Boston Harbor Islands Partnership Meetings

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DCR ranger kneeling next to girl, both looking at flowers

Boston Harbor Now

 

2021 Meeting Notes

September 21, 2021

Meeting Minutes

Virtual

Time: 3:00-4:30 pm

Attendance

Jack Murray, Boston Harbor Now
Cathy Stone, Boston Harbor Now
Arthur Pearson, Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center
Michael Creasey, National Park Service
Marc Albert, National Park Service
Susan Kane, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
Priscilla Geigis, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
Carolyn Fiore, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
Jim Montgomery, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
Fred Laskey, MA Water Resources Authority
Nick Black, The Trustees of the Reservation
Chris Busch, Boston Planning and Development Agency
Richard McGuinness, Boston Planning and Development Agency
Conor LeBlanc, MassPort Authority
Andrew Hargens, MassPort
Rob Moir, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council*
Elizabeth Solomon, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council*
Maureen Cavanaugh, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council*

*Representing individual opinions only during period of advisory council suspension.

Call to Order and Introductions

Chairman Laskey called meeting to order at 3:01 pm.

Approval of minutes from July 20th, Michael Creasey moved it and Priscilla Geigis seconded. Partnership voted unanimously. Meetings minutes were approved as written and distributed.

Chairman Laskey discussed the Boston Harbor Now Spectacle on Spectacle and the presentation of the award for the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership. He thanked everyone’s hard work and that one won’t find a harder working, more intelligent, dedicated group of people than the people who make this Partnership work. He also mentioned the importance of reinstating the advisory council when he spoke with the Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland. He also noted it was nice to have Secretary Haaland and MA Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Kathleen Theoharides seated together.

Michael Creasey mentioned that Secretary Haaland spoke highly of the Partnership and the importance of protecting public lands. He also commended Boston Harbor Now for all their hard work putting together that event.

Presentations

Anniversary Updates, Conor LeBlanc, MassPort; Carolyn Fiore, MWRA; Liza Stearns, NPS

Cathie Barner introduced the three leads of the strategic teams.  

  • Communications Team, Conor LeBlanc
    • Putting together a communications plan and planning public outreach aspects
    • Brought on Proverb, a Boston-based communications consultant who has worked on the City of Boston’s All Inclusive Boston campaign to help.
    • Developing campaign messaging
    • Will have robust public outreach campaign in the spring and summer to kick off the new ferry season.
    • Finalized an anniversary logo for the anniversary year.
    • Working group within this team recently produced a video which was premiered at the BHN Spectacle on Spectacle event.
  • Community Engagement Team, Carolyn Fiore
    • Working in collaboration with the Programming Team.
    • Red Bridge has brought on Derek Lumpkins from Re|Fresh Strategies to develop a framework for a strategy for engaging with communities that are not frequently represented on the Islands. Derek is from Boston and has expertise in similar outreach and engagement programs.
    • Derek noted that he is in the assessment phase of the work. He has been reviewing documents, spreadsheets, and reports provided by various committees. He has also been reviewing Partners’ websites and social media. He attended the Spectacle on Spectacle to see who attends and what the experience going to the Islands entail. He has met with the different subcommittees and ask a variety of questions. From the assessment he will put together the framework.
  • Programming Team, Liza Stearns
    • Developing a community curated programming initiative through a microgranting program. The call for proposals will go out in October, with a deadline of January. We will then micro-support up to 10 community groups to bring their networks to the Harbor Islands to engage in new ways we may not be doing with new audiences. These community curated programming opportunities will give us a chance to learn about communities out there what might be interested in animating and activating their public lands in new ways.
    • Looking at the long menu of robust programs to identify five or so Harbor-Wide series of programs. Wanted to stay away from one-off programs that would be a signature event, instead focus on a series of programs. For example, it might be a camping series, family friendly series of programs, or a fishing series across the harbor that activates and pushes up to that signature level program. It is a way for all Partners to step into the circle to shine and showcase the Harbor Islands as a robust network of public lands available to the public.

Gallops Island Update, Jim Montgomery, MA Dept. of Conservation & Recreation

(slides displayed)

  • Fred Laskey introduced DCR Commissioner, Jim Montgomery.
  • Historical Perspective:
    • Native American use (pre-colonization): Native Americans used the island as a base for fishing, summer activities, and interred ancestors on the island.  They were the first stewards of the islands and their stewardship continues today.
    • Quarantine station, infirmary, and cemetery: Gallops Island was used during the colonial era through the early twentieth century as a quarantine station for arriving travelers before entering Boston.  Travelers who arrived ill and died before entering the US were buried on the island in a cemetery.
    • Military use: Civil War, WWI and WWII: Starting in the 1920s Gallops Island was developed by the US Army for various uses including research laboratory, communications facility, among other purposes.  Following World War II, Army buildings were burned and demolished on site.
    • Demolition of buildings (late 1940s)
    • In 2000 Gallops Island was closed due to asbestos containing materials (ACM) appearing in surface soils and beach areas resulting from former US Army activities and demolition debris remaining on site.
  • Gallops Island Quarantine Cemetery:
    • The Quarantine Cemetery is the final resting place of over 200 people who perished at hospitals on the island between the 1860s and early 20th century.
    • 2012's Hurricane Sandy demonstrated the risk of erosion adjacent to cemetery, shearing away the protective coastal bank and risking exposure of human remains.
    • DCR's 2018-2019 Archaeological Burial Recovery and Site Stabilization Project disinterred, documented, and relocated the human remains and personal effects of 57 people. Work was funded through a $525,000 federal grant from Hurricane Sandy recovery.
    • DCR remains under the Order of Conditions issued by the Boston Conservation Commission on 9/6/2018 and extended to 2022 due to COVID. DCR intends to request an extension to allow for design and installation of native plantings on the coastal bank as required under the OOC.
    • Over 100 burials remain on the island.
  • Summary of Soil Conditions:
    • The Commissioner shared a map of soil conditions on Gallops Island.
    • Asbestos building materials that remained after building demolition were left on the island and became exposed over time. Asbestos materials were discovered on island trails and on the beaches which triggered closure of the island until clean-up of the asbestos material could be accomplished.
    • Yellow areas show asbestos buried in surface soil up to 6 inches.
    • Blue areas show asbestos buried up to 3 feet.
  • Summary of Remedial Approach:
    • The Commissioner shared a map of the remediation taking place on Gallops Island.
    • Hundreds of soil samples were taken across the island to locate contamination hot spots.  Based on the sampling efforts, areas with asbestos or other contaminants like lead were delineated as shown on the map above.  Soil from the areas delineated will be excavated and consolidated into two accumulation areas and capped with clean soil from the island.  Capped areas will be replanted with native vegetation as well as other disturbed areas.
    • Consolidate contaminated soil on island, cap consolidation areas.
    • Restore pier and trails.
    • Restore native vegetation and monitor conditions.
  • Summary of Remedial Activities:
    • Estimated 18-24 month construction timeframe, two full construction seasons.
    • Two on-island soil consolidation areas: asbestos (upland) and lead-impacted soil (buffer zone)
    • Construction Sequence:
      • Remove Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) from shoreline areas and surface areas.
      • Consolidate ACM in central portion of the island.
      • Consolidate Lead-impacted soils in Solid Waste Reclamation Area.
      • Place geotextile fabric and 2-2.5’ of clean soil over consolidated materials as “cap”.
      • Restore surface conditions in shoreline areas.
      • Restore surface conditions in upland areas.
      • Install new plantings and path network.
    • Post-Construction:
      • Monitor growth and establishment of restoration plantings.
      • Monitor shoreline areas.
      • Evaluate conditions for re-opening of island to public for passive recreational use.
    • Project Cost Estimate
      • Design & permitting to date (DCR): $550,000
      • Additional funds needed to proceed:
        • Remediation/Restoration: $5,700,000
        • Pier deck repairs: $500,000
        • On island improvements: $10,000,000
          • On island improvements will enable accessibility to the dock and pier, trail accessibility, and include provisions for comfort station.
          • Funding sources for the remediation / restoration and on-island improvements are not identified.
        • Estimated Timeline:
          • Winter 2021 – Permitting approvals.
          • Winter 2022 – Procurement of construction contract.
          • 2022-2024 – Remedial construction and restoration is expected to require two full “construction seasons”.
            • Island work will be limited to spring/summer/fall; no winter work due to harbor icing, dust control challenges, etc.
          • 2024-2026 – Post remediation & restoration monitoring.
          • In 2021 DCR is pursuing the necessary permits to proceed with bidding and contracting for the work, but at present DCR has not identified funding to proceed with the estimated timeline shown and cannot bid the contract until project funding is secured.
        • Next Steps
          • Permitting (ACE, MADEP, Boston WPA)
          • Identify Funding
          • Remediation & Restoration, Monitoring
          • Historic Interpretation & Passive Recreation
      • Those who would like a copy of the presentation are welcome to reach out to DCR.
Question and Answers

(Q) Suzanne Gall Marsh asked would the contaminated soil be buried on island or removed from the island?

(A) Jim Montgomery said that it will be buried on the island. The plan is to consolidate soils into two areas and then cover with fabric and then two to two and half feet of clean soil over. And then monitor that site long-term.

(Q) Suzanne Gall Marsh then asked what $10 million dollars for Island improvement will go to given that the pier deck is a separate budget item?

(A) Jim noted the enhancements would go to trail network, historic signage, etc. He said the estimate was on the high end as these plans are 4+ years down the road, so prices will likely go up.

(A) Susan Kane added that money could also be used to address the beautiful gazebo at the end of the pier. And that there is probably more that could be done to welcome people to the island. There was talks about stabilizing some of the ruins that are still out there. Lastly money needs to address the comfort station.

(Q) Suzanne Gall Marsh mentioned how Kathy Abbott and her both worked out on Gallops Island back in 1979. She also hoped the budget would include water transportation. It is one thing to clean up the island, but how do people get there? She suggested putting a place holder in DCR budget for long range interisland water shuttle plans.

Anniversary Discussion Part 1: Looking Back, Cathie Barner & Alicia Leuba, Red Bridge Group

  • Anniversary Goals
    • Increase awareness and advocacy for Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park.
    • Celebrate success: looking back to move forward. 
    • Enhance community engagement in all the park has to offer.
    • Update strategic vision for next 25 years.
  • Intent of Partnership
    • Coordinate the activities of Federal, State and local authorities and the private sector in development and implementation of the GMP.
    • Agency managers and property owners work through the Partnership to maintain consistency parkwide and create programs.
    • Partnership committees have served as coordinators of parkwide functions and information forums.
  • Partnership Work
    • The Partnership’s success has been realized through collaboration and the power of place.
    • Cleaning up one of America’s most polluted harbors.
    • Building a water transportation system that serves park visitors and commuters.
    • Launching a 21st century park-making campaign.
    • Providing hundreds of thousands of visitors with awesome experiences on land and sea.
  • Partnership Success
    • The Boston Harbor Islands Partnership is the keeper of a shared vision, where “collective action” is making the difference in how the islands and urban gateways are thoughtfully developed, how experiences at these special places are offered, and how the natural and cultural resources are being preserved for future generations.
  • Levels of Investment
    • Cathie Barner shared a map that represented the major accomplishments by the Partnership in the first 20 years, with over $200 million dollars of programs and improvements throughout the park.
      • Estimated total: $235 million ($42 million Federal (NPS/USCG); $97 million Local Government Agencies (DCR, MassPort, MWRA, City of Boston); $96 million Private (BHN, TIBEC, TTOR)).
    • Capital Improvements
      • Boston Light restoration
      • Georges Island Welcome Center
      • Boston Harbor Islands Welcome Center
      • Spectacle Island transformation
      • Harbor clean-up
    • Youth and Visitor Engagement
      • Engage youth in their public lands
      • Partner with the Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA, and New England Aquarium
      • Provide 25,000 free trips each year
      • Offer full calendar of free public programs
    • Resource Stewardship and Science
      • Conduct stewardship volunteer programs
      • Monitor coastal breeding birds, salt marsh vegetation, and other natural resources
      • Restore salt marshes
      • Conduct scientific research on coastal ecosystems
    • What are some of the big accomplishments your organization has made over the first 25 years of the Partnership? 
      • MWRA, Fred Laskey: The initial start-up of the partnership and a shared general vision to protect the islands and support public access.
      • BPDA, Richard McGuinness: Stabilization of Long Wharf as a gateway to the Harbor Islands. Building new docks, connection with the Harbor Walk, amenities along the pier, and providing space for water transportation. Connection with Central Artery project which brought us Spectacle Island and Rose Kennedy Greenway, which connects to Long Wharf.
      • USGC: No representative available
      • MassPort, Andrew Hargens: Waterfront development in East Boston and South Boston and access to the waterfront for residents. Steady increases in direct international flights to the airport and expanding cruise program (in a non-COVID year, was close to half a million passengers a year).  Bringing in visitors and raising awareness/opportunities on the water.
      • BHN, Cathy Stone: Combining into Boston Harbor Now created even stronger community force and uniting businesses and tourism to the harbor and islands. Last year alone, BHN brought 40,000 people from Boston, mostly kids, to the islands – making it a part of the life of the children of the city. Even though it is not a regular National Park, working in collaboration with every Partner when the park was created allowed partners to be tied together from the get-go.
      • Thompson Island, Arthur Pearson: The conservation restriction preserved Thompson Island from a proposed casino. The Island has a role as an education campus and essentially an extension of Boston Public Schools. Converting the land fill on Spectacle Island, opening the world class visitor center on Georges Island, and MWRA cleaning up the harbor made the Harbor Islands on the rise.
      • Trustees of Reservations, Nick Black: World’s End was created as a Trustee property in 1967. He shared a letter from 1999 from then executive director Frederick Winthrop about a new organizational vision called Conserving our Commonwealth, Vision for the Massachusetts Landscape. Improving visitor experience at World’s End, increasing their presence along Boston Harbor through their Boston Waterfront Initiative, and creating green resilient publicly accessible open space along Boston’s waterfront.
      • DCR, Jim Montgomery: The merging of MDC and DCR really helped. Opening Spectacle Island. Opening Visitors Centers on Spectacle, Georges, and Peddocks Islands. Restoration of the Chapel on Peddocks.  Developing mooring program.  Solar panels on Georges Island maintenance garage and bring in funding to bring Georges to net zero. Building up interpretive and visitor experience programming for a seamless experience for visitors. Building up this partnership and collaborating with the Partners over the years is a highlight.
      • NPS, Marc Albert: It is wrapped up in partnering. The biggest accomplishment was standing up the Partnership and Advisory Council.  Developed a General Management Plan in collaboration with Partners.  Establishing long standing youth development/employment programs.  Developed natural resource stewardship and citizen science program.  Michael Creasey added: helping with park planning and infrastructure pieces. Plus facilitating the Partnership and Advisory Council.
      • Advisory Council, Elizabeth Solomon: Bring multiple different perspectives to the park from those who are not landowners/managers. Rob Moir mentioned the benefit of bottom-up management.
    • In the last 25 years, what role has your organization played in the Partnership? How do you see your organization's role changing (or not changing) in the next 25 years? 
      • DCR, Jim Montgomery: Have been the backbone of support for the last 25 years with behind the scenes infrastructure and maintenance investments.  They want to be more visionary in the next 25 years, not just behind the scenes.
      • MassPort, Andrew Hargens: Has been more tangential supporting role to the park, but hope to be more involved in marketing/promoting the Harbor Islands.
      • MWRA, Fred Laskey: Will continue to support wastewater treatment and hopes the infrastructure on their islands will withstand the effects of climate change
      • BHN, Cathy Stone: In the next 25 years hope to support climate change initiatives and support biodiversity.
      • Thompson Island, Arthur Pearson: Help to close opportunity gaps for the children of Boston, it has not changed in some 180 years. In the future they hope to do the same and be an example for others around the country.
      • Trustees of Reservation, Nick Black: Create more resilient green open space around the Harbor in partnership with those on the call. Protecting more places wherever they can.
      • Advisory Council, Maureen Cavanaugh: Has been a voice of the public and represent those whose voices might not be heard. Rob Moir mentioned increasing public access and echoed the importance of addressing climate change and increasing biodiversity.
      • NPS, Marc Albert: NPS role will not fundamentally change. Will continue to push for public access, equity, and place-based youth opportunities.  Will seek to provide information to partners to help make decisions about whether and where to adapt, resist, or direct climate impacts.
    • At the next Partnership meeting, we will look to the future of the Partnership.

Roundtable Report-outs

BHI Advisory Council, Rob Moir

  • Thanks to BHN for Spectacle on Spectacle. Rob, Maureen, and Elizabeth had a chance to meet the Secretary of the Interior and mentioned they were on the Advisory Council.
  • Maureen Cavanaugh – meeting 9/22 with some NPS staff to talk about path forward.

Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center, Arthur Pearson

  • Vast number of the students they serve are unvaccinated at this time.
  • Had a successful summer season, but had some positive cases over the summer.
  • Doing a delicate dance of bringing young people to the Island and bringing people to the Island to generate revenue.
  • BPS has authorized field trips for the fall, so we look forward to seeing them.

Boston Harbor Now, Alice Brown

  • Cathy Stone shared the Stone Living Lab conference coming up on October 26th.
  • Thanked everyone who attended the Spectacle on Spectacle, especially all the hard work from DCR
  • Free Ferry Day at the end of the season.
  • org received double the traffic over the past year for trip planning.
  • Electronic newsletter continues to grow.
  • Did six community cruises in 2021 and were completely sold out.
  • Provided 7,500 free trips to Spectacle and Georges Islands this year – some through DCR’s Summer Nights Program.
  • First year they offered EBT/WIC participants discounted tickets to the Islands.
  • Did three Summer Nights Programs on Spectacle Island, with about 1,200 visiting.
  • Self-guided programs on Islands.
  • Fireworks on September 3rd.
  • Hoping to do the New Year’s program.

Boston Planning and Development Authority

  • No representatives available during share-out.

MassPort Authority, Andrew Hargens

  • Omni Hotel opened in the Seaport recently. First building from their DEI program.
  • Finalizing and being construction on Piers Park 2, in collaboration with the Trustees at Piers Park 3.
  • Helping to support a new life science career training center in South Boston.

Trustees of Reservations, Nick Black

  • Piers Park 3 community led design project continues.
  • Working with MassPort on how Piers Park 3 will work with Piers Park 2.
  • Waterfront Ambassador program continued this summer, a group of 15–18-year-old Boston students who put together their own design survey.

Department of Conservation and Recreation, Jim Montgomery

  • Great event on Spectacle Island.

United States Coast Guard

  • No representatives available during share-out.

