Public Can Comment on Proposed Removal of Contaminated Soil from Arsenal on the Charles

The oval with blue stripes is the location of the contaminated soil at the east end of Building 311 in the Arsenal on the Charles. The U.S. Army has come up with a plan to remove contaminated soil from the former military site, which is now the Arsenal on the Charles. The public can submit comment on the proposed plan until April 14, 2021. The area where the contaminated soil is located is by 311 building on the Arsenal on the Charles site. Building 311, the long building along Arsenal Street, is home to Athenahealth, and used to be home to Boston Sports Club.

Resolution to Declare a Climate Emergency to be Examined by 2 Council Subcommittees

The Town Council postponed a vote on a resolution that would declare a climate emergency, instead sending it to a pair of subcommittees to study it more closely and come back with a revised version. At Tuesday’s meeting, Councilors said that they supported taking action against climate change, but members of the Council said they did not believe enough discussion had been allowed on the resolution. Some pointed to the fact that it would change the Town’s deadline for eliminating greenhouse gas emissions in Watertown from 2050 to 2035. “This is a difficult decision for me because I believe climate change represents a real and dangerous threat to life on our planet and it is an emergency we must address,” said Council Vice President Vincent Piccirilli. “However, this resolution was placed on agenda for vote with a lack of transparency, and circumventing our commitment for engagement on matters of great importance.

Watertown Groups Hosting Online Event on How Trees Can Help Manage Climate Change

Find out about how urban trees can help manage climate change in Watertown at an event hosted by the Watertown Environment and Energy Efficiency Committee and Trees for Watertown. Organizers sent out the following announcement:

March 20 Symposium:  Trees & Climate Change in Watertown

The trees in our neighborhoods are vitally important players in protecting us from increasing urban impacts of climate change.  Join your Watertown neighbors on Saturday, March 20, 10am to noon, to learn how our city trees protect us and how we can help them do that important job.  

Register for the free symposium at this link:  http://bit.ly/WatertownTrees2021 — or search YouTube for “T&CCWatertown” to watch the livestream on YouTube.

WHS Students Looking to Plant 150 Trees in Watertown, Selling Seedlings

Two types of trees are available from the Watertown High School Environmental Club, the River Birch and Eastern Redbud. The following announcement was provided by the Watertown High School Environmental Club:

The Watertown High School Environmental Club needs your help to offset school paper usage in the community! During a normal school year, WHS uses up to 1.2 million sheets of paper, which is equivalent to 150 trees. The club has teamed up with Tree-Plenish to sponsor an event in which you can purchase a sapling for $5, and opt to have volunteers plant it in your yard. Tree-Plenish’s mission is to create more sustainable schools by replenishing the environment with these lost resources. 

“As a member of the WHS Environmental Club, I am very proud to be working with Tree-Plenish to help our community,” said Cooper Petrie.

LETTER: Say No to CleanChoice, but Yes to Green Electricity

CleanChoice Energy has been sending mailings to Watertown residents. The Town of Watertown also offers a clean energy option. Editor:

Maybe you were tempted by a mailing you got from CleanChoice Energy offering you 100% renewable electricity.  If so, you might want to look closer at local options. The CleanChoice Energy solicitation was for 12.40 cents per kilo watt hour but that rate will vary monthly.  If you look at their website, they are offering twelve month plans for 14 cents/kwh and 16.8 cents/kwh. Compare this to what you get by opting up on our local town sponsored Watertown Electricity Choice. You may already be getting your electricity through the Watertown Electricity Choice Standard plan where 55% of the electricity delivered to you is green. If you haven’t already done so, you can get 100% green energy through WEC for 12.718 cents per kwh. Unlike CleanChoice Energy, rates under WEC are guaranteed through Dec.

Charles River Group Discussing How Towns are Preparing for Extreme Weather

The Watertown Dam on the Charles River. The Charles River Watershed Association and Communities Responding to Extreme Weather will host a virtual event focused on building resilience across the Charles River Watershed. The groups included the following description:

Adapting to the impacts of climate change is a daunting task but many local cities and towns are facing this challenge head on. Having the best possible information on the impacts of climate change locally can help guide effective local investment and appropriate regulatory changes. The fifteen communities that are part of the Charles River Climate Compact (CRCC) have teamed up to develop a Charles River watershed flood model.

LETTER: Are More Artificial Turf Fields a Win for Watertown and the Planet?

The following letter is in response to the Town Council’s recent approval of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Town of Watertown and Buckingham Browne & Nichols School to share share fields — the new artificial turf fields planned by the school on Grove Street and the fields at Filippello Park. Dear Watertown,

For more than a decade, the artificial turf industry’s campaign to convincemunicipalities, private schools, colleges and universities to build new artificial turf playing fields and to replace existing grass playing fields with artificial turf has grown steadily and has been highly successful. What has also grown is public opposition to this high powered, highly profitable, and often dishonest campaign. The industry’s claim that artificial turf has been proven to be safe for student athletes and for the general public is untrue. When public input is kept out of the decision-making process, the industry almost always wins.