New developments in Watertown would have to put up a solar energy system if the zoning amendment heard by a Town Council subcommittee is adopted by the full Town Council. Watertown would become the first community in Massachusetts to require solar energy systems on new developments, Ed Lewis, the Town’s Energy Manager, told the Economic Development and Planning Committee Tuesday night. Other communities and the state has come up with proposed ordinances, but none has enacted them, Lewis said. Town Councilor Vincent Piccirilli said it is nice to be leading the way. “I’m excited to be the first in the state to require solar on buildings,” Piccirilli said.
The following piece was submitted by State Sen. Will Brownsberger (D – Belmont) who represents Watertown:
I spent Wednesday morning at a Rappapport Institute forum on climate change and transportation infrastructure. When I think about the local impacts of climate change, what I worry about most is water — flooding due to sea level rise. Increased precipitation is also an issue, but for the coastal region that I represent, the big issue is sea level rise. The areas I serve are sheltered from direct coastal flooding and do not face immediate inundation risks, but every legislator has to be concerned about the vulnerabilities of the transportation system that the region depends on. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has lead the region’s efforts to understand climate change — making the initial investment in the Boston Harbor Flood Risk Model to better understand the risks to the central artery and harbor tunnels.
A group from the Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice made the Charles River a nicer place by removing all sorts of items from the waterway during the Charles River Cleanup on Saturday, April 28. The group removed garbage, debris and much more from the shore of the Charles River in Watertown near the Stop & Shop on Pleasant Street. “We had a great turnout,” said Sue Ellen Hershman-Tcherepin, president of Watertown Citizens. She added, “It is both one of the most depressing and one of the most exhilarating activities that brings our community together!” The group was one of dozens participating in the Charles River Cleanup on Saturday.
A Watertown citizens group announced it will host the showing of the Movie Straws, by Linda Booker and narrated by Tim Robbins. The group sent out the following information:
ReThink Plastic and The Watertown Public Library will co-sponsor a screening of the film, STRAWS, on Tuesday, May 15, at 7pm, in the Watertown Savings Bank Room at the Watertown Free Public Library. This film is great for all ages and even features some youth activists. The 33-minute film will be followed by an environmental fair with information about reducing plastic pollution in our lives and reducing the use of plastic straws in particular.
The sun came out Thursday for the Town’s annual Arbor Day Celebration at the Commander’s Mansion in the Watertown Arsenal.
Attendees could visit tables of local organizations and businesses, or enjoy some of the activities for children. The event drew a number of youngsters, said Michelle Cokonougher, who coordinated the event on behalf of Trees for Watertown. “A whole class from Bright Horizons came over right at 11 (a.m.),” Cokonougher said. Arbor Day is an American holiday were people are encouraged to plant trees. In past years, the Tree Warden put together the Arbor Day event, but Watertown currently has no warden.
The organizers of a tour of gardens which do not use chemicals will be held on May 6, 2018 , from 1 to 5 p.m., at homes around Watertown. Organizers provided the following information:
We look forward to Watertown’s 20th Life-Friendly Garden Tour! Imagine a Sunday afternoon in May, redbud and dogwood in blossom, tulips and late narcissus in bloom, where bees are buzzing, robins are singing, and you are viewing flourishing plantings and learning from your host or hostess about healthy, earth-friendly gardens. On Sunday May 6 from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m., a chemical-free, admission-free garden tour will be sponsored by Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice, and the Environment. This will be the 20th Life-Friendly Garden Tour since the first one in 2007!
This weekend will be a big one along the Charles River as advocates for the waterway will host a cleanup Saturday and on Sunday will hold a canoe and kayak race. The Charles River Watershed Association provided the following information:
On Saturday, April 28 at 9 a.m., Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) will sponsor the Earth Day Charles River Cleanup. Volunteers from over 35 Massachusetts towns will work together at 104 sites along the Charles River to remove litter and beautify the river and its surrounding parklands. The largest one-day river cleanup in the country, this annual event brings together people from corporate, community and youth groups to protect the Charles River, an important natural resource for our whole community. After the Cleanup, volunteers will relax at one of three picnics, including a celebration at DCR’s Fiedler Field on the Esplanade.
With spring here (or almost here?) the Watertown Department of Public Works announced it has rain barrels for residents to purchase at a discounted rate.
Rain barrels can offset homeowner’s water usage, particularly in the spring, summer and fall seasons when outdoor watering needs increase. Also, stormwater from the Town’s drainage system flows directly to the Charles River without treatment and is one of many contributors to pollution in the river. Rain barrels can help reduce stormwater runoff. The DPW requests that people call in advance (617-972-6420) before picking up a barrel. The DPW sent out the following information:
Did you know that using a rain barrel to collect precious rainwater not only conserves energy and you may even save money on your next water bill?
Representatives Jonathan Hecht and John Lawn joined 36 other legislators who weighed in on the allocation of $75 million that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is scheduled to receive from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund, the two reps from Watertown announced. Members urged the Department of Environmental Protection, which is charged with dispensing the money, to invest in electric vehicle charging infrastructure and invest the balance of the funds in fully-electric transit and school buses. The money will be received as part of a multi-state settlement with Volkswagen after it used a cheating computer system that ran emissions controls during testing but not during normal vehicle operation. Emissions from these vehicles were 15-40 times the federal Environmental Protection Agency compliance level. Volkswagen has agreed to spend nearly $15 billion on remedial action, including $2.9 billion that is being divided up among participating states and territories.