National Park Service, Marc Albert

  • Fall Ferry schedule to Spectacle Island only happening now through October 11.
  • Welcome Center: 9/24 - 10/10, Friday - Sunday.
  • Continue to sign up to receive the Boston Harbor Islands eNewsletter:
    • Sign up here to get the Boston Harbor Islands eNewsletter in your inbox.
  • The park will be working closely with Boston Public Schools this year, specifically schools in East Boston & Charlestown. Park and partner staff will facilitate experiences with students outdoors, at schools this fall, virtually through the winter months, and then hopefully in the park this spring.
  • NPS and DCR resource staff met with the Botanists from the Natural Heritage & Endangered Species program to survey Peddocks and Grape Island for the state-listed sea-beach dock. We confirmed just one small, and declining, patch on Peddocks’ Prince Head – a real ‘canary in the coalmine’ of coastal change across the park. The agencies are planning to work together on a restoration plan for this species in the coming year.
  • After an 18 – month hiatus, Stewardship Saturday volunteer programs returned to Grape Island and will soon be back on Thompson Island. These programs engage community stewards in helping take care of park resources and landscapes. The first program was another groundbreaking partnership effort, with transportation provided by BOTH the Hingham AND Weymouth Harbormasters – seeing their two police boats lined up at the Grape Island pier was an inspiration!
  • The park continued to strengthen its partnership with Boston YMCAs through the Discovery Camps Program reaching 375 Boston young people ages 8-12.
  • DCR, NPS and TIOBEC are pleased to share that we have agreed on a plan for public visitation to the Conservation Area of Thompson Island for all five weekends of this October. This follows the suspension of unescorted public visitor access (UPA) that began in Spring 2020 when COVID-19 shut down Thompson Island’s normal operations. 
    • The following summary is for a five-week public visitor access opportunity during the remainder of TIOBEC’s 2021 operating season, following the requirements of the Thompson Island Conservation Restriction, which is co-held by DCR and NPS. This public access program reflects a three-way cooperative process alongside Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center.
      • We plan to use the experience of this new pilot effort to discuss how we can ensure a full season of public visitor access starting in 2022
    • The program will run five weekends on both Saturdays and Sundays beginning on October 2, 2021 for a total of 10 days.
    • TIOBEC will run a dedicated ferry from the EDIC dock at 10:00am and depart the island at 3:00pm on each weekend day.
    • Each UPA ferry will have up to 20 UPA spots available for registration through Eventbrite.
    • Registration for these trips will be posted on the park visitor website (bostonharborislands.org) and information about the program will also be listed on NPS’ park website and TIOBEC’s website.
    • Tickets will be available on the Eventbrite website. Pricing will be the same as the Harbor Ferries: Adult - $24.95; Senior - $22.95; Child (3-11) - $17.95.
    • Tickets will be listed until 10:00am on Thursday for the Saturday ferry and 10:00am Friday for the Sunday ferry. If no one has registered for UPA by the cut off time, the respective ferry will be cancelled.
      • If tickets have been purchased and therefore the ferry is running, registration will be extended up to the time of the ferry departure.
    • Prior to boarding the ferry guests will have to complete a “Clear to Go” COVID-19 symptoms/exposure survey on their phone at the dock, and Guests 12+ will be asked to show their vaccine card or a photo of their vaccine card.
      • Guests 18+ will be asked to provide a form of identification to confirm their COVID-19 vaccination and “Clear to Go” survey status.
      • Guests under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
    • Masks will be required at all times on the ferry, while on the Thompson Island pier, during the orientation by a Thompson Island staff member when first arriving on island, and when using the restrooms on Thompson Island.
    • A designated staff member will meet the boat at the EDIC dock and travel on the ferry. Upon docking on Thompson, guests will be directed to the bus stop sign. They will receive a short, welcoming talk by a Thompson Island staff member regarding the island’s conservation areas where they can walk, and the off-limits main campus area. They will also be directed to the bathrooms that will be available to use.
    • Directional and informational signage was developed by the three partners earlier this year to guide public visitors – these signs will be temporarily erected for the public access days in October to help.
    • The guests will be given a telephone number to call in case of an emergency (likely to be the manager on duty’s phone number).
    • In addition, each Saturday in October the NPS will schedule one biological technician ranger to join the trip to and from Thompson to offer an optional naturalist walk of the Conservation Area for UPA visitors.

Massachusetts Water Resource Authority, Fred Laskey

  • EPA deputy administrator came to visit recently

Public Comment

Rachel Vincent

(Q) Are there any updates about the future of the clivus or other similar units on the islands moving forward?

(A) Jim Montgomery – will look into this and report back.

Chris Mancini & Kristen Barry, Save the Harbor, Save the Bay

(Comment) Chris shared his response to Cathie Barner’s questions.  Biggest achievement was cleaning up of Spectacle Island and that Save the Harbor was an early supporter of the National Park even when others were not.  As for the future, he would like more opportunities for people to get into the park for free. 

(Comment) Kristen shared her response to Cathie Barner’s questions. Save the Harbor has been providing free ferry programs and creating free access is important.  They also have their Catch of the Day fishing trips during the summer.  Their jobs program offers 40-high school kids in Boston and opportunity to get to know the park.  The jobs program is not a one-off trip, it allows these youth to become stewards of the Boston Harbor Islands.

Paul Kirshen, UMass Boston

(Comment) Shared his response to Cathie Barner’s questions.  UMass Boston School for the Environment has been doing research on the Harbor Islands for decades.  Mentioned their Living with the Urban Ocean program and the recent establishment of the Stone Living Lab partnership (SLL).  The SLL is using nature-based approaches to manage flooding and restoring ecosystems in the Harbor. Having their first annual conference on October 26th -- go to www.stonelivinglab.org to learn more.

Suzanne Gall Marsh, Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands

(Comment) Requested that comments from informal park partners be included in the formal portion of meetings, as opposed to public input.

(Comment) Big accomplishments from Friends of Boston Harbor Islands (FHBI): Check booklet on 40th anniversary, details the park history (pre-NPS), and all the work that has been done in volunteerism & advocacy. FBHI board has been planning for the future over the last year. They are focused on “planning for change.” Commended on all the change over the last few years, and all park managers need to be focused on how the public can be involved. Need to use the 2016 5-year plan that was done in all new planning efforts.

Adjournment

Fred Laskey requested a motion to adjourn the meeting.  Cathy Stone made a motion to adjourn, seconded by Priscilla Geigis. Motion passed unanimously and meeting adjourned at 4:40 pm.

July 20, 2021

Meeting Minutes

Virtual

3:00-4:30 pm

Attendance

Kathy Abbott, Boston Harbor Now
Cathy Stone, Boston Harbor Now
Arthur Pearson, Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center
Michael Creasey, National Park Service
Susan Kane, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
Carolyn Fiore, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
Jim Montgomery, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
Fred Laskey, MA Water Resources Authority
Anne Smith White, The Trustees of the Reservation
CAPT Eric Doucette, US Coast Guard
Chris Busch, Boston Planning and Development Agency
Conor LeBlanc, MassPort Authority
Andrew Hargens, MassPort
Rob Moir, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council*
Elizabeth Solomon, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council*

*Representing individual opinions only during period of advisory council suspension.

Call to Order and Introductions

Chairman Laskey called meeting to order at 3:05 pm.

Approval of minutes from May 18th, Kathy Abbott moved it and Arthur Pearson seconded. Partnership voted unanimously. Meetings minutes were approved as written and distributed.

Presentations

Legislation Committee Updates, Michael Creasey, National Park Service

  • Fred Laskey introduced presentation on the Legislation Committee and then turned it over Michael from the NPS.
  • NPS is working on building a government relations program; hosted a day in the park for congressional office staff earlier this month with support from DCR, BHN, and other park partners. The visit was a success & we are looking to host members of congress in August for a park field trip.
  • Committee has drafted technical corrections; some were already submitted through formal NPS channels in 2019. NPS keeps a running list of changes needed to parks' enabling legislation & pushes them through bills when they can. This is typically a slow process.
  • The Partnership can run a parallel process of asking Members of Congress to support changes, which may be more successful and faster than waiting for NPS channels.
  • Here is the total list of changes we are proposing:
    • Update and correct names of legislated organizations:
      • Massachusetts District Commission and Department of Environmental Management to Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.
      • Boston Redevelopment Authority to Boston Planning and Development Agency.
      • Boston Harbor Island Alliance to Boston Harbor Now.
    • Under the description of Island Alliance, strike the word “sole” from the clause “…a nonprofit organization whose sole purpose is to provide financial support for the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area.”
    • Update clause to appoint executive positions at each of the partner organizations and not individuals.
    • Remove term limits from partnership representative appointments. Members will serve for the duration of their time in designated executive position.
  • The Committee is requesting a formal vote of the Partnership on all changes proposed.
  • Fred Laskey asked for a motion to approve committee report. Elisabeth Solomon moved it and Kathy Abbott seconded it. Partnership voted unanimously.
Question and Answers

(Q) Elizabeth asked that written changes be submitted to Partnership before voting.

(A) Michael noted that in 2019 this was voted on before. It has been laying fallow in the NPS Legislative Affairs, but wanted to approve committee’s report before sending requests to legislative members to support it.

(Q) Rob Moir made a comment that there been additional things that could be added to this bill.

(A) Fred mentioned they are not closing the door on other changes, but wanted to get technical corrections approved first. We can have further discussions down the road.

(A) Michael noted that these are technical corrections and that substantive corrections would have be vetted. Through the anniversaries year, we hope to engage with the community and discuss more substantive changes.

Anniversary Gala Updates, Kathy Abbott, Boston Harbor Now

  • Gala will be in person this year as long as public health allows on September 14th, 4:30-8:30 on Spectacle Island
  • Event will kick off the anniversary of the national and state park. This year’s honorees are the Partnership. We hope to have all of you and community groups attend. If you have questions, please reach out to Kathy or Jack Garvey.
  • Kerri Cleghorn Lai, new VP of philanthropy started last week.

Anniversary Year Steering Committee, Cathie Barner, Red Bridge Group

  • The Steering Committee meets every other week.
  • Programs Team chaired by Liza Stearns with the National Park Service has prepared a large spreadsheet with month-by-month programs. This will be the public programming and will also enhance the Community Access programs.
  • Communications Team will use in-house talent to update logo for anniversary year and develop a 4-minute video. Red Bridge will develop a creative brief and style guide, so that every Partner organization uses the same materials and things have the same feel. Asking colleagues to develop a social media guide, similar to the style guide which can make things more robust.
  • Engagement Team, chaired by Carolyn Fiore, has been interviewing firms to help craft messages around reaching people.
  • In the next few meetings, there will be time blocked out to first complement the Partnership on work accomplished, but also identify the things that still need to be done, and then develop a vision for the future.

Climate Action Planning, Joe Bagley and Chief Mariama White-Hammond, City of Boston

  • Fred introduced Joe Bagley and Chief Mariama White-Hammond
  • Joe Bagley, City of Boston Archaeologist, presented Archaeological Climate Action Plan which is funded through the Community Preservation Act (CPA). He shared images of drastic erosion on Lovells Island and Rainsford Island.
  • The issue:
    • Erosion is a current, great, and worsening threat to historic resources.
    • There are hundreds of documented ancient Native and more-recent historic archaeological sites on the Boston Harbor Islands
    • There is no harbor-wide plan or program to mitigate erosion on known or potential archaeological sites
    • Archaeological action towards site erosion has been on emergency and case-by-case basis and almost exclusively focused on historic sites (example: Gallops Island burials)
    • There are no existing plans or funds to address the daily loss of archaeological sites on the Islands.
  • The Archaeological Climate Action Plan:
    • Gather existing Harbor-wide data:
      • Erosion data (Zoe Hughes/BU)
      • Archaeological site data
      • Archaeological survey areas
    • Use GIS to create a risk model that determines what known sites and what unsurveyed areas are most at-risk of erosion
    • Create a plan of action/mitigation that addresses what the appropriate response should be for each site or unsurveyed area
    • Share the results with the holders of each island
    • Create a community science monitoring program (i.e., similar to Maine’s Midden Minders and HMS Florida Project)
    • Fund the plan of action
    • Project status: Discussions, walk-over, plans for hiring contractors. Will take as long as it needs to
  • How we will do this:
    • Starting with a $100,000 CPA grant to create plan and first surveys
    • Forming an interdisciplinary team of government and Native partners
      • Currently: NPS, COB, Massachusett
      • Will expand, shortly
    • National Park Service Cultural Resources Diversity Internship Program (CRDIP) Melissa Hurtado- initial scope of work, initial walk-over surveys
    • Will be returning to CPA but will include budgets in plan for independent funding
  • How is this project different:
    • Collaborative project with the Massachusett Tribe at Ponkapoag from day-1
      • Majority of the at-risk archaeological sites are Massachusett
    • We will be starting over from near-scratch
      • Starting small
      • Terminology
      • Mitigation Plans
      • Curation
      • Consultation
      • Recommendations
    • Harbor-wide, regardless of who owns the island.
  • Early successes
    • National Park Service Cultural Resources Diversity Internship Program (CRDIP)
    • National Trust for Historic Preservation 11-most endangered sites listing
    • Chief Reverend Mariama White-Hammond able to secure funding for the digitization of the Barbara Luedtke archaeological materials at UMass Boston
      • 1970s-1990s, 56 sites, 11 islands (Bumpkin, Calf, Green, Gallops, Raccoon, World’s End, Long, Thompson, Little Brewster, Greater Brewster, Peddocks)
    • Encouraged to return for additional CPA funds
  • Reverend Mariama White-Hammond, Boston Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Spaces, noted the importance of equity in everything they do. She noted that we need to really lean into preserving and documenting the history and not letting it wash away before we engage folks in conversations about what we do and how we live with the fact that climate change is real. And that there is importance of telling these stories because we need to grapple with both the beautiful things that happened on the Islands, but also the atrocities. Colonialism is not just the past – it is a very live legacy and if we do not look at it we cannot move forward. And with climate change we are putting our ability to survive as a human species at risk right now and if we want to survive into the future we cannot run. It is an opportunity to talk about hard and beautiful truths. She mentioned that as a Partnership we can work together to document and save sites. If there is a need for a further specifics on the plan, she is happen to go into them with a subcommittee.
Question and Answers

(Q) Susan Kane noted that DCR islands are happy to support you and getting you access to the Islands

(Q) Kathy Abbott noted BHN is happy to fund raise to help support this

(Q) Michael thanked Joe Bagley, Marc Albert, and Elizabeth Solomon for all their hard work on this.

Long Island Bridge Planning, Para Jayasinghe and Benjamin Sun, City of Boston

  • Fred introduced Para Jayasinghe and Benjamin Sun from the City of Boston
  • Para laid out what the presentation will cover
  • City of Boston shared brief video of the history of Long Island as a Recovery Campus
  • Benjamin Sun noted the video showed the why we need the bridge to Long Island and the rest of the presentation will be about the superstructure replacement
  • Bridge Design Approach
    • Minimize impact to the environment
      • Proposes No Permanent Impact to Wetland Resources
      • Maintains Same Roadway Profile and Width
      • Maintains Same Navigational Clearances
        • Improves Stormwater Performance and Resiliency
  • Pier Strengthening & Superstructure Replacement
    • City of Boston shared brief video of how it plans to replace and strengthen the bridge
    • It will strengthen current bridge footings with vertical steel tension rods
    • Spans will be assembled offsite and then precast concrete deck sections placed on top
    • Middle truss erection will be assembled offsite
  • Resiliency
    • Elevation of delta frames higher than current truss system reducing saltwater exposure and projected sea level rise.
    • Improved coating systems on metal will combat deterioration from saltwater exposure.
    • Roadway surface will be above projected sea level rise.
  • Improvement to Stormwater Performance
    • Installing water quality structure and infiltration system on the roadway.
  • Section 106 Timeline
    • January 2018 - Boston Mayor Walsh Announces Plan to Rebuild Bridge
    • September 2018 - MHC Letter to USCG & USACE Requesting Archaeological Survey
    • October 2018 - State Archaeologist’s Permit Application Filed
    • April 2019 - State Archaeologist’s Permit 3917 Issued to PAL
    • May 2019 - PAL Intensive Survey Fieldwork
    • September 2019 - 100% Design Complete
    • November 2019 - PAL Intensive Survey Report Submitted to MHC
    • March 2021 - Amended State Archaeologist Permit Application Filed
    • July 2021 - Archeological Site Examination
Question and Answers

(Q) Elizabeth Solomon had question about the archeological surveys.

(A) Deborah Cox with Public Archaeological Lab noted they in a 2019 study along the roadway found some chipping debris. In consultation with Native American tribes participating in the field work, PAL filed an amendment in March 2021 to allow them to look under roadway adjacent to the area where they found chipping debris before the project would begin. Work on this area began this week and they are about 50% done. Representatives of the Narragansett tribe have been working with them and members of the Aquinnah and Wampanoag know about the work, but have not been able to join. Once the field work is complete there will be a comprehensive report about the site.

(Q) Elizabeth asked, though not federally recognized, could the Massachusett Tribe be kept informed by the City of Boston and PAL about what is going on, even if not legally obligated to do so. And can they have access to the report once it is done.

(A) Deborah Cox noted that the city is open to consultation with the Massachusett Tribe. And they can have access to the report once it is done.

(Q) Suzanne Gall Marsh asked have they prepared an alternative transportation plan like having year round ferries? The island hospital from the 1890s-1950s had ferry service exclusively before the bridge was built.

(A) Para Jayasinghe noted that passengers-based ferries have been deemed inadequate by Boston Public Health Commission for the services they are providing at the recovery campus. The ferry docking facilities on Long Island can only accommodate passenger ferries, not vehicle ferries. Having a bridge would support 24/7 access to Long Island for vehicles and emergency vehicles.

(Q) Kathy Abbott asked if they could address giving boaters additional clearance under the bridge.

(A) Para noted given the urgent need for the recovery campus to address the current public health crisis in the area they sought to accelerate the design process and to lessen environmental impact by keeping the same footprint as the former bridge.

(Q) Cathy Stone thanked them for the presentation and it would be good for the city to have a location for people who need to be restored. She asked what current level of sea-rise did they plan for?

(A) Para noted that the older designer had metal closer to the water, but the newer design will use galvanized steel higher up on trusses. In order to minimize environmental impact, they are keeping the roadway at the same height, but making the bridge height as narrow as possible to limit saltwater exposure.

(Q) Elizabeth Solomon asked about access issues to the bridge via low lying area in Quincy. She also noted there are roadways on the island which are low lying.

(A) Para noted that it will be up to Quincy to address their roadways. The road on the Island from the bridge to the campus is on the higher part of the island.

(Q) Suzanne Gall Marsh asked what are the projected costs for re-building the bridge and what is the time frame?

(A) Para said cost would be about $100 million fully funded by the City of Boston and costs are not getting cheaper. Once construction starts, it should take about two years and will move quickly as they are using pre-assembled pieces made offsite.

