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Waltham gets trio of environmental grants from state

By Ignacio Laguarda
Wicked Local Waltham
Posted Feb 18, 2011 @ 10:56 AM

Waltham —

The city of Waltham was awarded three grants from the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) on Wednesday, Feb. 16.

The grants include the construction of a dock on the Riverwalk, as well as the cleanup of invasive plant species in the Charles River and a flood mitigation study of the Beaver Brook Reservation.

The Charles River cleanup grant will be for $10,000 and will include work in Newton and Weston.

The DCR gave out a total of $1 million in matching fund to 32 projects around the state.

“Only 32 projects were awarded in the entire state and Waltham secured funds for three”, said state Senator Susan Fargo.  “The House and the Senate have worked with the DCR and city officials to push these worthwhile projects to the top of the list.”

Don Siriani, Fargo’s chief of staff, said that battling invasive plant life has been one of Fargo’s priorities.

“We were the first to ever offer legislation on it and promote it,” he said.

Nonnative plant species can have a devastating effect on the surroundings, killing other plants and taking over whole entire sections of the landscape.

Siriani used the example of Hardy’s Pond in Waltham to illustrate the point.

The pond once had a depth of 27 feet. Once invasive Eurasian milfoil started growing there, the depth plummeted to just seven feet.

Some of the work on the Charles River will include eliminating water chestnuts, which crowd out native species.

“They’re not the same kind of water chestnuts that you want in your Asian stir-fry,” said Siriani, jokingly.

The grant for the Beaver Brook Reservation flood mitigation study is for $25,000 and the Moody Street wooden deck project on the Riverwalk will get $44,667 from DCR.

Ignacio Laguarda can be reached at 781-398-8004 or ilaguarda@cnc.com

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