For Immediate Release - October 10, 2012


$93 million project will address flooding and preserve historic landscape along the Emerald Necklace Park System

BOSTON – Wednesday, October 10, 2012 – Governor Deval Patrick today broke ground on Phase 1 of the $93 million Muddy River Restoration Project. The restoration project is a comprehensive urban environmental, historic landscape preservation and flood control project being undertaken by the Army Corps of Engineers, in partnership with the Commonwealth, the city of Boston and the town of Brookline to address serious flooding and environmental issues along and adjacent to the Muddy River within the Emerald Necklace Park System. Governor Patrick was joined by U.S. Congressman Michael E. Capuano, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan and Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Commissioner Ed Lambert.

"The power of grassroots advocacy and civic engagement are the forces that leave our Commonwealth better and stronger for the next generation," said Governor Patrick. "I thank the neighbors, community groups and park users who added their voices and determination to this cause. Because of your work, today we celebrate this project becoming a reality." 

The project arose in response to several severe rainstorms that caused significant flooding in areas along and adjacent to the Muddy River and several tributary areas. In 1996, flooding shut down the MBTA’s green line for a week and caused close to $60 million in damages.

“I am very pleased to participate in the groundbreaking ceremony for the Muddy River Restoration Project,” said Congressman Capuano. “We celebrate today more than a decade of citizen commitment to reduce the risk of flooding, to restore habitat, and to reclaim a link in Olmstead’s Emerald Necklace.  We are grateful for the cooperation of the Army Corps of Engineers.”

“The Muddy River Project will benefit so many people in the community, and it was made possible thanks to a strong partnership and collaboration among state, local, and federal government, environmental agencies and civic groups,” said Mayor Menino. “This project continues the legacy of Frederick Law Olmstead by improving the vitality of the urban park system, and it will provide an amazing resource to the community.”

"The overall project objectives are to reduce flood risk and enhance aquatic/riparian habitat within the Muddy River through improvements to restrictive drainage culverts, dredging accumulated sediment, removing nuisance vegetation, improving fisheries/wildlife habitat, bank stabilization and promoting and enhancing the recreational use of Emerald Necklace parklands," said District Engineer Col. Charles Samaris, commander of the Corps' New England District.

The project will include the dredging of the river from Wards Pond to the Charles River Basin, constructing an open channel waterway, also known as day-lighting, at two sections of the river, installing larger culverts, removal of sediment to restore aquatic habitat to the river and ponds, restoration of the historic park shoreline natural plantings and implementing best management practices within the Muddy River watershed. 

“The project is another example of how we work with cities, towns, private partners and residents to protect and preserve significant open space, manage public forests, provide technical and funding assistance to protect lakes, ponds and other waterways, create greenways and recreational trails,” said Secretary Sullivan.

“This project truly exemplifies what can be accomplished when federal, state, and local agencies come together,” said DCR Commissioner Ed Lambert. “We’re all here to ensure the safety of Commonwealth citizens and to maintain the magnificence of the Muddy River and surrounding areas.”

Phase 1 will involve day-lighting of the river between the Riverway and Avenue Louis Pasteur by removing two 72-inch culverts, the installation of two 24-foot x 10-foot precast concrete culverts under the Riverway and Boylston Street, vehicular traffic and pedestrian improvements and significant landscape improvements to new and existing sections of the river channel. The area for the Phase 1 project will include Upper Fens Pond, Boylston Street between Park Drive and the Fenway, the open space in front of the Landmark Center (the former Sears Parking Lot) and the adjacent roadways.

The cost of Phase 1 is $31 million. The Army Corps of Engineers will fund 65 percent of project costs. The Commonwealth has provided approximately $11 million to the Corps of Engineers, representing 100 percent of the non-federal share of funding for Phase 1. The Corps will manage the project.  


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