(Q) Michael Creasey asked, during the archeological monitoring, will there be an inadvertent discovery plan developed in consultation with the tribes that recognize ancestral ties to the land.

(A) Deborah Cox said they have a post-review discoveries plan developed. If something is inadvertently discovered, it will be immediately reported, and all construction will stop.

(Q) Suzanne Gall Marsh commented that there needs to be a broader discussion about public access and future parkland use. There have been many City and State park plans that include mixed use of the Long Island.

(A) Para noted that in the future if they are other uses of the Island it would be awkward because of current uses. Even to get to Long Island via vehicle they would also have to access Moon Island, which is also closed for public access given the current uses (fire training and firing range).

Roundtable Report-outs

BHI Advisory Council, Elizabeth Solomon

  • Elizabeth noted that there are members of the advisory council who are interested to get restarted.
  • Michael Creasey noted they had a meeting with NPS Director of Policy and DOI staff. They received some guidance and hope to set up a meeting with Advisory Council to plan the path forward.

Trustees of the Reservation, Anne Smith-White

  • Not available during report-out

Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center, Arthur Pearson

  • Not available during report-out

Boston Harbor Now, Kathy Abbott

  • Community engagement and access programs
    • 7 Community cruises that will serve about five thousand people
    • EBT/WIC card holders can get roundtrip tickets for $4
    • Island Pass program served about 7,500 people this year
    • DCR Summer Nights brought out two thousand youth. At the kickoff of that event with the Commissioner, Governor, and Lt Governor there were 400 new folks coming out to the Islands
    • BHCC donated 5,500 tickets in kind
    • 10,000 vouchers for community partners, please get the word out so people can come to the Islands
  • Boston Light tours sold out through July and August

Boston Planning and Development Authority, Chris Busch

  • No new updates

MassPort Authority, Andrew Hargens

  • Please take a look at the new cranes that just arrived at the Port
  • Working with the Trustees on Piers Park 3
  • Boston Fisheries Foundation will do week-long event starting September 10th to promote New England seafood industry
  • Check out the new exhibit at ICA Watershed in East Boston

Department of Conservation and Recreation, Susan Kane

  • No big updates
  • Nice to see the islands up and running again. Just need it to stop raining!

United States Coast Guard, CAPT Kailie Benson

  • CMDR Doucette left on July 2nd and CAPT Benson has replaced him

National Park Service, Michael Creasey

  • Visit the Calendar on our .org website to view more event and program opportunities.
  • Many free access opportunities to visit the islands can be found on our website as well: https://www.bostonharborislands.org/free-access-groups/
  • Continue to sign up to receive the Boston Harbor Islands eNewsletter: Sign up here to get it in your inbox.
  • Night Shift Coffee has returned as the vendor at the downtown Welcome Center.
  • Vendors on both Georges and Spec—Finesse—providing light snacks and refreshments 7 days/week.
  • Boston Harbor Islands Youth Leaders Coalition is organizing an evening cruise for youth employees. The celebratory event will be held on August 11th.
  • The park is working with all 8 Boston YMCAs to facilitate summer-long National Parks of Boston Discovery Camps. Campers will have an opportunity to visit Georges Island with their families on August 14th. Ferry vouchers are being offered to interested family groups.

Massachusetts Water Resource Authority, Carolyn Fiore

  • Fish pier has reopened and has extra parking

Public Comment

Suzanne Gall Marsh, Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands

(Q) Suzanne was very concerned about Long Island and the lack of public access to parkland.

(A) Fred noted there are larger issues like public access and there will be a time and place for that discussion soon.

(A) Michael Creasey also brought up the question about the rest of the island with the City of Boston. The City of Boston made it clear that the bridge and the infrastructure project is just that and that there is potential for a master plan for the island itself is still out there.

Adjournment

Fred Laskey requested a motion to adjourn the meeting. Michael Creasey made a motion to adjourn, seconded by Kathy Abbott. Motion passed unanimously and meeting adjourned at 4:40 pm.

May 18, 2021

Meeting Minutes

Virtual

3:00-4:30 pm

Attendance

Kathy Abbott, Boston Harbor Now
Cathy Stone, Boston Harbor Now
Susan Kane, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
Richard McGuinness, Boston Planning and Development Agency
Marc Albert, National Park Service
Carolyn Fiore, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
Jim Montgomery, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
Priscilla Geigis, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
Fred Laskey, MA Water Resources Authority
Anne Smith White, The Trustees of the Reservation
CAPT Eric Doucette, US Coast Guard
CMDR Myles Greenway, US Coast Guard
Chris Busch, Boston Planning and Development Agency
Conor LeBlanc, MassPort Authority
Rob Moir, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council*
Elizabeth Solomon, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council*
Maureen Cavanaugh, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council*

*Representing individual opinions only during period of advisory council suspension.

Call to Order and Introductions

Chairman Laskey called meeting to order at 3:02 pm.

Approval of minutes from March 16th, Kathy Abbott moved it and Carolyn Fiore seconded. Partnership voted unanimously. Meetings minutes were approved as written and distributed.

Presentations

Legislation Committee, Angela Allison and Marc Albert, National Park Service

  • Fred Laskey introduced presentation on the Legislation Committee and then turned it over to Marc and Angela from the NPS.
  • Cathy Stone noted that she did not think at first this needed to be done, but upon reviewing the old management plan she noted things have changed and that anniversaries are a good time to look at what needs to be changed.
  • Angela Allison noted that in the Legislation Committee meetings they started to look at the park’s General Management Plan (GMP) as a road map to see how things are coming along and determine what changes might we recommend. Many people in the Partnership may not be familiar with the GMP on the day-to-day basis, so they wanted to spend time at this meeting to give a broad overview.
  • Marc Albert talked about the background before the creation of the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership. In the 1978 Urban Parks Report identified Boston Waterfront as a place where open space, recreation, and economic value of the waterfront are interrelated. This report provided context for the establishment of this park.
    • Preceding the National Park was the establishment of the Boston Harbor Islands State Park. The Boston Harbor Islands Comprehensive Plan completed 1970-1972 and the 1986 Boston Harbor Islands State Park Master Plan were key documents that informed the NPS special resource study of the Boston Harbor Islands. Before any unit of the NPS is created a special resource study is done to determine whether the resources of that park are nationally significant. With the establishment of the State Park a lot of the background work had been done.
    • In 1996, Public Law 104-333 established Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, though we never really officially called it that. The advisory committee and Partners when creating the GMP, they found it offensive to call something a “recreation area” that was also essentially a concentration camp for Native Americans during King Phillip’s War in 1675. Collectively the group decided to go with national park area as the general term for the park and now national and state park. The park was set aside to:
      • (1) to preserve for public use and enjoyment the lands and waters that comprise the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area;
      • (2) to manage, the recreation area in partnership with the private sector, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, municipalities, the Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center, and Trustees of Reservations, and with historical, business, cultural, civic, recreational and tourism organizations;
      • (3) to improve access to the Boston Harbor Islands through the use of public water transportation; and
      • (4) to provide education and visitor information programs to increase public understanding of and appreciation for the natural and cultural resources of the Boston Harbor Islands, including the history of Native American use and involvement.
    • National Park Area:
      • 34 Islands and peninsulas (discrete islands extending to mean low water)
      • Public access to waterfront and gateways to the islands
      • Limited federal ownership/multiple jurisdictions
      • Requires 3 to 1 Private to Federal match
      • Allows for NPS to enter into Cooperative Management Agreements
      • Partnerships and collaborative strategies
      • Expansive network of partnerships
      • Portal to wilderness for diverse urban populations
    • A lot of effort was put into a public ferry system for gateway communities to increase access to the Harbor.
    • The law creating the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership said:
      • Developing an integrated General Management Plan;
      • Coordinating the activities of the managers of the park as a whole;
      • Authorized to contract and purchase property and services;
      • Legislation is clear that the Partnership is an operational organization and not an advisory committee; and
      • Legislation calls for the Secretary to establish the Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council.
    • NPS General Management Plan
      • Finished and environmental impact statements signed by the Secretary of the Interior in 2002. As the name states, it is a general plan. It identified important themes, identified generalized areas of various islands (i.e., historic preservation focus, recreational focus, natural resource preservation focus, or gateway areas). It does not get into specific implementation plans.
      • An Agreement between:
        • Island Managers
        • The Partnership
        • The Public
      • Collective Impact:
        • Finance and support public improvements
        • Enhance outdoor recreation
        • Conserve historic, natural, and scientific values
        • Develop education programs
        • Enhance public access
        • Protect Native American sites
    • Angela mentioned the Partnership has a federal mandate of 3-to-1 match of non-federal to federal dollars.
      • Partnership investments in the Park from 1996-2016, $235 million in total spending with $96 million in federal spending (i.e., NPS, USCG), $97 million in local and Commonwealth government spending (DCR, Massport, MWRA, City of Boston), and $42 million in private spending. This shows that we met and often exceed that 3-to-1 match.
      • Partnership investments in the Park from 2020 (preliminary numbers as we are still waiting on data from some Partners), $14.93 million in total spending with $9.38 million in federal spending (i.e., NPS, USCG), $2.96 million in local and Commonwealth government spending (DCR, Massport, MWRA, City of Boston), and $2.59 million in private spending. This shows that we are exceeding that 3-to-1 match mandate.
    • Federal Advisory Council
      • Purpose: Represent stakeholder interest
        • Municipalities
        • Educational and cultural institutions
        • Business and commercial entities
        • Advocacy organizations
        • Native American interests
      • Make recommendations to Partnership
      • Advisory Council has been under a period of suspension under the previous administration, but with the new administration things could change.
    • Partnership Focus on the Future
      • Twenty-first century park making
      • Improving water transportation
      • Investing in the next generation
      • Transforming the harbor
      • Connecting people to nature
      • Adapting to environmental impacts
    • Legislative committee
      • Short term goals
        • Technical corrections (i.e., changing names of organizations)
      • Long term goals
        • Engagement Opportunities
        • Larger, more substantive changes
      • Committee hopes to share recommendations at upcoming Partnership meetings
Question and Answers

(Q) Rob Moir mentioned an Atlantic article which said we should give back National Parks to Native people. The FACA was established to give voice for those who did not get seat on Partnership

(Q) Cathy Stone mentioned that Rob Moir wrote his dissertation about the creation of this park. The park and Partnership was established because at the same time Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was pushing a park closing commission. Creating the Partnership park model shifted the burden of budget to the Partnership. And the reason why it was called a National Recreation Area, because some native people found the word park offensive. What we underestimated was how much money it would take to make the Islands accessible to the public and the transportation issues.

(Q) Kathy Abbott mentioned growing a constituency is something the Partnership should work on.

(Q) Cathy Stone and Rob Moir mentioned that Castle Island was originally part of the park boundary, but was removed because of local fear of NPS gates and outside visitors.

(Q) Kathy Abbott mentioned that we do not score well in internal NPS visitation statistics thus we cannot compete for major funding because we do not serve enough people. If we did include Castle Island into the mix that might help.

(Q) Marc Albert mentioned that a lot of parks count visitors who travel through the park (i.e., Blue Ridge Parkway) and they could just be commuting to work. We have how many thousands of people commuting or taking private boats benefit from the scenery of protecting the park. They are currently not counted as visitors, but that is something we are talking about and how we can get them into the NPS statistical system.

(Q) Cathy Stone mentioned the importance of protecting the park as barrier islands to the shoreline. Climate change and the role parks play in protecting their communities might become a criterion for other things including money.

(Q) Kathy Abbott mentioned that one of the ways the majority of people experience the Islands is from the air. That is over 30 million people a year. A number of years ago we tried to figure out how we could get those folks to help underwrite the cost of the park. We should not give up on that idea.

Anniversary Year Steering Committee, Cathie Barner, Red Bridge Group

  • Cathie Barner introduced the steering committee members: Michael Creasey, Priscilla Geigis, Kathy Abbott, and Angela Allison supports the group.
  • Objective: Connect people through parks by providing inspirational experiences for all, creating community through stewardship, and strengthening the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership
  • Project Goals:
    • Increase awareness
      • Awareness and advocacy are important parts of the anniversary. Plan is to promote a series of events, create a video, and have a call to action
    • Celebrate past and futures successes
      • Made extra visible by co-branding anniversary programs in public outreach. Two signature events could be developed during the year starting with the Boston Harbor Now gala event. We have tasked the program committee to develop commemorative items and welcome everyone’s ideas
    • Enhance community engagement
      • Considering stakeholder mapping and other techniques to engage and have deeper connection to the community
    • Update Strategic Vision
      • Will use the entire year to think about the future of the Islands and what a vision for the next 25 to 50 years might look like.
  • Communications team, Conor LeBlanc, MassPort
    • Building awareness and celebrating anniversary effort
    • Mapping out different assets that each member of the Partnership has from staffing, to signage, social media accounts, etc
    • Thinking about the video and how to use it as a communications tool
    • Thinking of bringing on third-party consultant to develop a branding toolkit
  • Community outreach and engagement team, Carolyn Fiore, MWRA
    • Looking to identify who each member of the Partnership is engaging with and determine where the gaps are. Use the anniversary year to engage with constituencies that we have not engaged with in the past and bring them into the fold.
    • Looking at hiring local firms to help increase engagement
    • May reach out to additional Partners to get more members
    • How do you measure successes? Increase visitation, increase donations, increase in underserved communities?
    • Need to develop a schedule for outreach activities
  • Programming Committee, Liza Stearns, National Park Service
    • Starting to do asset mapping to see skill sets, resources with our organizations, network participation, constituent groups connections to being to think about how we can activate those elements to being energy to programming.
    • Programming from September 2021-September 2022
    • Doing a quarterly assessment of current program/project and determine how they can re-brand it to be a signature or anniversary branded program/project.
    • By doing that asset mapping of what's currently already in play and identify where there are voids and maybe bring some signature programming elements into the calendar at opportune times to animate and galvanize more interest in the Harbor Islands.
    • Goal is less one-off programming, but hope to develop deeper connection with community to be a part of their world.
    • Plan is to get a roadmap in place that we can bounce ideas off other working groups.
    • We need to include constituents up front to help develop programming together
Question and Answers

(Q) Priscila as member of the steering committee want to thank Conor, Carolyn, and Liza. We need to work on connecting people to parks. We have learned during this past year the importance outdoor spaces have. We want to provide inspirational experiences for all. We also need to think about creating community through stewardship for the next 25 and 50 years into the future. Our Partners needs to think about these objectives and where they can fit in and bring to the table.

Roundtable Report-outs

BHI Advisory Council, Elizabeth Solomon

  • Elizabeth has been communicating with members of the advisory council to gauge interest moving forward, which has been enthusiastic. Might need to get in touch with legislators or Secretary of Interior to move things forward

Trustees of the Reservation, Anne Smith-White

  • Working hard getting programming up at Worlds End
  • Hoping to develop an education facility out at Worlds End with composting toilets and working with the town of Hingham to get that approved

Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center, Dot Joyce

  • Dot mentioned that Arthur was unable to join, but he sends his regards.

Boston Harbor Now, Kathy Abbott

  • Public Ferries start on Friday to Spectacle Island
  • Installing new interactive video screens at the Welcome Center
  • EBT/WIC program with Boston Harbor City Cruises allows for a $4 fare for card holders
  • 80 libraries signed on for Library Pass program
  • 6 Community Cruises planned
  • Working with DCR to distribute Island Pass programs, especially camp programs
  • Working on building a new shade structure on Georges Island with DCR

Boston Planning and Development Authority, Chris Busch

  • No new updates

MassPort Authority, Conor LeBlanc

  • Rock removal will be starting in the Harbor dredging project
  • New berth 10 cranes should be arriving at the beginning of the summer
  • ENF being put together for a new runway safety area deck at Logan Airport

Department of Conservation and Recreation, Susan Kane

  • Operations are going forward with lots of hiring, cutting grass, opening trails, getting boats back in the water
  • Broken ground on bathroom renovation on Peddocks to have showers for campers. Should be done at the end of June
  • Building 45 renovation being completed at Hingham Shipyard. The Partnership logo will be inlaid into the building
  • Awarding contract for 49 additional moorings off Peddocks Island
  • SCA program is working on replacing the historic doors on the stable on Peddocks Island. Then moving onto Bumpkin Island to do masonry work.
  • Working on Georges Island pavilion project with Boston Harbor Now

National Park Service, Marc Albert

  • Ferry Schedule are out for 2021 to Spectacle and Georges Islands. Visit the Partnership website to learn more.
  • We are reopening the Welcome Center along the Greenway on June 5. The schedule will mirror the ferry schedule.
  • Many free access opportunities to visit the islands can be found on our website as well: https://www.bostonharborislands.org/free-access-groups/
  • Continue to sign up to receive the Boston Harbor Islands eNewsletter: Sign up here to get it in your inbox
  • The NPS and contracted consultants are continuing to make progress on the park-wide assessment ‘multi - property documentation forms’ for above – ground cultural resources on the islands. As a reminder, this project will document the relative significance of the “historic” features of the islands and recommend which are eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. This is only for the above-ground features, most of the park’s islands are already listed as a National Register Archeological District to protect Native American sites.
    • Thank you to ALL land owners for submitting comments on the draft forms.
    • The next steps are the NPS and contractors submitting the drafts to the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) and tribal representatives (THPOs).
  • The NPS Natural Resource Partnerships team is working with Rebecca Shoer from the Stone Living Lab, Save the Harbor Save the Bay, and others to roll out shoreline community science projects with youth and volunteers – collecting data across Boston Harbor and island shorelines on marine invaders via CZM’s MIMIC project, and on native oysters, clams, and mussels through our online “Bivalve Quest.”
  • BHN/NPS received a grant from National Park Foundation to support a summer/fall recreational fishing program. DCR, NPS, and BHN collaborating on programming, including “how to fish” engagement with summer camps, development of a Great Fishing Spots map, production of fishing instruction videos and fall “cooking with your catch” videos to showcase local chefs providing health meals with locally caught fish.

United States Coast Guard, CMDR Myles Greenway

  • Long Island Bridge replacement. Working on a navigation impact report by the City of Boston. Comment period open until June 18
  • There will be brief channel closures and speed restrictions to accommodate blasting operations of the harbor dredging project
  • Sector Boston is piloting new email notification to mariners to reduce radio clutter for frequent broadcasts
  • Boston Light site visit tomorrow with NPS, USCG, GSA, BHN, Historic Boston Inc, and the Trustees.

Massachusetts Water Resource Authority, Carolyn Fiore

  • Received National Association of Clean Water Act Agency’s platinum peak performance award for the 14th year.
  • The new fishing pier has been quite popular. Changed some parking to accommodate more cars.

Public Comment

Suzanne Gall Marsh, Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands

(Q) Thrilled that there will be boat service to Georges and Spectacle Island. She is worried about the increase in private boaters to the island. She is also concerned about the lack of restrooms on the Islands that private boaters use. Need to post information about bathrooms on websites and docks.

