Volunteers along Spy Pond. / Joan Entwhistle photoVolunteers along Spy Pond. / Joan Entwistle photo

Anyone who now visits the bike path between Spy Pond and Route 2 will notice something new – fresh plantings encircled by protective mesh cages along the slope leading down to the water.

On Saturday, May 11, the 15th annual Spy Pond Trails Day, 40 enthusiastic volunteers introduced several new native plants, which will help restore the ecosystem, prevent erosion and foster bird and wildlife habitats.  

Each mesh cage contains a dogwood shrub, Christmas fern and partridgeberry. The protective mesh keeps the young plants safe from trampling and nibbling by deer and other critters. Dogwood shrubs grow quickly, bushing out and strengthening the slope so that the cages can be removed within a year or two. 

In total, 46 dogwoods and eight arbor vitae made it into the ground. 

Environmental improvements 

Arlington’s Spy Pond Committee, in conjunction with the Appalachian Mountain Club’s (AMC) Boston Chapter Conservation committee, spent the winter hatching a plan to control erosion and improve public safety on the path enjoyed by joggers, dog walkers, birders and cyclists. Project funding was generously provided by MassDOT, the Town of Arlington, the Arlington Land Trust and the AMC.  

This project is a perfect example of how a small group of motivated volunteers can work with local nonprofits and government to get big results.

                                                                           -- Stroker Rogovin, longtime Arlington volunteer and AMC member

“This project is a perfect example of how a small group of motivated volunteers can work with local nonprofits and government to get big results,” notes longtime Arlington volunteer and AMC member Stroker Rogovin. “We had huge support from all our sponsors. Everybody understands that helping neighbors help themselves is a great way to stretch limited public resources. Everybody wins."

For more than a decade, the AMC’s Conservation and Trails Committee has been instrumental in removing invasive plant species and installing steps that allow fishermen to access the pond without trampling fragile vegetation.  

“Now that plantings have been introduced to reduce erosion and promote natural habitat, this program serves as a template for communities wishing to leverage citizen action to combat urbanization of protected natural environments,” said Joan Entwistle, AMC's Boston Conservation Committee chair. “With input from master gardeners, naturalists and wetland specialists, this project has a unique grass-roots approach to navigating the hurdles that often hamper positive change.”

The Spy Pond Committee’s future plans include additional plantings along the shoreline, nursing the first round of plantings and restoring native plants that existed before the disruption caused by Route 2 construction in the 1960s. 

The committee, a volunteer advisory body, is committed to restoring and maintaining the health of Spy Pond and other Arlington water bodies. 

Anyone interested in further information and/or lending a hand can visit www.arlingtonma.gov/spypond, or contact Rogovin at 781-641-2506. 

April 19, 2019: Construction for Spy Pond erosion-control project underway

This news announcement was published Monday, May 20, 2019.