Do you have energy and expertise for helping Betty and Rakia complete this project?
  • Water quality monitoring initiative: Frank Frazier has great interest in exploring whether new miniaturized sensor technology might be useful for monitoring water quality in Belmont streams and rivers, and will be investigating options in this area, including talking with MyRWA to understand what they are doing.  Can you help Frank move forward with this project?
  • “Neighbor-to-Neighbor” Communications Program: Walley is seeking someone with marketing expertise to help educate upstream neighbors about how they can mitigate the adverse effects on downstream neighbors of sending storm water downstream more rapidly (and more polluted) than necessary.  Are you a downstream neighbor? Do you have a marketing background?
  • Get the Belmont rain gardens built at the High School and Library: Anne-Marie continues to seek help with writing grant proposals to implement the high-level concept designs now in hand thanks to last year’s 604B grant. The town should move forward with funding their implementation.  Can you help by writing grants and letters proposing that the town prioritize these worthy projects?
  • Depaving projects in Belmont: Radha would welcome help using Frank’s Pervious Driveway flyer  (and Frank’s longer pervious pavement project guide) to “free the soil” in Belmont by seeking and helping implement depaving projects in 2015.  Project number one (a residential driveway) is on track;  Can you help Radha find and make a few more happen before 2015 is over?

Other ideas which just need volunteers to invest time in include:

  • Clay Pit Pumping Project: Bill Pisano was not able to attend this meeting but wrote via email that he is interested in contributing to the development and exploration of the pros and cons of a proposal to lower Clay Pit Pond by pumping its waters downstream in advance of major storms. While expensive, this type of project may ultimately be the best bang for the buck to protect the Winn Brook neighborhood from flooding.  Perhaps you could be the project manager who works with Bill and turns all his expertise into a concrete proposal for the town to consider funding?
  • Investigate a Storm water Utility Fee in Belmont: building on the storm water bylaw and bylaw regulations passed last year, a storm water utility fee can encourage more pervious surfaces in town. See MyRWA Executive Director EK Khalsa’s letter to the editor in the January/February Belmont Citizens Forum newsletter for a great summary of why Belmont needs this and how to supplement it with grant funding for clean up projects.  Are you up for doing the research to help the town to leverage the Stormwater Financing/Utility Toolkit compiled by the MWRA advisory board for towns to use as they set up storm water utility fees?
  • Stay diligent with the Uplands proposal:  let’s not let the sad demise of six acres of the silver maple forest in October distract us from the need to make sure the town remains aware of the need to ensure that 150,000 gallons of excess storm water from the proposed construction does not increase flooding risk.  With no Belmont building permit issued, increased awareness among Belmont Selectmen about the economic risks of development (e.g. Lesley University professor presentation to BoS meeting October 14, 2014), more Cambridge City Councillors waking up to the down side of all the development Cambridge has been permitting in the Alewife area, and increased risk of flooding from a mid-Winter thaw, it’s a good time to show that citizen concern about storm water is still high. Can you attend any of the meetings below, for example, or work with the Coalition to Preserve the Belmont Uplands?
  • “Water Trouble” Forum #2: it may be time to hold another large public forum like the “Water Trouble” Forum held by Belmont Citizens Forum in September 2012 —  sometimes public education can create new energy and ideas for addressing big problems like pollution and flowing. Is event planning your thing?
  • Your Idea Here!

At the Belmont Stormwater Working Group Dropbox location you can find earlier presentations, minutes from previous BSWG meetings, and other interesting material. Details on the last two meetings (October 23 and December 11) are not yet available, however.