(Q) Eager to provide visitor services volunteers on the Islands, even if Visitors Centers are closed

(Q) Gallops Island was closed because of asbestos in 2000. She wanted to know what is going on with the restoration and remediation plan from 2017?

(A) Fred recommended at the next meeting maybe DCR can provide an overview of the issue.

(A) Susan Kane noted that Visitors Centers are opening this year. There will be bathrooms on Peddocks Island. They are evaluating restroom facilities on Islands in general. They are trying to figure out a solution where we have replacement bathrooms out there, but it is a process

(Q) Had question regarding the Advisory Council and when it would be started back up again. Cape Cod’s Advisory Council had a sunset clause, Acadia National Park Advisory Councils are having regularly scheduled meetings.

(A) Fred said the staff are trying to figure out the Advisory Council going forward.

Mike Delaney from Quincy, MA

(Q) Wanted to speak publicly about public access. They have mentioned the CR says that Thompson Island must be open every day. He met with Arthur Pearson and the CR has been posted online for review. He went on to say, the Partnership has not reviewed the CR and he requested that it be brought forth for review.

(A) Fred mentioned that since Arthur is not present today, he asked the Dot Joyce bring this to him to get a response

Adjournment

Fred Laskey requested a motion to adjourn the meeting. Carolyn made a motion to adjourn, seconded by Jim. Motion passed unanimously and meeting adjourned at 4:22 pm

March 16, 2021

Meeting Minutes 

Virtual

3:00-4:30 pm 

Attendance 

Kathy Abbott, Boston Harbor Now 
Cathy Stone, Boston Harbor Now 
Susan Kane, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation 
Richard McGuinness, Boston Planning and Development Agency 
Marc Albert, National Park Service 
Carolyn Fiore, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority 
Michael Creasey, National Park Service 
Jim Montgomery, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation 
Priscilla Geigis, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation 
Fred Laskey, MA Water Resources Authority  
Anne Smith White, The Trustees of the Reservation 
Chris Cook, City of Boston 
CAPT Eric Doucette, US Coast Guard 
CMDR Myles Greenway, US Coast Guard 
Conor LeBlanc, MassPort Authority 
Arthur Pearson, Thompson Island Outward Bound  
Rob Moir, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council*
Elizabeth Solomon, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council*

*Representing individual opinions only during period of advisory council suspension.

Call to Order and Introductions 

Chairman Laskey called meeting to order at 3:01 pm. Approval of minutes from January 19th, Michael Creasey moved it and Elizabeth Solomon seconded. Partnership voted unanimously. Meetings minutes were approved as written and distributed.  

Partnership Business 

Fred Laskey welcomed Anne Smith White from the Trustees of the Reservations who was chosen by the Trustees to replace the seat vacated by Alicia Leuba.   

Fred also announced that he will have to leave the meeting early for another commitment, but Michael Creasey from the National Park Service will serve as chair pro tempore after he leaves.  He noted that the Partnership is currently without a Vice-chair and those interested in serving on a nominating committee please let him know. The Partnership should have a Vice-chair to preside over meetings in case of situations like today. 

Presentations  

Legislation Committee, Michael Creasey and Angela Allison, National Park Service 

  • Fred Laskey introduced presentation on the Legislation Committee and then turned it over to Michael and Angela from the NPS.  

  • Michael Creasey said we recognize that in 2017, the Chair appointed members to the Governance Committee to review the Partnership’s By-Laws and Federal Legislation. The Partnership members included Fred Laskey, Michael Creasey, Kathy Abbott, and Austin Blackmon.  At the last Partnership meeting, Fred asked if any other members wanted to join the Committee. To date, nobody has asked to join.  

  • Michael introduced Angela Allison, Program Director for Community and Intergovernmental Partnerships with the National Parks of Boston to provide a report on the Boston Harbor Islands legislation for a discussion to be had as part of the anniversary year.   

  • Angela said going into anniversary year, we want to look at ways to make partnership more effective through its governance structure.   

  • The governance committee will review the existing park legislation and recommend potential changes to the Partnership at a future meeting.  

  • There are some things that we know need to be changed & are technical, like updating the names of BHN, DCR, and BPDA. 

  • There may also be more substantive issues & recommended changes, like the nominating process for Partnership Representatives.  

  • Legislation changes can be made internally through the NPS or changes can be introduced by a member of congress; the committee will look into the best way to accomplish this.  

  • The governance committee will report to the full Partnership at the next meeting on their recommendations & progress.  

Question and Answers 

(Q) Elizabeth Solomon had a question about the process and depending on the time commitment she might be interested in joining it.  Is this just an open-ended look or narrow scope looking at language? 
(A) Michael Creasey said there were some narrow things that we should address like names of organizations. But if there are some larger changes, we can look and make shifts and changes, especially tied to the Anniversaries. 

(Q) Rob mentioned that the big issue was that Congress named the Partners. This might be a time to add new members. 

Elizabeth Solomon, Cathy Stone, Kathy Abbott, Fred Laskey, Rob Moir, and Michael Creasey all signed up to assist this committee. 

Anniversary Year Opportunities: Island AccessRepresentatives from National Parks of Boston, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, and Boston Harbor Now 

  • Kathy Abbott introduced this new series around Anniversary Year Opportunities. She was excited to introduce the topic around access as it has been an issue since the founding of the State Park.  Kathy introduced the small group of folks who worked on the beginning of this conversation on how to enable access to everyone, which included Chris Mancini and Kristen Barry from Save the Harbor/Save the Bay (STHSTB), Rebecca Smerling from Boston Harbor Now (BHN), and Elisabeth Colby from the National Park Service (NPS). 

  • Chris Mancini introduced the presentation on the work we have done to address social, racial equity, and inclusion on the Harbor Islands.  This presentation will share some of the great work being doing through this Partnership including DCR, NPS, STHSTB, and BHN.  They understood they were not being inclusive as there is great work being done at many places including Thompson Island and Camp Harborview to name a few.  Chris took time at the top to address the role that public places like the Harbor Islands play in causes of racial justice and the barriers that continue to exist in these spaces. The success of public open space really depends on both physical and programmatic connections to make it open, accessible, and inclusive.  

  • Rebecca Smerling presented a look at three key areas where organizations are contributing to increased access to the Boston Harbor Islands either through free or steeply discounted programs for individuals and families, group and community access, and youth employment.  These numbers look at a snapshot of the menu of Partnership programs of NPS, DCR, BHN and STHSTB providing access to hub islands and free cruises to the Harbor.  Those organizations collective serve many programs, but these numbers focus on programs where individuals get on a boat with the goal of enjoying the park resources. This data is from pre-COVID in 2019.  

  • Individuals & Families 

  • Group Access 

  • Youth Employment 

  • Individuals & Families 

  • Library Pass programs 

  • Buy one, get one, annually 100 libraries  

  • Free-Ferry Days 

  • Up to three free days offered 

  • Share the Harbor 

    • 12 evening & weekend cruises 
  • Community Cruise 
    • 12 Boston neighborhood cruises (Harborside neighborhoods (i.e., Chelsea, Charlestown, East Boston, Mattapan, Dorchester, Quincy, Roxbury) and community by association (i.e., Seniors, Latinx, DCF Foster families through Wonderfund, Chinatown) 
  • Volunteer Programs 
    • Open enrollment 
  • Barriers that limit or prevent access, that these programs address: 
    • Language 
    • Uncertainty / Feeling unsafe 
    • Access to Long Wharf / gateways 
    • Cost 
    • Awareness 
 
  • Kristen Berry presented on Group Access 
    • Island Pass 
      • Free trips for up to 250 non-profits serving 15,000 annually 
    • All Access Boston Harbor 
      • 24 free summer trips to Spectacle, Georges  
    • Harbor Discovery Camps 
      • Ranger-led programs with YMCA’s, BCYF’s & Boys & Girls Clubs 
    • School Programs 
      • Boston Public and Charter Schools to Spectacle & Thompson Islands 
    • Barriers that limit or prevent access, that these programs address: 
      • Language 
      • Staff representation 
      • Uncertainty / Feeling unsafe 
      • Cost 
      • Awareness 
  • Elisabeth Colby presented on Youth Employment Programs (ages 15-25) 
    • 8 Hill to Harbor Corps 
    • 12 Historic Preservation Corps 
    • 12 PLACE Fellowship 
    • 6 NPS Resource Assistants 
    • 8 BHN Internships 
    • Barriers that limit or prevent access, that these programs address: 
      • Staff representation 
      • Uncertainty / Feeling unsafe 
      • Awareness 

Question and Answers 

(Q) Michael Creasey asked what are some if the barriers you have looked at? 

(A) Elisabeth Colby talked about language, staff representation, uncertainty/feeling unsafe, access/awareness, logistics, mobility constraints, time commitment. 

(A) Rebecca Smerling added cost, fear of getting on a boat. 

(A) Sophia Bass Werner from the NPS read comments from the chat: current skepticism and fear towards the uniform and government.  

(Q) Chris Cook added that he has gratitude towards all the work that goes into bring people out to the Harbor Islands.  

(A) Rebecca Smerling added that during COVID-19 this had been harder.  They did not do any large group gatherings or free ferry days, but offered vouchers to groups to come back with their families. They went to essential worker organizations to also hand out vouchers to come to the Islands. They also offered half-price Fridays in the Fall. 

(Q) Michael asked does any of the other Partners wanted to add anything as this is a holistic approach? 

(A) Arthur Pearson from TIOBEC affirmed that having this many groups working on Public Access has benefit as a combined impact. TIOBEC has worked on access issues with Green Ambassadors and Camp Harborview. All these groups are working on it at different angles and the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.  

(A) Susan Kane from DCR said it was a great presentation. It was great to see the numbers all bundled up that way. It was also nice to hire many of these youth participants as employees down the road and see them come full circle.   We can still do better though. 

(Q) Cathy Stone from BHN was wondering where we should put more effort? What should be our future goals? 

(A) Chris Mancini from STHSTB said that there is always more room on the boat! None of these programs would be around with all the hard work from NPS and DCR rangers. We need to look at representation.  If you look at the members on the screen today, we do not reflect the community of Boston. We need to make these places welcoming to the owners of this public land. It would be nice to do this in break out rooms to dive deeper into these issues. 

(A) Kristen Berry from STHSTB said there is always more room on the boat, but getting people to the boat is a challenge in itself.  We want to solve these problems, but we need to ask our groups what are their issues in access.  

(A) Elisabeth Colby from NPS added that there is a full suite of initiatives, it is supporting academic engagement, play-based engagement, employee/development opportunity, family outreach, neighborhood presence, increasing visibility of the Islands as spaces where people can go, and increasing to make investments into the community. It is an expensive suite of programs to run. Chartering boats and buses are a lot of money. It is not about the one day on the Island, but building a catalogue of experiences. It is not just an issue with the Islands, but a systemic issue at public lands nationally. What are the best models out there that we can be borrowing to put into practice here on the Harbor Islands? 

(A) Cathy Stone added that the staff do a great job and maybe the Partnership members will come up with some ideas.  

(A) Rebecca added that these programs are strategically layered on top of each other. The Harbor Discovery camps offered in a certain neighborhood, they try to offer a Community Cruise opportunity in that neighborhood so they can come back with their parents. They try to inform them about Free Ferry Days or about the Library Pass program. They hope their visit is not just a one off. They would prefer they come out multiple times even in the same summer. And hope the kids become their own ambassadors.  

(Q) Elizabeth Solomon noted that about 50,000 people received access to the islands, but how many people visited the Island in 2019? 

(A) Rebecca Smerling said, that about 100,000 people visited the islands in 2019, but we should note that 20,000 did not touch the Islands as they were on a Cruise. 
 

(Q) Elizabeth Solomon asked what are the not for profit organizations taking part in the Island Pass program? 

(A) Rebecca Smerling said that DCR and BHN work together to get together to permit these requests. We have about 15,000 non-profit groups on their email list.  The previous application did not target certain audiences, but the current application they now ask questions like mission, language spoken at home, school lunch subsidy.   

(Q) Cathy Stone from BHN asked have we done a survey and evaluations of these programs? 

(A) Elisabeth Colby noted that in 2016-2017 they did a large survey of participants in access program.  

(Q) Anne Smith White from the Trustees asked are there any organizations that help provided transportation to get to and from their communities? 

(A) Chris Cook from the City of Boston mentioned Mass Cultural Council’s Big Yellow School Bus program. He also noted that the average bus can cost up to $500 to charter.  Noted that philanthropic giving could really move the needle by getting kids to the boat. 

(A) Sophia also noted that getting the bus for youth groups is great, but often times the bus may not line up to the ferry schedule. 

(A) Arthur Pearson from Thompson Island said it is a constant battle and a big expense and the diminishing capacity of buses and ferries does not help.  He noted that the cost for experience for each child is only going up and if we want to have scale it will cost more money. 

(Q) From the chat, are there enough park staff to work on these programs? 

(A) Elisabeth Colby said many of the programs out there are to just get youth to the Islands for a self-directed experience. Not all of them receive a facilitated NPS/DCR/BHN program.  There will never be enough staff to facilitate a program for every youth group so that is why they are creating a variety of asynchronous and self-guided materials. Coming out of this pandemic, there will be an increase need for more staff, but also a desire for more independent experiences.  

(A) Kathy Abbott noted that Boston Harbor Now is always committed to finding funds to help support public subsidy. 

Thompson Island Conservation Restriction Update, Marc Albert, National Parks of Boston and Felicia Bakaj, MA Dept of Conservation and Recreation 

  • Michael introduced Felicia who provided the update. 

  • They wanted to provide an update to the Partnership on the progress of the DCR & NPS efforts as part of our role as co-holders of the Thompson Island Conservation Restriction (CR).   

    • As a reminder, DCR & NPS co-hold a CR on Thompson Island, which was negotiated and signed shortly after the establishment of the Boston Harbor Islands National & State Park and the BHI Partnership.   

    • The CR ensures conservation of natural and historic features of the island, and sets conditions for public access to the island.   

  • Updates since the last meeting 

    • Last week they conducted a full CR monitoring visit on the island.   

    • Over the past several months, DCR, NPS & Thompson Island Outward Bound have begun a full review of public access and associated communications.   

    • DCR & NPS have met several times to draft language and recommendations for public communications  

      • This includes common information across all park and partner websites -- the Bostonharborislands.org visitor site, as well as NPS, DCR, and TIOBEC sites.   

      • The full text of the CR is now available on the NPS website, and they are working to get a visually accessible version of our recent presentation to the BHIP up there as well.  

      • The info will include rules and procedures for how public can visit the island.  

      • Similar information would also be posted on signage, which could be placed at several locations: on the island at the pier and the spit, as well as public access points between the beach and the upland, and at public ferry departure locations.  

  • They have also begun developing alternatives for public ferry access to Thompson Island.  

  • The next step in the process is a meeting with all three partners, as required by the CR.

     

Roundtable Report-outs 

Massachusetts Water Resource Authority, Carolyn Fiore 

  • Fishing Pier is done.  Physically accessible parking lot is complete, and this summer they will be expanding the public access parking lot.  

City of Boston, Chris Cook 

  • Climate Ready Charlestown and Climate Ready East Boston are in the works. 

  • Have capital funds to look at Christopher Columbus Park and look forward to collaborating with BPDA, BHN, NPS, and other partners/stakeholders. 

Boston Planning and Redevelopment Authority, Rich McGuinness 

  • Kicked off our public engagement process for the design and use guidelines for the Downtown Waterfront. 

  • Can sign up for workshops following links on their website. 

MassPort Authority, Conor LeBlanc 

  • MassPort Marine Terminal in South Boston project received approval from BPDA board, with construction hoping to start later this year. 

  • Commonwealth Pier construction is going forward. The companies that operate vessels along the apron will continue to operate throughout construction. 

  • Piers Park 3 project has public meeting coming up at the end of the month. 

  • Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a contract for the rock removal component in the Harbor dredging project. 

United States Coast Guard, CMDR Myles Greenway 

  • Starting the transition in the Change in Command with CAPT Kailie Benson on July 2nd. She did serve at the Port as a Marine Inspector Bag Carrier, so she is familiar with the Port.  

Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center, Arthur Pearson 

  • A lot of press to get urban children of color outside this summer. 

  • Have an agreement in concept with BPDA regarding berth 10 in the Seaport to replace floats by EDIC Pier. Have a grant to support this from the local Hilton.  

  • Summer learning program – provide free 21-day residential program for BPS students in late June through July.  This will be a part of the BPS’s fifth quarter of learning with 50 hours of academics from a certified BPS teacher.  This solves the transportation by bus issue as they stay on the island. 

  • Green Ambassadors program will continue this Summer in-person and will follow COVID-19 protocols. 

  • Working on two programs with the BPS both online and in-person that would bring hundreds of sixth and ninth graders.  They are still working out some of the details and logistics.  

  • They are a part of the Higher Ground Surround Care program in Roxbury to bring kids out to the Island. 

  • In regards to the CR, we are working with NPS and DCR. 

BHI Advisory Council, Elizabeth Solomon 

  • With the change in administration the Advisory Council might be revived soon.

Trustees of the Reservation, Anne Smith-White 

  • She is the portfolio director for the South Shore, which includes Worlds End. 

  • Piers Park updates, continuing community-lead design for Phase 3. Launched a feedback survey and received over 200 different responses. These community design meetings will be in both English and Spanish. 

Department of Conservation and Recreation, Susan Kane 

  • Team out on island getting it ready. 

  • Fully underway for hiring. Going to be fully staffed this summer. 

  • In plans with NPS and BHN on what this summer looks like. 

  • 50 additional moorings will be installed off Peddocks Island, and hopefully installed before main boating season. 

  • In the process to get boats inspected. 

  • Planning process on Georges Island and making Georges Island more energy efficient with the ultimate goal to be net-zero. 

National Park Service, Marc Albert 

  • A new Department of the Interior Secretary has been confirmed, Deborah Haaland. She is the first ever Native American Cabinet member.  Hope to have her out her for our Anniversary Year. 

  • The Revolutionary Harbor Series is continuing with public programming:  

    • March 31, second lecture in series (virtual), called Signs of Spring from 7 – 8:15 pm, register on Eventbrite..   

    • April 21, third and final event in the lecture series (virtual) on The Stone Living Lab: 7 – 8:15 pm, register on Eventbrite  

  • The BHI eNewsletter’s April edition is forthcoming. The newsletter has info on all upcoming programming & events, to sign up, sign up here to get it in your inbox.  

  • The NPS has received a ton of helpful feedback from all of the landowners stretching from the Graves to Worlds End as part of the project to document the condition and significance of historic features throughout the park, part of a project to consider additional National Register listings of properties and to help prioritize historic preservation and landscape management. The NPS History Program is now consolidating the feedback in order for the contractors at Public Archeology Lab to develop a final draft. Thank you to all of you & your staff who participated.   

