Monday, July 19, 2010

Manchester’s Clarke Pond Targeted for Restoration

By Kate Kirby
Gordon College News Service
July 17, 2010
(This story appeared July 27, 2010, in The Gloucester Times online and print version.)

When locals noticed flooding by Clarke Pond, conservation ecologists devised a plan to preserve the compromised salt marsh. Located on the Coolidge Reservation in Manchester-by-the-Sea, the 12-acre coastal salt pond is projected to undergo renovation this September. The alterations, though minor, will help restore the ecosystem and enhance local recreation, say local authorities.

To reduce the flooding, The Trustees of Reservations, a Massachusetts based land conservation organization, in conjunction with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Restoration Center and the Mass. Department of Fish and Game, have developed a project that will improve hydrologic capacity. 

To increase the hydrologic capacity and reduce flooding, the group has plans to install a larger pedestrian bridge that will nearly double the width of the channel connecting the upper and lower sections of the pond. The replacement of the current granite culvert will improve tidal flow and improve crossing conditions for those who utilize the trails for recreational purposes.

“Our goal is to improve tidal connectivity which will facilitate the outflow of storm water,” said Franz Ingelfinger, restoration ecologist for the Division of Ecological Restoration at the Mass. Department of Fish & Game. “Increased tidal exchange will improve the turnover of water which will improve the water quality.”

Recognizing that the pond was restricted from tide flow, Ingelfinger, who worked for the Trustees of Reservations at the time, said he initiated the project to enhance the ecology of the pond, which is home to a diversity of flora and fauna. He said the ecosystem services that the watershed provides include: water filtration, nursery grounds that support commercial and recreational fishing, and important foraging and resting areas for breeding herons and egrets, as well as a number of migratory shorebirds.

“A number of similar projects have been conducted throughout the gulf of Maine,” said Eric Hutchins, Restoration Coordinator for the NOAA Restoration Center in Gloucester, and partner in the project. “Culvert replacement projects have been implemented in Essex, Newbury, Rockport, Gloucester, and many others are planned throughout the region.”

Friday, July 2, 2010

Salem Community Groups Plan Fundraisers to Save St. Mary’s Italian Church

By Kate Kirby
Gordon College News Service
July 2, 2010
(This story appeared in the Boston Globe, Salem Regional Edition on July 7, 2010.)

When The Salem Mission decided in 2009 to turn the historic St. Mary’s Italian Church into an apartment building, a crusade of angry neighbors and local artists banded together to halt the conversion.

Since then, many things have changed: The Salem Mission, now called Lifebridge, put the church up for sale until August 30 at $570,000, and that group of neighbors and artists formed a team of preservationists in hopes of rejuvenating the space, saving the art and opening the building to the public as a multipurpose center.

In an effort to raise both awareness and funds, the collaborative group now known as Salem Community Arts Center Organization (SCAC) will host an event they’re calling “Get-Together” on Thursday, July 8, at the Christopher Columbus Society Hall on 24 Endicott Street in Salem, MA. “Get-Together” will start at 5:30 p.m. and will include a dinner buffet for $20.00 per person, accompanied by a short film about St. Mary’s made by Joe Cultrera, a local filmmaker and lead spokesperson for the SCAC.

“The enthusiasm of this growing group is pretty encouraging,” said Cultrera. “There always was a strong contingent within the Italian neighborhood to preserve the church, but it’s heartening to see so many different people and groups catching a vision for what an arts center could bring to Salem and the North Shore.”