LETTER: Pending Legislation Would Help Keep Watertown Green and Livable

Elizabeth ShawThis mature Watertown maple tree straddling a property line illustrates the issue addressed by House Bill 1849. By James Briand, Trees for Watertown

Watertown residents already feel the impact of climate change in warmer average temperature and stronger storms. Managing such change in the midst of rapid development requires an up to date and flexible regulatory framework. Three pending pieces of Massachusetts state legislation aim to address that need, by preserving mature trees that mitigate the impact of climate change today and by adding to the tree canopy to prepare Massachusetts for the future. The first bill, An Act To Update the Shade Tree Law (House Bill 2195), will update a 19th century law designed to protect trees bordering public roadways. Progressive in its day, the legislation became less effective as fines and obligations failed to keep pace with inflation and changing lifestyles.

LETTER: Three Pests Threaten Watertown Trees

Cornell ExtensionPhoto of a Pear Leaf with Rust. By James Briand of Trees for Watertown

Watertown’s trees face three distinct invasive pest challenges this year. One, Pear Trellis Rust, is a fungus that has been significantly disfiguring the town’s ornamental pear trees. Another, Emerald Ash Borer, is a small beetle that causes the rapid death of ash trees. The third, Spotted Lantern Fly, is an emerging survival threat to a variety of trees, especially fruit trees.

See Gardens in Watertown That Support Bees & Other Pollinators During Tour on Sept. 12

The Watertown Life-Friendly Garden Tour will take place on Sept. 12, 2021. Pictured is a bicolored striped sweat bee on aster. The following announcement was provided by Watertown Friends of the Bees:

You’ve probably heard the phrase “save the bees,” but the bees who need the most help may not be the bees you think of first. In addition to the fuzzy bumblebees we know and love, and the honeybees that give us honey there are many types of native bees you may not have noticed.

Public Invited to Give Input on Watertown Climate & Energy Plan

The Resilient Watertown Stakeholder Advisory Group Holding sent out the following announcement about its second meeting on the Watertown Climate and Energy Plan Update. The Resilient Watertown Stakeholder Advisory Group (RWSAG) Meeting #2 will be held on Tuesday, July 27th from 6-8pm (remote meeting). 

The meeting will be open for viewing by the public on Watertown Cable Access https://wcatv.org/. The public may email questions and comments to Resilient Watertown: resilient@watertown-ma.gov. 

The focus of this meeting will be for RWSAG members to refine the proposed actions developed by working groups and collected through the first public input survey. Participants will dive deep in breakout group discussions to understand how these actions can become a reality for Watertown. The meeting will be live-streamed for public viewing and recordings of the breakout group discussions will be posted following the meeting.

LETTER: Invasive Plant Spreading in Watertown, Poisonous to to Some Animals

The blooms of the black swallow-wort. The plant is poisonous to butterflies and other animals. By Nicole Gardner and Douglas Hood

Black swallow-wort is a non-native, highly invasive plant that is poisonous to butterfly populations and other animals, and which toxifies the soil to benefit itself and harm other plants. We need to act right now to stop its spread and protect the Monarchs, other animals, and other plants. Black swallow-wort can be found all around Watertown, sprouting up through and even strangling lush well-established perennials and shrubs, along chain-link fences, in empty patches of dirt, or coming up between pavement cracks.

Learn About Pollinators and Native Plants at the May Watertown Citizens Meeting

The following announcement was provided by Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice & the Environment:

Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice and the Environment’s May Monthly Meeting will be about Mystic Charles Pollinator Pathways

The meeting will be held May 19, 2021 7:00 PM on Zoom. Learn why our pollinators need native plants at our Monthly Meeting. Our May monthly meeting will feature Jean Devine and Brucie Moulton of Mystic Charles Pollinator Pathways. MCPP is a volunteer coalition of gardeners and native plant enthusiasts that have come together to promote and create more pollinator habitats in our region – the Mystic & Metrowest Charles River Watersheds in Massachusetts. They will talk about the importance of native plants and putting your garden on the pollinator map.