  • The Partnership Operations Committee, currently chaired by Marc Albert of NPS, will begin sharing monthly meeting notes with Angela Allison for distribution, re-establishing a practice from earlier years that follows from the BHIP meeting bylaws. Meeting notes will go out to Partnership members bi-monthly with notes from prior meetings.   

  • They are continuing to work with Red Bridge Group on 25th anniversary planning. They understand that most of you have met with Cathy & Alicia to provide info on how your organization can support these planning efforts. They look forward to hearing more from Red Bridge at future meetings.   

Boston Harbor Now, Kathy Abbott 

  • Had 400 people join our online lecture series with the National Park Service.   

  • Getting ferry schedule together for the season. 

  • Boston Harbor Cruises is excited to get back out on the water. 

  • Received City of Boston Community Preservation grant of $125,000 to build permanent shade structure out on Georges Island at the North picnic area. Still waiting on City Council vote to approve. 

  • Received grant from anonymous donor to upgrade screen at the BHI Welcome Center on the Greenway. Hope to have it complete by end of June or early July. 

Public Comment

Suzanne Gall Marsh, Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands 

(Q) Yesterday was the first meeting of the DCR Special Commission. Please given an update on the public process? 

(A) Priscilla mentioned she was not at the meeting, but the Commissioner was.  She did not know how many additional meetings there will be.  The report is due at the end of June 

Joan Delaney from Quincy, MA 

(Q) The CR says that Thompson Island must be open every day.  Asked if Arthur would meet with her? 

(A) Arthur said he would consider it with guidance from his Board.   

(Q) She wanted to know when he would respond. 

(A) He said he will talk to his trustees this week. He will email her with a response. 

Rachel Vincent 

(Q) Have advisory boards been officially un-suspended? Or are members just in prep for when that moment comes? 

(A) Michael Creasey mentioned he had not heard anything specifically, yet. Angela Allison is looking into this. 

(A) Elizabeth mentioned there has been increased interest to get it reinstated.  

Adjournment 

Michael Creasey requested a motion to adjourn the meeting.  Marc made a motion to adjourn, seconded by Priscilla. Motion passed unanimously and meeting adjourned at 4:33 pm.

January 19, 2021

Meeting Minutes

Virtual
3:00-4:30 pm

Attendance

Kathy Abbott, Boston Harbor Now
Susan Kane, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
Richard McGuinness, Boston Planning and Development Agency
Marc Albert, National Park Service
Carolyn Fiore, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
Michael Creasey, National Park Service
Priscilla Giegis, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
Fred Laskey, MA Water Resources Authority
Nick Black, The Trustees of the Reservation
Chris Cook, City of Boston
Vidya Tikku, The Trustees of the Reservation
CAPT Eric Doucette, US Coast Guard
CMDR Myles Greenway, US Coast Guard
Arthur Pearson, Thompson Island Outward Bound
Rob Moir, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council*
Maureen Cavanaugh, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council*
Elizabeth Solomon, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council*

*Representing individual opinions only during period of advisory council suspension.

Call to Order and Introductions

Chairman Laskey called meeting to order at 3:01 pm. Approval of minutes from November 17th, Michael Creasey moved it and Carolyn Fiore seconded. Partnership voted unanimously. Meetings minutes were approved as written and distributed.

Partnership Business

New policy regarding Special Government Employees, Michael Creasey, National Park Service

  • National Park Service Updates on Partnership Nominations and Policies
As of October 26, 2020, the following changes should be noted regarding nominations and policy changes related to the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership:

Nominations:
The Department of the Interior has determined that the Partnership can proceed in obtaining nominations to fill any vacancies or expired terms for Boston Harbor Islands Partnership.  

Policy Change:
  • Partnership members are no longer considered Special Government Employees (SGE’s). Appointees have been re-designated as “representatives” to the Partnership. Any new Partnership members will be appointed as representatives as well.
  • Partnership members will no longer be subject to the SGE requirements of completing ethics training and submitting financial disclosure forms (OGE-Form 450) on an annual basis.
  • Members are still subject to the standard ethics language: "No Partnership or subcommittee member will participate in any Partnership or subcommittee deliberations or votes relating to a specific party matter before the Department or its bureaus and offices including a lease, license, permit, contract, grant, claim, agreement, or litigation in which the member has a direct financial interest." An ethics guidebook will provide clarity on obligation.
  • Bylaws updates – to reflect policy change regarding SGE to representatives, Article 3, section 8
  • Updating teleconferencing language
  • Change Chairman to Chair throughout document
Question and Answers

(Q) Elizabeth Solomon had question regarding bylaws. She noted that this was the second time it has been changed in two meetings. She also wanted to know who is on the bylaw committee and how are changes being made? She also noted that if we are making changes we should look at all the bylaws and update them, for example standing committees.

(A) Fred Laskey said Elizabeth was right and that Austin Blackmon, Fred Laskey, and Kathy Abbott are some of the people on the bylaws committee. And said they are holding off on appointing committees given the Advisory Council status.

(Q) Rob Moir said the Partnership is a unique government form. He also said there was lots of information on the bylaws regarding voting and that official members should be included in language of standing committees in Article III, Section 4.  And he said that each of these members are appointed by their organization not the Partnership and decisions regarding use of land is based on landowner. 

(A) Fred said anyone interested in joining the bylaws committee reach out to Fred by next meeting.

(Q) Elizabeth asked if these edits have to be approved by an outside body?

(A) Michael said no as the bylaws language came from enabling legislation and that the Partnership members have to be approved be Secretary of the Interior.  He said that there are many members who are here are not approved voting members and that there are also issues regarding term limits. He said the nominating and bylaws committee have investigated guidance and why these are there.   

(A) Fred said things may change under a new administration.

(A) Michael also noted that of the six standing committees, the park operations committee is very active under Marc Albert and was lead by Susan Kane for many years. And he said that to Rob Moir’s point there are several outside Partnership members on the park operations committee, like Save the Harbor Save the Bay which are active on this standing committee. 

 

Fred asked for the edits to bylaws move forward. Rob Moir moved the edits and Kathy Abbott seconded it. Partnership voted unanimously to approve bylaws as distributed. Bylaws were approved.

Presentations

Anniversaries Committee, Cathie Barner and Alicia Leuba, Red Bridge Group 
Powerpoint Presentation

  • Priscilla Geigis introduced Red Bridge Group
  • Cathie shared her presentation: Boston Harbor Islands Anniversary Framework
    • BHI Anniversary Project Objective: Position the Park and Partnership for significant success in access, visitation, inclusive interpretation and excellence in shared stewardship over the next 25 years
    • Project Goals
      • Increase awareness and advocacy for Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park
      • Celebrate success: looking back to move forward
      • Enhance community engagement in all the park has to offer
      • Update strategic vision for next 25 years
    • Project Goal #1: Increase Awareness and Advocacy
      • Promoting a series of Anniversary events
      • Creating a celebration/success video
      • Establish a Call to Action
    • Project Goal #2: Celebrate 25/50 Years of Success
      • Co-brand and offer 25+ anniversary programs for public engagement and enjoyment
      • Develop 2 Anniversary signature events
      • Create commemorative items
    • Project Goal #3: Enhance Community Engagement
      • Undertaking stakeholder mapping to expand and diversify audiences
      • Broadening and deepening community and stakeholder partnerships
    • Project Goal #4: Update Strategic Vision
      • Reviewing GMP (General Management Plan) and updating vision for the future
    • Project Organization
      • Create a collaborative team structure that leverages the strengths and resources of all Partners and stakeholders
    • Team Structure
      • Anniversary Steering Committee: Michael Creasey and Priscilla Geigis – Co-Chairs
      • Program Team: Lead TBD
      • Communications Team: Christian Merfield, BHN – Lead
      • Community Engagement Team Lead TBD
    • Implementation Plan
      • Partner groups plan and implement anniversary-branded programming and events (new or existing/ virtual or in-person) with guidance and coordination from the Programs Team
      • BHN, DCR and NPS plan two Anniversary-branded signature events –one to kick off season in the Spring and a gala in late Fall (virtual or in-person TBD) in coordination with the Programs Team
      • A video of BHI accomplishments and success is produced by Communications Team and used throughout the year
      • Stakeholder mapping and expanded community engagement undertaken by Community Engagement Team
      • A commemorative item is produced by the Programs Team and utilized throughout the Anniversary year
      • A “call to action” is developed by the Steering Committee to be leveraged throughout the year and through the updated strategic vision
    • Request of Partners
      • Staff to serve on Planning Teams
      • Plan and brand anniversary activities
      • Promote anniversary activities to your networks
      • Participate in key events
  • Angela Allison from NPB will be liaison between different committees to the Anniversary Committee
  • Alicia Leuba shared out that she wants this to be a collaborative approach. And she hopes that everyone can participate in this Gold and Silver anniversary.  Cathie and her will follow-up with Partnership members individually.

Question and Answers

(Q) Priscilla Geigis asked how can the Partnership “rebrand” items already in development?
(A) Cathie Barner said there will be sending out a packet with comprehensive communication and they should serve your core mission.
(A) Alicia Leuba said there will be ways in which we can work together as partners and to think creatively.
(A) Fred Laskey said it should not compete, but complement.

(Q) Vidya Tikku asked about target date to launch the Anniversaries?
(A) Fred Laskey said not yet given the current pandemic. 
(A) Cathie said late February and early March, but there will be a digital component.

(Q) Rob Moir commented we should change from discovery to engagement with the islands. Move into Harbor Islands 2.0.
(Q) Marc Albert asked about reconsidering the General Management Plan. Most events seem public facing, which is fantastic, but internally are we doing anything? 
(A) Cathie said we should be keen observers and look at our success that could be checked off the list. She mentioned the work on Peddocks as an example.
(A) Alicia mentioned that an internal subcommittee will look at feedback from stakeholders.

(Q) Maureen Cavanaugh mentioned we should look at the previous goals developed.
(A) Alicia said that was a good idea.

(Q) Kathy mentioned the Partnership programmatic working group should be included. And we should be including many stakeholders.

Fred thanked the presenters and mentioned the Anniversaries planning would bring incredible life into the Partnership. And that anyone with ideas or questions please email Alicia and Cathie as well as Michael and Priscilla as co-chairs of Anniversaries Committee. He then turned it over to the public for comments and questions.

Liza Stearns, National Parks of Boston:
(Q) Given pandemic, a hallmark might be creative tools and delivery systems that continue to make the islands and harbor accessible for public health and wellness. Demonstrate nimble, creative, and responsive thinking. Thoughts?

Suzanne Gall Marsh, Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands:
(Q) A springboard could be National Park week April 18-25 and National Volunteer week 4/18-4/24.
(Q) Will there be a logo competition or will it be designed in-house? New Bedford Whaling NP has been posting their 25th anniversary logo and updates on Facebook for several weeks.”
(A) Michael said great question regarding logo, but we are not there yet.  We will take a look at New Bedford to see what they have done for branding.

Roundtable Report-outs

BHI Advisory Council, Elizabeth Solomon

  • No updates

Trustees of the Reservation, Nick Black

  • Committee kick-off for Piers Park Phase 3 in both English and Spanish. Will include a community feedback survey to see what the community would like to see.

Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center, Arthur Pearson

  • Stepped out of meeting, no updates provided.

Boston Harbor Now, Kathy Abbott

  • MBTA service to Charlestown and Hingham will stop this week. Hopefully new administration will change this.
  • Working with BHC on reservation system for this summer.
  • BHI Pavilion nominated for award by BSA. BHN received anonymous grant to update digital displays.
  • Thanks for Partnership who have continued to support virtual programming.
  • Park Newsletter is now online. Contributions are welcome – please reach out to Christian Merfield to submit those.

City of Boston, Chris Cook

  • Working on heat resilience study.
  • Finalizing on consultant for Urban Forestry Masterplan.
  • Starting public engagement on Climate Ready East Boston and Charlestown Phase 2.

Boston Planning and Redevelopment Authority, Rich McGuinness

  • Working on design and use guidelines on the Downtown waterfront.
  • To sign up for calendar alerts regarding Downtown waterfront, you can do so from their website

Department of Conservation and Recreation, Susan Kane

  • Doing a lot of planning for next year with a lot of unknowns including hiring and camping process.
  • Working on boats.
  • Expanding mooring program for Peddocks Phase 2 (adding an additional 50 moorings).
  • Starting up SCA Historic Preservation Crew in partnership with NPS for Peddocks Island.
  • Probably opening up the season with the same restrictions in place.

MassPort Authority, Conor LeBlanc

  • Excited about Piers Park 3 project.
  • Commonwealth Pier construction in South Boston is continuing which will include public plaza and expanded Harborwalk.

United States Coast Guard, CAPT Doucette

  • Ramping up for spring inspection.
  • Last year here for CAPT Doucette and CAPT Kailie Benson will be taking over as CAPT of port.
  • Change of Command will be in May or June.

National Park Service, Michael Creasey

  • Centennial Funds (a match between NPS and DCR) will be used for restoration of Fort Warren. Hope to have schematic design by next month
  • Little Brewster Boathouse rehabilitation project is a partnership between NPS and USCG. NPS will do the design and USCG will do the construction.
  • Public Archelogy Lab will be doing an inventory of above-ground potentially significant historic resources in the park, as part of a park-wide assessment of National Register eligibility for historic properties.
  • Visitor engagement has been continuing to occur virtually. Winter Wonder is January 30th and 31st. 
  • Feb 17, first program of the 2021 Revolutionary Harbor Series: Revolutionary Harbor: The Transatlantic World of Peter Faneuil, Wed 2/17 at 7pm. Tickets through EventBrite (linked here)
  • BHI Newsletter. News and features from around the harbor. Sign up to get it in your inbox (linked here).
  • Recruiting for two internships for our Youth Programs. If you know of anyone, please reach out to Marc Albert or himself.

Massachusetts Water Resource Authority, Carolyn Fiore

  • Nut Island Headworks project continuing for the next few years, but public access not affected.

Public Comment

Suzanne Gall Marsh, Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands
(Q) What is going on with the Boston Light stewardship transfer process? 
(A) CAPT Doucette said they are continuing to work on that and GSA is managing it. They are looking for a federal partner to transfer to before the process is opened up to private sector. It usually takes two to five years. We are just shy of a year into this process.

Joan Delaney from Quincy, MA
(Q) Mrs. Delaney had comments regarding the conservation restriction (CR) at Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center (TIOBEC)and Colonial Ordinance as it relates to birding. She mentioned that on the Quincy side of the Spit there is signage up explaining the Colonial Ordinances and public’s ability to access the Spit and beaches. She noted that this information should be displayed on the NPS website.She mentioned her request for information through the Freedom of Information Act, stating that she received redacted emails, which were released by the Secretary of State that included responses from DOI Solicitor. She also mentioned her interaction with TIOBEC staff. She specifically alleged that a TIOBEC employee assaulted her on the Quincy side of the spit. Additionally, Mrs. Delaney alleged that she was bitten by a TIOBEC employee’s dog while on the island. She also alleged that an NPS volunteer was harassed and held by 3 TIOBEC employees in a garage, while 3 NPS employees were also in the garage. She also mentioned the limited number of Boston Public School children who attend TIOBEC programming. She also noted as a non-profit TIOBEC has a lot of money to pay Arthur Pearson’s salary, but are not doing more to support public access. Lastly, she offered her opinion regarding on how the Partnership should intervene and that Fred Laskey, Jim Montgomery, and Michael Creasey should be responding.
(A) Fred mentioned this is not the forum to address public access on Thompson Island for this as the Partnership does not have decision-making authority over any private landowners. The Partnership members have been responsive to any requests made by Mrs. Delaney and any other members of the public. Fred continued that the Partnership is trying its best to increase public access to all islands. Fred encouraged Mrs. Delaney to report any allegations of assault or harassment to law enforcement and follow up with all appropriate authorities. Fred expressed condolences for what Mrs. Delaney was reporting and wished her well. Fred addressed the question at hand of Colonial Ordinances regarding hunting, fishing, and fowling, stating that he is not in a position to render legal rulings on this or other matters. Fred reminded everyone that the Partnership members are committed to public access and an enhanced visitor experience. Fred reminded Mrs. Delaney that she and anyone else can always speak at future partnership meetings in any public comment period, stating that she and all members of the public will always be met with respect.

(Q) Joan mentioned that DCR and NPS are the grantors of the Conservation Restriction and they can hold TIOBEC accountable for public access concerns and that this is more of an issue of human and civil rights.
(A) Fred said that NPS, DCR, TIOBEC, and he went out to Thompson Island to understand the issue of the conservation restriction, the spit, and public access. He mentioned that she has an important argument as public access is important to everyone on the Partnership, but he wished she would limit the personal attacks. The Partnership is not in a place to make an edict.  As for the alleged assaults, Fred again recommended that Mrs. Delaney take those up with the appropriate legal authorities. He also wanted the Partnership to note that all of his written responses to Mrs. Delaney were reviewed by lawyers and met the requirements by the Freedom of Information Act.
(A) Michael Creasey mentioned that the CR is a legal construct between TIOBEC, DCR, and NPS. He noted that they are working through those issues which relate to the CR and that the other issues she brought up are not relevant to the CR, which only addresses access on island, not on the spit. He said Fred as Chair of the Partnership does not have authority over the CR nor public access on any island. And said the Partnership meetings allow for a public platform around any issue the public might bring forward though he recommended that issues of the CR should be brought to NPS and DCR in a different format

(Q) Joan said that Fred is the executive director of the MWRA and that he may not have authority over this issue, but that he has an incredible amount of power. She went on to say that he needs to respond when people get assaulted, attacked by dogs, or when NPS locks an NPS volunteer in a garage and corners him there.
(A) Fred said he recommended she pursue these allegations with appropriate legal authorities and that she has raised the issue here and many influential people have heard her concern. He said that she is always welcome back, but the Partnership would be better served if she limited the personal attacks and stuck to the merit of the issues.  

(Q) Joan lastly asked if Fred could have Dave Santucci forward her emails to the members of the Partnership as he has not been doing that.
(A) Fred said he will do that.

Chris Mancini, Save the Harbor Save the Bay
(Q) New administration at the federal level, looking forward to taking steps to reinstate the advisory council. Offering assistance in any way that he can (formal letter to new Secretary of Interior, etc.). Any insight into reinstating the FACA?
(A) Michael & Fred responded that they would let Chris know of any opportunities that arise.

Adjournment

Fred Lasky requested a motion to adjourn the meeting. Priscilla made a motion to adjourn, seconded by Michael. Motion passed unanimously and meeting adjourned at 4:32 pm.

