Charles River Watershed Group Pushing for Removal of Watertown Dam

A short distance from Watertown Square the waters of the Charles River back up in a placid pool and then cascade several feet down into an area frequented by birds and other animals. This area, however, could be vastly changed if the Watertown Dam, which holds back the river, is removed as proposed by the Charles River Watershed Association (CWRA). 

A dam was first built in the location in 1632 as a fish weir. The dam was rebuilt in 1962 after it suffered damage from flooding in 1918 and Hurricane Diane in 1955. Earlier this month, Elisabeth Cianciola, aquatic scientist with the CWRA, spoke to the Conservation Commission about the possibility of removing the dam. “There is no recognized use for the dam,” Cianciola said.

Group Holding Discussion of How Climate Change Could Impact Massachusetts

A meeting will be held about how climate change will impact Massachusetts. ProgressiveWatertown sent out the following announcement:

Please save Saturday, Oct. 21, when ProgressiveWatertown will host a public forum on Climate. The Forum will take place at the Watertown Free Public Library, 123 Main St., starting at 1:30 p.m. Attendance is free. We have three wonderful speakers to lead the discussion; Emily Norton, the Director of the Sierra Club of MA, George Bachrach, the former President of the Environmental League of MA (ELM), and Chris Dempsey, the director of Transportation of MA.

Tufts Health Plan HQ Receives Superior Energy Performance Designation

Tufts Health Plan’s Watertown office buildings have received the top designation for superior energy performance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the company announced. “We’re honored to earn the ENERGY STAR for superior energy performance. It is a testament to our outstanding staff who work tirelessly to reduce our energy footprint,” said Ronald Reppucci, Vice President of Real Estate and Support Services at Tufts Health Plan. “Saving energy is just one of the ways we show our community we care, as we do what we can to support the environment.”

This is the 12th consecutive year the office at 705 Mount Auburn Street has received the distinction, and the second year in a row the office at 64 Grove Street has received this distinction. Mount Auburn received a score of 91, while Grove received a 93.

Watertown Residents Can Request Trees to be Planted by the Town

The Watertown Tree Warden has trees that can be planted free in front of or in the near front yard of residential properties in town, but the deadline for signing up is coming up. The Tree Warden’s office sent out the following information:

If you are interested in a tree being planted in front of your home or on your own private property, within 20 feet of the back of the sidewalk, please send an email with your top 3 choices to the Tree Warden, Chris Hayward, by October 13, 2017 at

He will try to accommodate your choice selection but if any of your choices are not suitable for your location, he will advise a more suitable species from this list. If you had requested a tree in the spring but did not receive one at that time, your name and location was moved onto the list of recipients for the Fall of 2017. Small and Front Yard trees

(Name, height, spread)

Kwanzan cherry ‘Royal burgandy’ Prunus serrulata 15′ to 25′ 15′ to 25′

Shantung maple Acer truncatum “Shantung” 20′ to 25′ 15′ to 25′

Japanese Tree Lilac Syringa reticulata 20′ to 30′ 10′ to 15′

Snowgoose cherry Prunus “Snowgoose” 15′ to 20′ 15′ to 20′

Ornamental Crabapple Species varies 15′ to 25′ 15′ to 25′

Medium sized trees

Yoshino cherry Prunus yedoensis 20′ to 40′ 15′ to 30′

Sun valley maple Acer rubrum “Sun Valley” 20′ to 40′ 20′ to 30′

Large Shade Trees

Pin oak Quercus palustris 50′ to 70′ 30′ to 40′

Red oak Quercus rubra 75′ to 100′ 60′ to 75′

White oak Quercus alba 50′ to 80′ 50′ to 80′

Elm “Princeton” Ulmus spp. 50′ to 70′ 30′ to 50′

Ginko Ginko biloba 50′ to 80′ 35′ to 45′

October glory red maple Acer rubrum 40′ to 50′ 20′ to 35′

Red Sunset maple Acer rubrum 40′ to 50′ 20′ to 35′

Autumn blaze red maple Acer rubrum 40′ to 50′ 30′ to 40′

Redpointe maple Acer rubrum “Frank Jr” 35′ to 45′ 20′ to 30′

Black gum Nyssa sylvatica 40′ to 65′ 30′ to 40′

Free Reusable Shopping Bags Available at Watertown Library

The Watertown Bring Your Own Bag Ordinance went into effect on July 1, 2017, and the group that proposed the ordinance wants to remind residents that they can get a free reusable shopping bag. 

Free canvas shopping bags are still available for Watertown residents at the Watertown Public Library, 123 Main St., during regular library hours, according to ReThink Plastic. Ask for your bag at the Circulation Desk. You can also get paper door hangers to remind you to bring your shopping bags with you and educational brochures.

Teen Tree Stewards Care for Town’s Trees, Learn About More Than Just Nature

Half a dozen young nature enthusiasts have taken to the streets of Watertown this summer with a mission of caring for the town’s street trees and spreading the word about the importance of urban trees. 

The six teens are part in the Watertown Teen Tree Stewardship Program, which is sponsored by Trees for Watertown, a citizens group committed to protecting and promoting trees in town. Each day, the group has an activity. Sometimes it is looking around town for street trees that are in need of help, other times it is learning about trees and nature, and sometimes they are promoting their program, said David Meshoulam, founder and coordinator of the program. As Meshoulam drives the group around town, the former Newton North High School science teacher points out a “beautiful beech” or a tree that has not been properly planted. The teens have been keeping track of trees around town.

Paddle to Work and Raise Money for Charles River Watershed Association

On Friday, July 28, people will paddle the Charles River on their way to work to celebrate a healthy river and raise funds for Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA). People participating in Paddle to Work Day hosted by Charles River Canoe and Kayak will kayak from Soldier’s Field Road in Allston/Brighton 5 miles downstream to Kendall Square in Cambridge. Individuals who work in Kendall Square will have paddled to work, while others can take public transportation to their desired destinations. People can purchase tickets for the event at and may reserve a single or double kayak or sign up to bring their own boat. Charles River Canoe and Kayak will donate all ticket proceeds to Charles River Watershed Association to support its work protecting and restoring the Charles River.