Annual Report for 2014
2014 was a busy
year for the Arlington Reservoir Committee. The Wildlife Habitat Garden had its
fourth growing season. Some plants such as the grasses did very well and needed
thinning, while a few bare spots needed some more plantings. We had a number of
workdays and help from many volunteers at those events and on their own. We
added a new kiosk to the garden area to provide more information about the
plants and animals in the garden.
The garden is for our entire community. We
welcome schools, recreational groups, and others to participate in its growth.
We also expanded our activities
to the “island” in the parking lot which we cleared of invasive species last
year and planted, or transplanted, a number of new shrubs and wildflowers this
year. A major project with the help of many volunteers from a local Mormon
congregation, was the cutting back of the invasive Japanese Knotweed along the
path from the parking lot to the garden. Now the area is much more open and
inviting. The next project we are exploring is the wooded area along Lowell
Street next to LexFarm which is currently overrun with many invasives.
harvesting continued this summer under the management of DPW. In future years,
the volume should be less because the harvesting removes the seeds that produce
new plants. This work was funded by the Arlington Water Bodies Fund, as approved
by Town Meeting. In addition we sponsored a hand harvesting event to clean up
along the edges near the southern end near the habitat garden which we hope to
expand in future years.
In addition to volunteer efforts we can also use funds for new plant materials
and the like. If you are so inclined tax-free contributions can be made to
our work through the Arlington Land Trust at
http://arlingtonlandtrust.org/ or P.O. Box 492, Arlington MA 02476.
Thank you all for
New Reservoir Map and Guide
kindergarten class of the New Covenant School (NCS) has produced a new map and guide
to the Arlington Reservoir which is available here.
Reservoir Committee Meetings
We have scheduled the fourth Tuesday of each month as the regular day for our
meetings. They will be held at 7:30 pm in the first floor conference room
of the Town Hall Annex (rear section of the Town Hall). The upcoming dates are
given below but check in advance as some meetings may be cancelled:
To be determined.
Saturday October 12, 2013 we had a crack team of volunteers plant three witch hazel
trees along the path from the Wildlife Habitat Garden. We were surprised
how hard and poor the soil was but managed to get the job done. What
actually took the most time was waiting for the water to drain from the holes we
had dug (see above).
Arlington Vision 2020
Reservoir committee is part of the Environmental Task Group of Arlington's
Vision 2020. More information about V2020 and copies of meeting minutes
can be found at the Town website:
Frequently Asked Questions
Non-motorized boating is permitted on all of the town's water bodies.
Canoes/Kayaks are allowed on the Res. There's even a "put in" point just
past the vehicle gate as you head toward the new spillway bridge from the Lowell
The parking lots off Lowell Street are available
year around. Another access point is from Hurd Field lot (behind Trader Joes) and
then a short walk across the
field to the Res.
Swimming is permitted at the Res Beach area during open hours in the Summer.
Issues and Background
The 65 acre Reservoir area (the 'Res') in northwest Arlington
Massachusetts on the border with Lexington contains the second largest body of water in the town (28 acres). It
is a man-made pond originally constructed in 1871 by damming Munroe Brook
that flows from Lexington. The dam is an earthen embankment along
the southern edge of the Reservoir some 600 yards long and as high as 14
feet (although the water level is much lower). The Reservoir discharges
into Mill Brook that flows through Arlington and empties into the Lower
Mystic Lake which then feeds the Mystic River. The Res was used as
a town water supply until Arlington joined the Metropolitan Water District
For years the Reservoir served as a popular summer
swimming hole until the water quality started to deteriorate. In 1981 a separate
swimming area was constructed along the northern side of the Reservoir
with filtered water and a sandy beach. The Reservoir is also a popular
walking and bird watching spot the year round. In 2006 an emergency
spillway was added and the earthen berm reinforced with metal sheeting and
concrete. See Dam Project Handout
There are several pending issues with the Reservoir:
Reservoir is heavily infested with water chestnuts that are choking out all
other growth and degrading the habitat for birds and fish.
In recent years, through manually and machine harvesting efforts the
number of weeds has been reduced, and it is hoped that they will be eliminated
results of a town wide survey indicate resident concerns about safety,
recreational improvements needed and wildlife habitat maintenance.
Brook, which is partially fed from the Reservoir, is often flooded in heavy