 

2020 Meeting Notes

November 17, 2020

Meeting Minutes

Virtual
3:00 - 4:30 pm

Attendance

Kathy Abbott, Boston Harbor Now
Susan Kane, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
Richard McGuiness, Boston Planning and Development Agency
Marc Albert, National Park Service
Carolyn Fiore, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
Stewart Dalzell, MassPort Authority
Michael Creasey, National Park Service
Priscilla Giegis, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
Fred Laskey, MA Water Resources Authority
Nick Black, The Trustees of the Reservation
Cathy Stone, Boston Harbor Now
CAPT Eric Doucette, US Coast Guard
Arthur Pearson, Thompson Island Outward Bound
Rob Moir, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council*
Maureen Cavanaugh, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council*
Elizabeth Solomon, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council*

*Representing individual opinions only during period of advisory council suspension.

Call to Order and Introductions

Chairman Laskey called meeting to order at 3:07 pm.
Approval of minutes from September 15th, Kathy Abbot moved it and Richard McGuiness seconded.

Partnership Business

New policy regarding Special Government Employees, Fred Laskey, Chair, Massachusetts Water Resource Authority

  • National Park Service Updates on Partnership Nominations and Policies
    As of October 26, 2020, the following changes should be noted regarding nominations and policy changes related to the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership:

    Nominations:
    The Department of the Interior has determined that the Partnership can proceed in obtaining nominations to fill any vacancies or expired terms for Boston Harbor Islands Partnership.  

    Policy Change:

  • Partnership members are no longer considered Special Government Employees (SGE’s).  Appointees have been re-designated as “representatives” to the Partnership.  Any new Partnership members will be appointed as representatives as well.
  • Partnership members will no longer be subject to the SGE requirements of completing ethics training and submitting financial disclosure forms (OGE-Form 450) on an annual basis.
  • Members are still subject to the standard ethics language:  "No Partnership or subcommittee member will participate in any Partnership or subcommittee deliberations or votes relating to a specific party matter before the Department or its bureaus and offices including a lease, license, permit, contract, grant, claim, agreement, or litigation in which the member has a direct financial interest." An ethics guidebook will provide clarity on obligation.

Presentations

Coastal Resilience - Long Wharf Planning, Richard McGuiness, Boston Planning and Development Agency

PowerPoint Presentation

 

  • Introduction by Fred Laskey

  • City of Boston has completed four major neighborhood resilience plans

    • East Boston & Charlestown Phase 1 – October 2017

      • East Boston Greenway:

      • Last summer, the City installed a deployable flood wall across the Greenway in East Boston that would provide immediate protection to more than 4,200 residents, at least 70 businesses, transportation tunnels and critical service providers.

      • The flood wall across the Greenway under Sumner Street blocks the current 1% annual chance flood, with one foot of freeboard.

      • Cost: The total cost of the project was $125,000.

    • South Boston – October 2018

      • Fort Point Channel:

      • Although the surrounding areas of the Fort Point Channel have been spared significant damage to date, action is needed now to prevent direct physical damage and loss of use due to future flooding.

      • The City recently applied for a $10 million pre-disaster FEMA flood mitigation grant and was selected as the state’s proposal to represent the Commonwealth in the grant process.

      • Cost: $108 - $197 million for implementation, $1.6 - $3.0 million for annual maintenance

    • North End & Downtown – October 2020

      • North End:

      • At Langone Park and Puopolo Playground, a 4.5 acre open space area located along Boston Harbor in the North End, the City of Boston is implementing innovative open space climate resilience design.

      • This is the first project within the Boston Parks and Recreation system to integrate the standards set forth by the City’s Climate Resilient Design Standards and Guidelines.

      • This project is a significant first in the implementation of open space as climate resilience design.

    • Dorchester – October 2020

      • Moakley Park:

      • The City recently developed a Vision Plan for the future of the park to protect it from future flood events, retain and enhance key active recreational amenities, and create an equitable access to the waterfront.

      • This is an huge opportunity to build a destination park in Boston and can be compared to the scale of Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York City.

      • Cost: Phase one is approximately $60 million, total cost is estimated at $350 million

    • Solutions include:

      • Elevated mechanical systems, solar panels & district microgrids, elevated first floor, resilient building design, green infrastructure bioswale, small business preparedness program, adaption as a tool for economic development, climate-ready zoning, education/engagement initiative, temporary flood barrier, expanded maintained urban tree canopy, protective & floodable waterfront park, district scale flood protection, potential harbor barrier

  • Long Wharf

    • Private owners play a critical role

      • The City’s recent report found that properties located around Long Wharf are among the most vulnerable in the neighborhood to the impacts of climate change.

      • Given the complexity of property ownership around the waterfront, the City is encouraging the development of a stakeholder group for Long Wharf.

      • In addition to work the City is already doing to protect areas along the waterfront, the group will be tasked to work together to make decisions about potential near-term actions that property owners can take to help build a resilient Boston waterfront together.

    • It’s risky today

      • Areas like Long Wharf represent a major flood entry point in Boston. It could experience a major flooding event today, under certain conditions, like King Tides.

      • We are committed to working with all stakeholders to urgently explore all feasible options to reduce risk in Downtown Boston.

    • It’s complicated

      • We need new levels of public-private coordination, alongside collaboration among private owners, in order to achieve a world-class, resilient waterfront.

      • With effective engagement from and with private stakeholders, the waterfront will remain a destination for residents and visitors generations to come.

      • 17th Century structure that is low lying

      • How to integrate flood barriers along piers and wharves and private property owners

    • It’s urgent

      • Public-private coordination can take time - and Boston knows that infrastructure projects do, too. Climate change is not waiting.

      • We must work together to obtain a continuous line of protection in the district in a timely and cost-effective manner, given the expectation of new and growing flood risks within the next decade.

  • North End and Downtown Key Takeaways

    • Understanding flood risk

    • All hands on deck approach

    • Water transportation & activation

    • Strategic open space paired with layered approach

  • North End

    • Reconstructing T-wharf

    • Integrating open space

    • Water transportation and activation

  • Planning Process

    • Technical Analysis

      • Boston Harbor flood risk model

    • Community Engagement

      • North End and Downtown residents

      • Downtown employees

    • Design Scenario Planning

      • Evaluation Criteria:

        • Effectiveness

        • Feasibility

        • Design life and adaptability

        • Environment & public health benefits

        • Social equity & quality of life

        • Value creation

  • Major flood entry point for Downtown

    • Downtown areas have several high-risk flood entry points, with flood risk today expanding significantly by 2030

    • Current flooding level floods Long Wharf, which the report identifies a near-term catalytic project as part of a broader strategy for the district

    • 9” sea level rise (2030) would go past Faneuil Hall and significant areas around the wharves would experience elevated risks of flooding

    • 40” sea level rise (2070) would expand further into the Financial District and the areas around North Station and Bulfinch Triangle

  • The City is considering several approaches

    • A mix of spines, open spaces, Harborwalk enhancements, and offshore elements make up the city’s preferred option

  • There are significant trade-offs between options

    • High levels of coordination between City and private owners - and among private owners themselves - are required

    • Strategies at the water’s edge uses both City-owned and privately owned land as flood protection

    • Strategies on public land uses the City-owned right-of-way along Commercial Street and Atlantic Avenues as flood protection

    • The City’s preferred option is not guaranteed as it presents many challenges, including cost, complexity of collaboration, and engineering & design

  • Target Elevations of Flood barriers

    • 4-9.5 feet above grade in order to deter flooding in Callahan Tunnel and New Charles River Dam

  • In some cases, a layered approach may provide the most safety

    • Alignment inland, lower edge with access

    • Adapted bulkheads and Harborwalk

    • Outboard action

    • Elevated roadway

  • Downtown & Wharf District Design Options

    • Creating new green and blue spaces

    • Creating soft shorelines and wetlands

    • Reconfiguration of marinas to reduce the bottlenecking around Long Wharf and T-Wharf

    • Elevated Harborwalk

  • Cost estimates

    • Up to $125 million for Downtown

    • About $100 million would be needed for preferred option, while about $50 million would be needed for the fallback option

    • 10% city capital will not cover the cost of this

    • FEMA has a $50 million-dollar matching grant

  • Timeline

    • We need to have protection in place before 2030. And given the urgency, we need to work more closely together to achieve this timeline for protecting the district

    • Catalytic Action: Downtown & Wharf district (Long Wharf/Central Wharf/Harbor Towers/Christopher Columbus Park) (2022-2030)

    • Near-Term Actions: Langone Park & Puopolo Playground (2019-2022); North End Waterfront (Commercial Wharf/Lewis Wharf/Sargents Wharf/Union Wharf) (2022-2030); West End – North End (Lovejoy waterfront, Beverly St & Causeway St, DCR park on the South embankment of the dam) (2030-2040)

    • Mid-Term Actions: West End – North End (waterfront from North Washington Bridge to Langone Park and Puopolo Playground) (2040-2050)

    • Long-Term Actions: Downtown & Wharf District (waterfront from Rowes Wharf to Northern Avenue Bridge) (2050-2070); North End Waterfront (Burroughs Wharf/Battery Wharf) (2050-2070); USCG Properties (2050-2070); Adapted Langone and Puopolo Park Phase II (2050-2070)

  • What’s Next?

    • Citywide Heat Resilience Strategies: Strategies to address the impacts of exposure to extreme heat

    • East Boston Resilient Design Options: Design solutions to address two near-term critical flood entry points

    • East Boston & Charlestown Phase II: Identifying coastal resilience solutions for remaining segments of both neighborhoods

    • Coastal Flood Resilience Overlay District: Integrating resiliency into City zoning to implement resilient design guidelines

  • Point of Contact: Sanjay Seth, City of Boston Climate Resilience Program Manager, sanjay.seth@boston.gov

Question and Answers

(Q) What about the Blue Line?
(A) Forming a stakeholders group, which includes MBTA. They are planning to spend $1.7 million to protect their assets.

(Q) What is the timeline?

(A) Looked at impact of greenhouse gas emissions. We are predicting 40” sea level rise by 2070

(Q) You are only predicting until 2070. What happens after that?

(A) Hoping to have more regulations and consensus by then. Also have flexibility to have an additional 1 or 2 feet.

Anniversaries Committee, Michael Creasey, National Park Service, Priscilla Geigis, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation, and Cathie Barner, Red Bridge GroupPowerpoint Presentation

  • Overview from Partnership Meeting Virtual Brainstorm Workshop:

    • What would you like to see that would make for a meaningful anniversary celebration and/or commemoration?

    • What outcomes do you imagine would come from the anniversary year?

  • General Theme

    • Awareness and Advocacy of/for BHI National & State Park

    • Programming

      • Examples: Videos and podcasts

    • Engagement/Visitor Reach (Boston Area and Beyond)

    • Commemorative Items

      • Examples: Coin or t-shirts which could help raise funds

    • Special Events

      • Example: Re-commitment ceremony

    • Looking Back to Move Forward

      • Examples: Sharing stories via StoryCorps format, engaging past employees, sharing indigenous and military history

  • Moving forward:

    • It is something that we need to do to commemorate all our hard work.

    • Wanted to seek support on how to do commemorate these anniversaries. So we are bringing on Cathie Barner who helped BHI in the beginning to help. She now lives in SF and has worked with Golden Gate Partnership

    • Cathie Barner and Red Bridge Group

      • Alicia Leuba has joined Red Bridge Group as Executive Vice President

  • Cathie has history of working on NPS projects and was able to build support for the creation of BHI Partnership park

  • Building on what you have accomplished and moving forward

  • She helped with 75th Anniversary of Golden Gate Bridge

  • She recommended things like a city pride partnership where the Red Sox could have a Harbor Islands night

  • She said there is a need to develop mechanism on how to support this event and a need to bring different communities in.

  • Committee will be meeting to discuss things soon to keep thing moving forward

Thompson Islands Conservation Restriction, Marc Albert, NPS, Felicia Bakaj and Thomas LaRose MA DCR

  • Introduction by Fred Laskey

    • As a follow-up to the issues that were brought regarding the Conservation Restriction (CR) at the July 21 and Sept. 15th Partnership meetings, I requested that DCR and NPS meet on island with TIOBEC to discuss the issues that were brought forward to the Partnership.

    • Want to make it clear that the "Partnership" acts as a convener and facilitator among the agencies and island owners - not a regulator. Both DCR and NPS hold the responsibility for upholding the CR – not the Partnership.

    • Thanked the agency head and their staff for taking the time to travel to Thompson Island and specifically looked at the issues raised by the public including: signage, public access - both escorted and unescorted, access to the island from the spit and communications. 

    • What we discussed and agreed to:  

  • Partners recognized that this year was unique and challenging for public programming and public access due to Covid-19. It limited all access to Thompson as it did for all the public islands in the park. 

  • The partners agreed to look at signage and develop appropriate language that allows the public to better understand the CR intent and rules for public access. The “No Trespassing” signs were installed due to vandalism that had occurred this year to the gardens, a stolen bicycle and tools and people were found trespassing within buildings within the defined building envelope and education areas. TIOBEC has limited staff during the pandemic and they had concerns for their staff’s safety and resources.  

  • Discussed how we can ensure that TIOBEC staff are aware of the CR and proper messaging to visitors.

  • Discussed how the partners communicate the CR and its opportunities it provides for youth and educational programming as well as public access to designated areas. Agreed to post the CR on the NPS website and share with DCR and TIOBEC. Discussed the opportunity to provide greater communication through the Park Newspaper and other park programming communications (website, brochures, etc.) 

  • The partners visited the spit and clarified that the CR specifically states that "No Unescorted Public Access shall be allowed over the so-called spit from Squantum at any time." 

  • The partners agreed to meet at a future date to further review the CR and provide input on the issues presented. 

  • The Boston Harbor Islands were designated as a unit of the National Park Service in 1996

    • Included all the islands in BHI State Park, and numerous other islands and peninsulas, including Thompson Island.

    • Created the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership

  • Thompson Island was the last "unprotected" Boston Harbor Island

    • Continuous educational campus for >160 years

    • Serves thousands of youth annually

    • Part of the BHI National Register Archeological District

    • Diversity of habitats, species, and glacial features

  • History of Thompson Island CR

    • CR was purchased for $4 million in June 2002 by the National Park Service and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

    • $2 million from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund

    • $2 million from the 1996 Massachusetts Open Space Bond Bill

    • Federal, state and non-profit partners

    • The Trust for Public Land helped negotiate transaction and ensure that it is in the public interest

    • "The permanent conservation of Thompson Island is the crowning achievement in the decades-long effort to clean up the harbor and return it to the people of Boston.” Whitney Hatch, the Trust for Public Land

    • “This project completes the permanent protection of all of the Boston Harbor Islands… This marks the final puzzle piece needed to ensure the overall conservation of these historic and natural resources” Massachusetts Secretary of Environmental Affairs Robert Durand

  • What are Conservation Restrictions?

    • Legal agreement between a landowner (Grantor - TIOBEC) and a qualified holding organization (Grantee – DCR + NPS) 

    • Permanent interest in a property, recorded at the Registry of Deeds, that protects the important natural resources and conservation values of a property through all subsequent changes in property ownership

    • Allows the landowner to continue to own, use and manage their land but restricts actions that would harm the conservation value of the land

    • Because every property is distinct and individual landowners have different goals for the conservation of their property, each Restriction contains unique terms

    • CR stewardship includes: monitoring properties to look for any natural or human-made changesand enforcing the terms of the CR when necessary

  • Conservation Restriction purposes:

    • To further the purposes of the Omnibus Park and Public Land Management Act of 1996 establishing the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area;

    • To maintain the significant scenic landscape;

    • To provide important opportunities for public access and recreation;

    • To further the development of educational programs;

    • To protect archaeological resources;

    • To protect important habitats on the Island;

    • To retain the Conservation Area predominantly in its natural, scenic & open condition.

  • Reserved Rights/Permitted Uses

    • Reserved rights are the activities and uses that the landowner (TIOBEC) is permitted to carry out under the terms of the CR

    • These rights are reserved for the landowner and whoever they wish to grant them to

    • Permitted uses come with different levels of oversight by the Grantees (DCR & NPS):

      • Allowed with no further requirements

      • Allowed with prior notice

      • Allowed with prior approval

    • The Building Envelope and Conservation Area have different permitted uses with different levels of oversight

  • Wetland and Archaeological Protection

    • Thompson Island CR does not add any new wetland compliance requirements: all city, state and federal protections remain.

    • Archaeological resources are further protected by the Thompson Island CR:

    • Prior to undertaking any construction that involves excavation or other ground disturbance, TIOBEC must consult with the State Archeologist at the Massachusetts Historical Commission

  • Permitted Uses: Building Envelope

    • Permitted:

      • Maintain and replace existing structures and facilities

      • Repair, rehabilitate and restore the exterior of the Hughes (now Salah) and Lewis Gardner buildings in conformance with Secretary of the Interior’s Standards of Rehabilitations

      • Maintain, construct & install wells, septic systems, and utilities

    • With Notice:

      • Construct new buildings and structures

  • Permitted Uses: Entire CR

    • Permitted Uses:

      • Maintenance, modification and repair of underground utility lines

      • Maintenance, modification, repair and replacement of educational structures

      • Construction of one major additional educational structure, such as a climbing tower or ropes course

      • Construction & maintenance of trails, signs/kiosks consistent with Park Area standards, and other minor education and recreation structures

      • Historical agricultural and horticultural uses

      • Selective pruning, cutting or replanting of vegetation for safety or maintenance

      • Temporary composting of stumps, tree & brush limbs

      • Management of Conservation Area for benefit of wildlife

    • With Notice:

      • Construction of up to 4 additional tent platforms, lean-to’s or other similar temporary education structures

    • With Approval

      • Relocation or installation of new underground utility lines

      • Reconstruction of the root cellar, and the weather station

      • Installation of a wind turbine for alternative energy purposes

      • Conducting archaeological investigations

      • Installation of erosion control measures on the steep shoreline bluff in northern portion of Island

  • Three types Public Access defined by the CR

    • “Unescorted Public Access” (UPA)- Members of the public can have access to the Conservation Area, shoreline and beaches for low-impact, non-motorized, non-commercial outdoor recreational use as defined in the Access Plan under the following conditions:

      • they have UPA Reservations (reservation on a specific day on which UPA is authorized)

      • they enter the Premises from a scheduled UPA Ferry (boat authorized by Thompson to drop off and pick up UPA visitors)

      • they receive orientation from Thompson staff upon arrival and acknowledge agreement to follow applicable rules and practices

    • “Beach Access”- Access by members of the public from individually owned private boats to, and only to, the beaches at the perimeter to the Premises (no access to uplands).

    • “Escorted Public Access”- organized groups of members of the public that are actively supervised during their stay on the Island as approved by TIOBEC

  • Public Access and Access Plan

    • The terms of public access to the island are further defined in a Public Access Plan (CR Exhibit B). 

