LandWaterConnection.org - Scituate Reservoir Watershed Education Program

LandWaterConnection.org - Scituate Reservoir Watershed Education Program

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SCITUATE RESERVOIR WATERSHED FOREST
Long-Term Restoration Project
Next to Route 6/116 Intersection

April 2013 -- Over the coming months, Scituate residents and those driving along Routes 6 or 116 will be likely to notice some changes on the Providence Water property at the intersection of these two busy public roads. These activities will be taking place on the land at the southwest corner of the intersection, just across Route 116 from the Famous Pizza restaurant. Located in between the intersection and the Regulating Reservoir, this patch of forest has a number of problematic issues that have built up over the years and now require attention.

A multi-stage restoration and landscaping plan is being developed for the site. It will take a number of years to see all the results on the ground. Necessary tree cutting and excavation will have an impact on aesthetics in the short term, but the long term plan is to improve the health, function, and appearance of the forest buffer and streams flowing into the public water supply.

The wooded area adjacent to the intersection is dominated by red pine trees that were planted by City employees in the 1930s. Many of these red pine trees are now dead or dying and have become hazard trees because they are located next to a busy public highway. As first step of the project, an experienced local contractor is cutting and removing these trees.

The next step will be the construction of three new drainage installations at the edge of the roadside. The features that have been selected employ design principles known as "green infrastructure." By imitating natural processes, these structures will prevent or minimize the chemicals and nutrients in stormwater runoff from roads, parking lots, roofs, and other hard surfaces from flowing into the Regulating Reservoir. Providence Water and other utilities have long promoted measures to reduce stormwater runoff, while new federal laws are requiring local governments to follow these best management practices.

Following the construction work, invasive plants that have overrun the forest understory must be controlled to allow new vegetation to succeed. Invasive plants are species that come from other parts of the world and cause problems when they get established in a new ecosystem. They grow fast, reproduce quickly, outcompete native plants, and can come to dominate the landscape. The most prolific species on this site is a fast-growing vine called Oriental bittersweet. Control techniques include mechanical cutting and safe use of small amounts of approved herbicides.

The final step will be to landscape the site with consideration of improved visual aesthetics. This effort will include planting native trees such as sugar maples and highlighting the historic building foundation near the intersection.

The public watershed lands near the Scituate Reservoir are closed to unauthorized access for security reasons. A public field tour of the site will be led by Providence Water staff at a future date when more advanced stages of the work are in progress. Like other public outreach events, this tour will be advertised in local media and on the watershed pages of the Providence Water website:

May 2014 Update
Restoration work at the Route 6/116 Junction is well underway! As part of its work on the Rhode Island Woods to Water Partnership, Providence Water has installed a one acre deer exclosure at the site. Funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and The Forest Guild allowed high school students from both Scituate High School and Providence's Trinity Academy of the Performing Arts to travel to the site and assist professional foresters with the planting of 42 large trees and approximately 150 seedlings in the area. Further restoration activities are planned for future years, so please stay tuned!

For more information, please contact:

 

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Scituate Reservoir Watershed Education Program -- Funded by Providence Water Supply Board
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