This summer, four Malden youth are working with me and a local landscape designer to develop a “stormwater and green infrastructure assessment” of Malden. The youth are hired through the City of Malden Summer Youth Employment program that also funded last summer’s youth who produced a documentary film about the Malden River. Look for blog updates here throughout the summer.
During the third week (July 18-22), the youth foccused on developing and testing stormwater surveys. They modeled their surveys after a stormwater neighborhood survey developed by the Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) and Chelsea Collaborative. We used the surveys to investigage stormwater conditions and opporutnities for improvements in several Malden neighborhoods. The youth also attended a water quality training in Chelsea with youth from Chelse and Cambridge, hosted by the Mystic River Watershed Association. Here is a sampling of the the youths' thoughts on the week gone by:
- "We went out to work on our surveys and it worked out great[...but] the weather [was] just too hot. Thanks God I didn’t melt."
- "This past week at Tri-CAP our group test ran our new and improved surveys. After two days of testing, we added more changes to the surveys for maximum efficiency."
- "We wrote it to only include information needed about how impervious the city has become, in an effort to gain the people of Malden’s interest in the river. We also included in the survey where the downspouts on the houses, apartment buildings, and industrial and commercial buildings go. It’s better if the downspouts go into a vegetated area where it can be soaked up by it, or into a rain barrel, but most downspouts go onto impervious land, such as driveways, stairs, and sidewalks, or even underground straight into the pipe which leads to the river."
- "We test ran the surveys on the Summer Street sub-watershed which ran all the way up to Las Casas Street. We noticed that there was a lot of sediment from the road filling up many of the catch basins. We then learned that there had been recent roadwork in the area that had been causing the sediment build-up. The excess sediment is not good for the road or for the catch basins. Because the catch basins are directly connected to the Malden River, the river water is being negatively impacted by it."
- "We checked out the neighborhood around Ferry Street, which emptied right into the Saugus Branch Brook right under the railroad tracks that aren’t in use, which are soon going to be altered into a nine-mile bike path![...] [T]here was a man cleaning off his paint brush with a hose, which created a monstrous puddle of white, infected water. It was saddening to see because, whether he was aware of it at the time or not, all of that water was going to end up in the river, polluting it just that much more."
- "Yesterday[...] we went to Chelsea & we met up with other youth from Cambridge & also Chelsea as well. We did water sampling experiment & it was pretty cool. Saw how you can add lots of different chemicals into the water [sample] when the water is clear & then you add 8 drops of something else & then VOILA it disappears & become all clean again! Cool Huh?" (The youth is describing a test for disolved oxygen in a water sample.)
- "We tested the water’s pH levels, we tested the water’s nitrate levels, and we tested the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water[...] The fact that it [Chelsea Creek] was seawater made it cleaner than it would have had it been fresh water because of the constant pulling of the tides. The tides tend to clean the water because it drags all of the pollutants away[.]"
- "As for the Malden River, it’s blocked off by the Amelia Earhart Dam, so the river just sits there. It’s interesting to compare the Malden River to other bodies of water in the Mystic River Watershed, but it’s kind of disappointing."
- "I enjoyed [our time] there & I look forward for next week’s boat trip[.]"
- "We are really trying to get people to want to help clean the river. We are not asking for much from anyone; we are coming up with ideas that be can be done from home."