    • The Access Plan can be modified by mutual agreement

    • The island remains private property; owners have a right to protect their property and staff

    • The owners have the right to close the island to the public in the case of health and safety concerns

  • Public Access from the “Spit”

    • The CR states that there is no allowable Unescorted Public Access to the island from the spit that connects the island to Squantum at low tides;

    • Beach Access includes the spit (i.e. access by private boat, to the beach only)

    • Public Trust Rights/Colonial Ordinances are separate from the CR and not administered by the Grantees (DCR & NPS)

  • CR Stewardship

    • DCR & NPS formally monitored the property in 2005, 2012, 2016 and 2019

    • An ad hoc site visit was made in September 2020 among DCR, NPS, the BHIP chairperson, and TIOBEC due to recent concerns about public access

    • We collectively resolved to:

      • Make the signage on the island perimeter more welcoming and informative, with information about the CR, how the public can access the island, visitor amenities and the rules for public visitors

      • Make sure the CR and public access information is more readily available

      • The CR is now available on the NPS website: https://www.nps.gov/boha/learn/management/conservation-restriction.htm

        (Q) Arthur Pearson wanted to thank Marc and Felicia for their work. TIOBEC respects the CR and wants to help support public access. The primary role within the CR is TIOBEC’s role is education and public access fits as part of that. Seeks to protect the safety of those students who come to Thompson Island

(Q) Why is there unrestricted access to boat owners only? And not those walking across the spit?
(A) None of the folks who wrote the CR are here today. The concern is that during high-tide those without a boat could get stuck on island. The Spit is basically available for about an hour or two. 

Public Comment

Joan Delaney from Quincy, MA

(Q) I don’t have questions. There were about 19,000 visitors to island in 2002, now there are far fewer. Quincy residents will be out there taking photos and birding. Public access is an environmental justice issue.

(A) Thanks for getting our attention and bringing this to our attention. All members of the CR will be working together on this.

Suzanne Gall Marsh, Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands

(Q) Can TIOBEC post the CR on their Website?
(A) We can work with Arthur at TIOBEC to see if that is possible. Additionally, the CR is now posted on the Boston Harbor Islands’ NPS site.
(Q) Did I hear that Alicia Leuba is no longer at TTOR?
(A) Nick Black from TTOR noted that he will fill in for Alicia until someone is nominated. Anne Smith White also filling in.

Roundtable Report-outs

Boston Harbor Now, Kathy Abbott

  • Stone Living Lab
  • Peddocks Island plan
  • Long Wharf projects
  • Board meeting this week. 

MassPort Authority, Stewart Dalzell

  • Piers Park 3 work
  • Boston Harbor Dredging still going on
  • Renovation of Commonwealth Pier, which will include a new public plaza

National Park Service, Michael Creasey

  • Congrats to Rebecca Shoer on her new job as the Stone Living Lab education coordinator

Thompson Islands Outward Bound Education Center, Arthur Pearson

  • Shared video link to McKay School who came out in October 2019. https://www.edutopia.org/video/bringing-core-content-life-outdoor-education

Adjournment

Fred Lasky requested a motion to adjourn the meeting. Michael Creasey made a motion to adjourn, seconded by Kathy Abbott. Motion passed unanimously and meeting adjourned at 4:43 pm.

September 15, 2020

Meeting Minutes

Virtual
3:00-4:30 pm

Attendance

Kathy Abbott, Boston Harbor Now
Susan Kane, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
Marc Albert, National Park Service
Carolyn Fiore, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
Stewart Dalzell, MassPort Authority
Michael Creasey, National Park Service
Priscilla Giegis, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
Fred Laskey, MA Water Resources Authority
Jim Montgomery, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
Alicia Leuba, The Trustees of the Reservation
Cathy Stone, Boston Harbor Now
Chris Cook, City of Boston
Elizabeth Solomon, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council*

*Representing individual opinions only during period of advisory council suspension.

Call to Order and Introductions

Chairman Laskey called meeting to order at 3:02 pm.
Approval of minutes from July 21, Michael Creasey moved it and Marc Albert seconded.

Partnership Business

Review of Bylaws, Michael Creasey, National Parks of Boston

  • Electronic Meetings:
    • Because of COVID-19, wanted to add into bylaws an amendment that the Partnership could hold electronic meetings.
    • Proposal: The Chairman may authorize Partnership meetings be held in an electronic format whereby any or all Partnership members may participate in a meeting of the Partnership, or a committee of the Partnership, by means of a telephone or video conference or by any means of communication by which all persons participating in the meeting are able to communicate with one another, and such participation shall constitute presence at the meeting. 
  • Ethics Compliance:
    • All Partnership members are special gvernment employees, as such must sign certificate of receipt of ethics training.
    • Already a requirement, but wanted t add into bylaws as an amendment.
    • Proposal: As part of the member’s appointment by the Secretary of the Interior, all Partnership members are required to meet all regulatory standards of a Special Government Employee. It is the responsibility of all Partnership members to maintain familiarity with the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, 5 C.F.R. Part 2635. Partnership members are required to file a “certificate of receipt of ethics training” and submit to the Chairman.
  • Both amendments moved, seconded, and approved

Questions and Answers

(Q)  Elizabeth Solomon: What is written into the bylaws now? Are these in addition or editing of bylaws? 
(A) Fred stated these are in addition to the current bylaws. There was nothing in the bylaws about electronic meetings or ethics compliance. Fred then read the bylaws aloud.

(Q)  Cathy Stone asked, if we need to have another vote to approve the two electronic meetings we had before the changes to the bylaw?
(A)  Fred stated the bylaws do not state we cannot have them electronically, but we want to now put it in the bylaws to make sure. 
(A)  Michael noted it is a clarification to meet our current necessity about how we conduct meetings right now.

(Q) Elizabeth would like to propose the electronic meeting amendment should note that meetings if possible be held in person and that under certain circumstances that they be help electronically.
(A) Motion put forward by Elizabeth Solomon and seconded by Michael Creasey. Motion passed unanimously.

Presentations

Peddocks Island Master Plan, Alice Brown, Boston Harbor Now (BHN), Cheri Ruane, Weston Samson

PowerPoint Presentation

  • Introduction by Kathy Abbott

  • Vision Plan

    • Honor history and prepare for a changing future

    • Revitalize and activate historic buildings

    • Increase access with improvements to the overall island experience

    • Build a framework for increasing financial sustainability

    • Develop projects, programs, and park infrastructure that capture the essence of Peddocks

  • Transformative Project Types

    • Discovery and Research Island Ecology

      • Research Partnerships

        • Partner with Academic Institutions

        • Support Agriculture and Aquaculture Pilots

      • Educational Programs and Field Classes

        • Educator Opportunities

        • Stone Living Lab Exhibit

        • Summer Science Learning

      • Support Facilities for Science Learning

        • Innovation Campus

        • Field Science Stations

        • Small Classroom / Lab Space

        • Passive Buildings

    • Explore the Island’s Cultural Landscape

      • Improved Arrival Sequence

      • Vegetation Management

      • Wayfinding

      • Boardwalks

      • Highlight the Island’s Cultural History

        • Highlight Indigenous History

        • Interpret Colonial History

        • Protect and Showcase Military Remains

        • Share the Cottage Story Over Time

      • Create Curated Views

    • Unique Programs to Experience

      • Expanded Indoor and Outdoor Venues

      • Arts Engagement

        • Temporary Exhibitions and Interactive Collections

        • Full Arts Masterplan

      • Expanded Recreation Options

        • Boating and Water Sport Opportunities

        • Better Fishing Amenities

        • On-Land Adventure Opportunities

    • Lots of Great Ways to Spend the Night

      • Expand Modular Accommodations

        • Additional Yurt Amenities

        • Add modular Accommodations

      • Sleep in a Renovated Historic Fort Building

        • Bunk House or Hostel

        • Retreat Center or Inn

      • Expand Camping Amenities

        • Transportation

        • Expand Individual and Group Tent Sites

        • Shower Facilities / Dish Station

        • Lockable Kiosk

  • Infrastructure Investments

    • Enhance Transportation and Access to the Islands

      • Ferries

      • Additional Moorings & Launch System

      • Seasonal Docks & Piers

      • Dedicated Island Ramping Facilities

    • Improve On-Island Operations and Logistics Systems

      • Maintenance Facilities

        • Maintenance and Storage Hub

        • Maintenance Storage Container Outposts

        • Office and Utility Working Space

      • Apartment-Style Accommodations

      • Commercial Kitchen

      • Reservation Systems

  • The Physical Report

    • It will be printed and bound. It will have an accompanying folder with fold-outs with project info and map for each of the four Transformative Projects.

  • Phasing Plan

    • Phase 1: This first round of projects focuses on partnerships and programs that are already in place or those that would require minimal infrastructural investments, making them relatively quick and simple to accomplish.

      • Expand individual and group tents

      • Vegetation management

      • Better fishing amenities

      • Highlight indigenous history

      • Additional moorings

      • Maintenance storage container outposts

      • Support agriculture and aquaculture pilots

      • Field science stations

      • Wayfinding

    • Phase 2: This second phase of projects is another round of relatively finite projects, though these efforts will require additional investments of design thinking to ensure completion. These efforts either build upon existing partnerships, such as those with DCR staff or SCA project teams, require direct purchase orders, or new partnerships to be put in place.

      • Expand existing yurt amenities

      • Improved arrival sequence

      • Shower facilities/Dish station

      • Create curated views

      • Expanded outdoor venues

      • Temporary exhibitions

      • Lockable kiosk

      • Interpret colonial history

      • On-island visitor transportation

      • Reservation systems

      • Stone Living Lab exhibit

      • Ferries

      • Boating and watersport hub and rentals

      • Seasonal docks

    • Phase 3: The third phase of projects focuses more on built structures, from stabilizing existing infrastructure, to creating new partnerships, to constructing new buildings outright.  Many of these projects lay the groundwork to increase island capacity for future growth and visitorship in novel arenas.

      • Add modular accommodations

      • Boardwalks

      • Commercial kitchen

      • Maintenance and storage hub

      • Partner with academic institutions

      • Summer science learning

    • Phase 4: The fourth phase of projects are similar to those in phase three of scale but focus on more long-range planning efforts. Several of these projects require strategic partnering with non-profit organizations or partial to full renovations of existing buildings.

      • Dedicated island ramping facilities

      • Expanded indoor venues

      • Interactive collections

      • Launch service

      • Full arts master plan

      • Share cottage history

      • Educator opportunities

      • Small classroom/lab space

      • Apartment-style accommodations

    • Phase 5: Phase five turns towards whole-scale infrastructure stabilization, significant build structures, and retrofitting historic buildings to stand more in line with current pedagogy and initiatives at Peddocks.

      • Bunk house or hostel

      • On-land adventure opportunities

      • Protect and showcase military remains

      • Passive buildings

    • Phase 6: This final phase is the most visionary in nature, looking towards eventual possibilities for a fully transformed Peddocks Island with widespread visitor opportunities. These projects would require substantial investments but would yield game changing results. Though more far-sighted in nature, stakeholders can still begin planning for these projects earlier on in the phasing plan. Third party operators, designs, spatial allocations, and more can all be worked out in advance of actual fundraising efforts. These projects are aspirational and require forethought to become a reality. By keeping an eye towards the future, these projects become more tangible and help Peddocks continually work towards a future founded on financial sustainability, guest experiences, and innovative practices.

      • Office and utility working space

      • Innovation campus

      • Retreat center or inn

    • Short Term Priorities

      • Island Wide: Stabilize all windows and roofs of Fort Andrew buildings

      • Discover and Learn the Island Environment Priority Areas:

        • Individual learning experiences can occur through DCR Ranger-led programs

        • By using Peddocks as an outdoor classroom, students in grades K through 12 can participate in hands-on learning.

        • College, university, and institutional instruction can be expanded beyond a campus and include on-site research and long-term monitoring for accurate data generation.

      • Cultural Landscape Priority Areas:

        • Improve wayfinding signage and mapping across the island.

        • Build strategic overlooks with shade shelters and seating amenities.

        • Remove invasive species across the island and replace with a more biodiverse plant palette.

        • Plant more native shade trees.

        • Facilitate the production of a cultural landscape report to guide future development on the island.

      • Unique Programming Priority Areas:

        • Create the framework to support a series of temporary art and history exhibitions on the island.

        • Pilot the kayak, canoe, and paddle board rental and training pavilion with a third-party partner during a summer season.

        • Outfit the existing pier with fishing amenities to offer expanded recreational opportunities for park-goers.

      • Overnight Accommodation Priority Areas:

        • Expand single and group tent sites.

        • Build additional yurts on East and Middle Heads.

        • Construct shower facilities in the Welcome Center.

        • Pilot a lockable kiosk with supplies for day trippers and campers.

Question and Answers

(Q) Concerned about priorities as the use of islands for recreation from the indigenous community instead of using it as a natural and passive area.
(A) Will be done in a respectful way as possible. Since it is one of the largest island in the system, it has always been identified for recreational use. The indigenous community voice is important

(Q) Can you talk about the state curatorship happening on Islands?
(A) In exchange for a long-term lease (30-40 years), a curator is then responsible for the capital repair of the structure. There are opportunities for public benefit. Accept bids and look for the best proposal for public benefit. When state does not have capital to improve facilities, this program allows a public private partnership to improve facilities.

(Q) How long ago was stabilization done on islands?
(A) It was done in 2011-2012. It should be good for ten years.

(Q) How about water and wastewater?
(A) It is tied to the Town of Hull. Utilities are capped off around the dock area. Would love to extend to at least East Head. 

Celebrating Park Anniversary, Michael Creasey, National Park Service
Breakout Sessions Highlights:

  • Recommitment to the partnership. Should we add an additional property or additional partner?

  • It is not always a celebration for everyone. Need to have ceremonial acknowledgement of the indigenous community.

  • Need to tell complicated history and address racial and social inequity

  • Increase awareness of the impact of the Partnership. Talk about how far we have come.

  • Thank MWRA users for supporting the park

  • Capture oral histories and create commemorative

  • Need to include youth in the celebration

  • Invite all Partners and strengthen Partnership

  • Put a stake in the ground for the educational role the Islands play

  • Increased engagement and increase visitation

  • Have the harbor be seen as the center of our city

  • Transportation needs to be affordable by creating public subsidy

  • Think of outcomes of Stone Living Lab

  • Benefit of reach of being digital during these times

  • Intentionally working with indigenous communities and the land

  • Sponsor a historian fellow

  • History tour of a specific year

  • Free access or 25 days at 1996 prices

  • Collecting stories of those who worked at the park

  • Contest to create commemorative items such as T-shirts

  • Revisit General Management Plan. What has been done, what is planned for the future?

  • Need to plan for a digital presence

Nominations for a Commemorations Committee

  • Those interested should contact David Santucci

Public Comment

Has been past comments about public access on Thompson Island in relation to the Conservation Restriction. Those at the Partnership have been working with Arthur Pearson at TIOBEC to address the comments. He wants to stay in compliance. DCR, NPS, Fred, and Arthur Pearson met recently on this. Roughly every two years there is an official inspection regarding the Conservation Restriction. Mr. Pearson mentioned some serious issues regarding crime and vandalism on island for those walking to the island. We will continue to work on this assessment and will share at the next Partnership meeting.

(Q) Joan Delany from Quincy, MA: October 10th leading beach cleanup at Squaw Rock. Thompson Island should be open to the public, not just private rich boat owners. We should have access to the island and public ferry service.
(A) We would like to finish assessment to determine what parts of the Conservation Restriction they are following. We will get to the bottom of it. At the next meeting or a separate meeting, we will discuss this more at length.

Adjournment

Fred Laskey requested a motion to adjourn the meeting. Michael Creasey made a motion to adjourn, seconded by Kathy Abbott. Motion passed unanimously and meeting adjourned at 4:45 pm.

July 21, 2020

Meeting Minutes

Virtual
3:00-4:30 pm

Attendance

Kathy Abbott, Boston Harbor Now
Susan Kane, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
Marc Albert, National Park Service
Richard McGuinness, Boston Planning and Development Agency
CAPT Eric Doucette, United States Coast Guard
Carolyn Fiore, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
Chris Busch, Boston Planning and Development Agency
Stewart Dalzell, MassPort Authority
Michael Creasey, National Park Service
Priscilla Giegis, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
Fred Laskey, MA Water Resources Authority
Jim Montgomery, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
Andy Gallagher, The Trustees of the Reservation
Cathy Stone, Boston Harbor Now
Rob Moir, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council*

*Representing individual opinions only during period of advisory council suspension.

Call to Order and Introductions

Chairman Laskey called meeting to order at 3:02 pm.Approval of minutes from May 20 and January, Kathy moved it and Jim Montgomery seconded

Presentations

Tracking COVID-19 Through Wastewater-MIT Partnership, Fred Laskey and Steve Rhode, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA)
PowerPoint Presentation

  • Analyzing Wastewater to detect COVID-19
  • Biobot Analytics, a company that spun-off of MIT
  • The company started a pro bono wastewater-testing program in March to help cities assess the local prevalence of the coronavirus.
  • Biobot assesses viral RNA levels, not infectious virus, in wastewater.
  • To date, MWRA and a limited number of other MA utilities (10) have signed up with Biobot. Nationwide, 400 facilities in 42 states have participated.
  • Timeline of Biobot Deer Island Study
    • Started in January with 2 samples as negative controls with no COVID present
    • Follow up included samples from Deer Island twice weekly through February, and daily samples for early March, and one to two weekly samples through April
    • Working now with Boston Water and Sewer Commission to analyze neighborhood results
    • Biobot has now requested daily samples since May 18th to correlate to the Governor’s Reopening Plan to see if there is any change in the trend line
      • Paper posted online, and submitted to Journal of Science
  • Groups around the world are racing to use wastewater as a predictor of COVID
    • International Utilities/Research Groups
      • Miami, Detroit, Portland OR
      • Paris, Netherlands, Australia
    • MWRA has provided samples to:
      • Biobot Analytics
      • Stanford/UMichigan/Tufts national study
      • Northeastern
      • ActiveSignal
    • MWRA has also provided technical guidance to Biobot and has been asked to co-author a second study
  • Yale Study: COVID signal shows up 7 days before confirmed cases
    • City of New Haven sludge parallels hospital admissions and precedes confirmed cases by about 7 days
  • Paris, France Example
    • Results show similar results of signal from wastewater precedes hospital admissions
    • Virus concentrations in wastewater must be correlated with a health response
    • Collaboration is needed between water utilities and local, state, and national health professionals
  • Timeline of MWRA/Biobot data to date
    • Wastewater signal not detected until early March and fits with the daily new cases in the area
    • Rapid increase paralleled with rapid case growth
    • Signal flattened fairly quickly with increased distancing
  • Calibrating the viral signal is difficult
    • Fecal shedding by patients can range from 100 copies/g to 100,000,000 copies/g
    • This complicates the conversion from how much viral RNA is present to how many people that signal represents, along with other variables at treatment plants (like rainfall)
  • Uses of data
    • Trends/Changes in Occurrence
      • Signal needs to be dominated by newly affected cases
      • Can’t tell how many people are affected
      • Tracking the impact of medical and social interventions
    • Assessment of Community Infection
      • Tracking disease prevalence in the community
      • Identification of areas of concern
    • Risk Assessment
      • Risk to utility workers and those exposed to raw sewage, though safety practices already in place
    • Viral Evolution
      • Source tracking of the virus
  • Latest Data from Deer Island
    • Data points are averages of daily sample
    • Smooth out data by 3-day and 7-day averages
    • Drop off of signal in May
    • Some up and done since June
    • Includes samples of re-opening and large demonstrations in Boston
      • Did not see any spikes during that time
  • Sole Source Contract
    • Proposed pilot program:
      • Samples 3 times per week from Deer Island
      • Through December 2020
      • Up to 40 upstream samples if necessary
      • Only pay for the samples we submit
    • Six month contract not to exceed $200,000
    • Provides continuity during the ongoing emergency
    • Competitive procurement in fall to allow overlap/comparison of data
    • Value is people don’t see symptoms for 14 days
      • Shedding can signal when virus is present
  • Q&A – No responses

Harbor Islands Ferry Contract, Jack Murray, Boston Harbor Now (BHN)
PowerPoint Presentation

  • Thanks to Susan Kane and Michael Creasey for their representation on the Partnership through this contract process.
  • This Agreement was entered into by the authority of the Partnership via the 1996 federal legislation that created the park. BHN’s predecessor, Island Alliance, was designated as agent of the Partnership to manage ferry service to the Islands.
  • The contract we have been operating under has been in place has been in place for almost 15 years
    • The original contract signed, March 22nd, 2005 and issued to Harbor Islands LLC which may have been Harbor Express, Boston Best Cruises managed the contract for several years and it was eventually assigned to Boston Harbor Cruises (BHC) in 2014.
    • One year after BHC took the contract, more than 125,000 visitors to the Islands, but visitation leveled off to 100,000 in recent years.
  • In the summer of 2018, worked with transportation consulting firm SDG to issue RFI to gauge interest by other vendors to inform RFP Process.
    • Received interest form two firms
      • Entertainment Cruises, Chicago
      • Hornblower, Bay Area
        • Within 12 months, Hornblower acquired Entertainment and Entertainment acquired BHC.  That contract was re-assigned last year.
    • In 2019, the issued RFP only had interest from one operator, BHC. 
    • Entered discussions with BHC in January and signed a 3-year with BHC on June 30, 2020 with two successive options to renew for 1 year. For a total of 5 years.
  • Changes includes Schedules, Fares, Data collection
    • Schedules:
      • Eliminated access to Bumpkin and Grape from South Shore. 
        • It was not cost effective to run that route. 
        • Fares collected system wide were subsidizing those trips to those islands by almost $60 a ticket for the thousand or so people who ride that route.
        • In the Fall, will work with partners to look for viable option such as on-call service from Hingham to those Islands.
      • Schedules to Georges, Spectacle, and Inter-island remain un-changed.
    • Fares
      • BHC has been losing money on this service and new owners were reluctant to take on a service product line that was running in the red.
      • New rates: Adults $24.95, Children $17.95, Military and Seniors $22.95, Children under 3 Free
      • 5 ride pass $100
      • 10 ride pass $180
      • Season pass $300
      • BHC continued commitment to free and reduced access
        • 5,500 free tickets
        • 10,000 2-for-1 Library Pass Vouchers
        • BHN with their sponsors purchases more that 10,000 tickets to underserved communities and camp groups.
        • 3 Free Ferry Days annually is about another 10,000 free tickets to Islands.
    • Data Collection
      • BHC will continue to market the Islands with their other product lines
      • It has been hard to determine where visitors are from using surveys.
      • BHC will update their POS systems which will allow us to know where people are coming from.
      • This data will be helpful in data analysis and future marketing strategies.
      • BHC is offering opt-in donation at POS, which will go directly back into the Islands to offset the cost of programming, operations, and other costs associated with management of the resource.
      • Commend Susan, Michael, Allison Nolan with their help in this process

Questions and Answers
Fred thanked the folks who pulled this off even during COVID

(Q) When will MBTA Trips to Georges Islands return?
(A) MBTA access will return after COVID-19. Service from Hingham to Spectacle is not easy for the Catboats

(Q) Suzanne Gall Marsh, Friends of Boston Harbor Islands: You mentioned BHN will be funding 10,000 tickets. Is that the same as the Island Pass Process?
(A) Three are 5,500 free tickets a year through DCR via Island Pass Program. BHN purchases 10,000 a year to distribute to underserved communities.  And the 2-for-1 ticket option needs to be expanded.

(Q) Libraries are closed, how to access free tickets without seeing the posters in library from the Friends?
(A) We all need to share out via websites, blogs, social media, and though the Friends

(Q) How do we say the islands are affordable?
(A) Kathy Abbott stated they have to find a source of public subsidy. The Partnership did 45,000 free visits last year. BHN raised $160,000 to subsidize free trips.

(Q) Will the Interisland Ferry schedules include Fall drop offs to Peddocks Island?
(A) Jack stated he believe so, but he did not have the ferry schedule directly in front of him. 

Stone Living Lab, Marc Albert, National Park Service (NPS), Sonja Plesset, James M. & Cathleen D. Stone Foundation, and Jack Murray, Boston Harbor Now (BHN)
PowerPoint Presentation

  • A Living Lab bring research out of the lab into the real world by creating a user-centered, open, innovative ecosystem that engages scientists and the community in collaborative design and exploration.

  • Vision of Stone Living Lab

    • Create a future where people work with nature to make coastal regions resilient and adaptive to climate change while enhancing natural and built environments.

  • The Approach of Stone Living Lab

    • Major new research and educational initiative within the Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park to provide opportunities to test and evaluate a range of experiments aimed at improving methods of addressing climate change

    • Innovation hub that will combine elements of scientific research and experimentation with public engagement, education, resource management and policy development.

    • A creative model for advancing the necessary changes to regulations, design, and the development of adaptive solutions to climate change.

  • Memorandum of Understanding with UMass Boston School for the Environment, BNH, NPS, and City of Boston signed this Spring

    • $6 million from Stone Foundation, $375,000 from Cabot Corporation for education

  • Draft Governance and Committee Structure

    • Meeting now: Steering Committee (25 people), Lab Director (Paul Kirshen), and Coordination and Support Team (Under direction of BHN currently)

    • Being formed

      • Advisory Board (invited representatives from 40 different organizations)

      • Scientific Advisory Committee (meets a few times a year)

        • Coastal Engineering –Bret Webb, University of South Alabama

        • Marine Ecology –Louise Firth, University of Plymouth, UK

        • Geomorphology and Coastal Oceanography –TBD

        • Coastal and Wetland Ecology and Engineering –Bregjevan Wesenbeeck, Deltares

        • Education –Vikki Spruill, New England Aquarium

        • Policy –Shannon Cunniff, Consultant (formerly EDF)

    • Ad Hoc Committees: Website, Monitoring, Policy, Education, Permitting

  • Launch Strategy

    • Late summer/early fall

    • Denterlein spearheading effort

    • Coordinating with City of Boston

    • Likely to include press event, live event, and virtual tour

    • Online Presence with a website, landing page, and social media

  • Monitoring Network

    • Rainsford Island - pilot island because of unique ecosystem and willingness from City of Boston

    • Real-time sensors

    • Oversample to observe unpredicted impacts

    • Physical, chemical, and biological baseline data to support multiple studies

    • E.g. Pre/post storm events

  • Types of Experiments

    • Natural/Observational – Primarily observational, minimal disturbance

    • Manipulative – Movement of material

    • Transformational – Tiered systems

  • Permitting Process

    • Joint MEPA/NEPA Review

      • Trigger Mandatory EIR/EIS due to size

      • Request Special Review Procedure with MEPA

      • File ENF & NOI early with initial design to obtain scope for EIR/EIS

      • Prepare EIR/EIS (Draft as Final)

      • Coordinate streamlined review per new DOI Order 3355

    • Conservation Commission Order of Conditions

    • DEP WQ and Chapter 91 License/Permit

    • CZM Consistency Determination

    • US Army Corps of Engineers Individual Permit

    • Mass Historical Commission and Section 106 Reviews

  • Public Education and Engagement

    • Cabot grant boosts Stone funding to create:

      • A hub for citizen-science and place-based science education programs

      • Increased environmental and ocean literacy

      • Ladders of opportunity and job training for Boston area youth

      • Network of researchers, educators and park managers

    • Next Steps:

      • Aligning partners to craft goals

      • Hiring a project manager

Celebrating Park Anniversary, Michael Creasey, National Park Service

  • State Park 50th Anniversary is this year, and 25th of National Park is the following year

  • How do we want to celebrate this?

  • Too important not to recognize

  • Kathy Abbott noted they need a party planning committee

    • Jim Montgomery nominated Susan Kane and Priscilla Geigis

    • Michael Creasey is on board

    • Kathy Abbott noted BHN is on board to help

  • How to engage federal delegation and state delegation?

    • Should law makers make some sort of proclamation?

    • Fred Laskey noted that Kathy Abbott mentioned finding other sources of revenue

    • Press strategy

    • Events

    • Political events

    • Put together a subcommittee to advance this

      • Keep Partnership of DCR, NPS, BHN together on this

      • Michael Creasey will lead this and report out in future meetings

Roundtable Report-Outs

Department of Conservation and Recreation, presented by Susan Kane

  • Island operations is very modified

  • Going really well

  • Opened Spectacle, Wednesday-Sunday

    • 4 trips daily

    • Visitor Center closed; bathrooms open

    • Unguarded waterfront

      • Water testing and buoy lines maintained

      • Trying to reopen water showers

      • Nice opportunity to socially distance compared to other beaches

    • Mooring Program

      • Really hitting its stride

      • Could use more staff

      • Sold out every mooring on all islands before the weekend for the first time ever

        • Shocked by popularity of Peddocks Island with recreational boaters

      • Islands not receiving Ferry Service are open, but only by recreational boaters

        • Saw 30-40 boats on the backside of Lovells

        • Staff have been focused on island maintenance and trail maintenance

        • Overnight staff on Peddocks, Georges, and Spectacle to preserve assets out there

      • Getting a lot of good support from harbor masters and state police

United States Coast Guard Command Sector Boston, presented by CAPT Eric Doucette

  • In the midst of personnel transfer season

  • CDR Lam last day was last Friday, CDR Garrity coming on board soon

  • Admiral Allan has replaced Admiral Tiongson

  • Hard to have folks move across the country during COVID

  • 1/3 of staff rotates every year

  • Lots of people out in the harbor

    • Very busy with the increase in recreational boaters

  • Q&A

(Q) Who will replace Commander Petta?
(A) LCDR Beth Nakagawa

(Q) Will we need to do an environmental assessment of Little Brewster?
(A) A full environmental assessment can take months. Transfer of government property is a process. Though a lot of documentation is already in place as USCG has good records as opposed to other lighthouses because of their presence out there. Civil Engineering in Providence working with GSA on this process.

Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council, presented by Rob Moir

  • Not been able to go out to sea as boat engine being replaced

  • Thanks for putting fishing dock at Deer Island

National Park Service, presented by Marc Albert

  • DCR and NPS working together to re-open islands safely

  • Ferries to Spectacle Island launched July 1; four trips/day running Wednesday – Sunday. Island activation is supported by a new "Know Before You Go" feature on the Boston Harbor Islands website. In the next few weeks will be integrating videos to build visitor confidence, help visitors prepare for their trip, and share ranger tips for things to do on island.  

  • BHN, DCR, and NPS collaborating to develop a series of downloadable materials and on-island signage to support self-directed experiences on Spectacle Island: family-friendly scavenger hunt, Junior Ranger exploration, fitness challenge. Will alert people to these options and what to expect on their island visit via online video.  

  • The NPS Natural Resource team has finished installing a second round of native plants and controlling invasive plants on habitat management sites at both Thompson and Grape Islands in coordination with TIOBEC and DCR. The delayed planting and hot, dry weather means lots of manual watering but so far, so good! 

  • Harbor Discovery Camps start today. This year, park rangers and Hill to Harbor Youth Conservation Corps employees will be engaging remotely with campers from all 8 Boston YMCAs and the Leahy/Holloran BCYF. Camp programming was developed in collaboration with BHN and DCR and will include both live, group activities and self-guided, independent options. 

  • The VIP Program will be launching remote engagement sessions for volunteers: 

    • Virtual Information Session - We will be hosting a virtual information session Friday, July 24th at 12PM. This session will be hosted online and will last about an hour. We will discuss current park operations, give a quick overview of some of the COVID-19 precautions and share information about helping to create virtual programming we are developing. 

    • History of the Boston Harbor Clean Up - We have also scheduled a session on the Boston Harbor Clean Up, which will be presented by Stewardship Volunteer and former MWRA employee, Mike Delaney. This will take place on Friday, July 31st at 1:30PM. We hope this will be the first in a series of presentations about the park sites for volunteers. 

  • TIOBEC received $25,000 grant from the National Park Trust to pilot a Green Ambassador youth development school year program. 

  • Introducing Dave Santucci, the new Management Support Specialist for the Office of the Superintendent.

  • Thanks to BHN for hosting zoom.

Boston Harbor Now, presented by Kathy Abbott

  • BHN $275K was on track to spend on access program

  • Communications team update

    • Ad campaign running ads on the MBTA

    • Really hits those front-line employees as they are the one’s riding the T

    • BHC-Hornblower ad is also on TV

MassPort Authority, presented by Stewart Dalzell

  • The port is struggling with the new normal

  • Harbor dredging moving along well

    • 10 million cubic yards done

Boston Planning and Development Agency, presented by Rich McGuinness

  • Seawall stabilization project of Long Wharf under way

  • Rent deferment and license fee abatement has been extended

    • Probably 100% credit for this year

  • Climate Ready Downtown will be released soon

The Trustees of Reservations, presented by Andy Gallagher

  • Worlds End has been using timed entry

    • Enhanced parking and no back up on the access road

  • Restarting some programming

    • Kayaking, geology walks

  • Looking into front-line workers days, to get free access to Trustees sites

  • Start construction in the fall of new Visitor Center

  • Site designation for Piers Park in East Boston finalized

Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, presented by Carolyn Fiore

  • Public Access to Deer Island

    • Very Busy

    • Opened up large parking along the access road

    • Fishing Pier will open in about a month. Waiting on rough paving, which is about 3-4 weeks away

  • Issued design contract to repair seawall

Public Comment

(Q) Joan Delaney from Quincy, MA: Concerned with the limited public access to Thompson Island. Also concerned with how TIOBEC is addressing the conservation restriction in place on the island and the effect laying the water line has had on the island and at Squaw Rock park. 
(A) Marc Albert and Michael Creasey: Regarding the conservation restriction, there is an annual assessment with DCR and NPS. There is a score card that goes to TIOBEC an historically TIOBEC has done a good job with conservation. Though this assessment does not address public access.
(A) Marc Albert: He takes this comment to heart and will investigate further.
(A) Fred Laskey: He wants to see the information and will follow up. He asked Ms. Delaney to share what she has with the Partnership.

(Q) Suzanne Gall Marsh, Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands: Regarding the park anniversary, she recommends reaching out to past members of the BHI Advisory Council.

Adjournment

Fred Laskey requested a motion to adjourn the meeting. Michael Creasey made a motion to adjourn, seconded by Kathy Abbott. Motion passed unanimously and meeting adjourned at 4:47 pm.

May 12, 2020

Meeting Minutes

15 State Street, Boston, MA
3:00-4:30 pm

Attendance

Elizabeth Solomon, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council*
Kathy Abbott, Boston Harbor Now
Arthur Pearson, Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center
Susan Kane, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
Marc Albert, National Park Service
Richard McGuinness, Boston Planning and Development Agency
CAPT Eric Doucette, United States Coast Guard
Carolyn Fiore, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
Chris Busch, Boston Planning and Development Agency
Maureen Cavanaugh, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council*
Stewart Dalzell, MassPort Authority
Michael Creasey, National Park Service
Priscilla Giegis, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
Fred Laskey, MA Water Resources Authority
Andrew Hargens, MassPort Authority
*Representing individual opinions only during period of advisory council suspension.

Call to Order and Introductions

Chairman Laskey called meeting to order at 3:02 pm.
Minutes from previous meeting have not yet been distributed. Approval of minutes will be tabled until next meeting.

Presentations

Travel and Tourism, Martha Sheridan, Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau (GBCVB)
Powerpoint Presentation

  • 32 Partners make up GBCVB.

    • Operate Visitor Center on Greenway.

  • Impacts of COVID-19 on Tourism Industry:

    • GBCVB became conduit between government and partner businesses.

    • Helping partners prepare for reopening when appropriate.

    • GBCVB is direct communication link with Mayors and Governor.

      • Town Hall in April allowed time to ask questions.

    • Regular sector calls within tourism industry.

    • Developed several promotions to help businesses to get revenue.

      • Restaurant take-out program (virtual dining experience and Dine-in Boston).

      • Love from Boston campaign.

        • Hotels and large buildings to show love for essential workers by lighting up windows in shape of heart.

    • Presented to governors reopening task force:

      • STR report shows how hotels and industries are faring.

      • Over 15 thousand rooms of 20000 are closed right now.

      • Occupancy is 30% of capacity, all attractions are closed.

      • MassPort at 52% capacity, 27 cancelled conventions in Boston in 2020.

      • Essentially 95% of hotel rooms are empty. Only essential workers are allowed in hotels right now in Boston.

      • Boston and Cambridge hotel related tax revenue in 2019 was $286mil, projecting to be down to $124mil in 2020.

    • What does it look like for travelers to be ready to travel again?

      • Safety in hotels, safety visiting parks, etc. is essential.

      • People are feeling more confident in travelling and getting out growing by the week.

    • Barriers to opening:

      • No specific guidelines to follow.

      • Limited access to PPE.

      • No testing kits.

      • Motivation of front-line workers to return may be low.

    • Looking for outdoor activities to promote.

      • Need an ease in permitting use of outdoor spaces before this push.

      • Looking at increasing the closure of streets to create a safe outdoor atmosphere and increase social distancing spaces where tourism can rebound.

      • GBCVB is interested in assisting the development of protocols to ensure safety for tourists.

    • Some confidence that local/regional travel and tourism will rebound and make up some losses later this year.

    • No tourism-related businesses are generating revenue right now anywhere in city or region.

      • Freedom Trail and open space recreation will be the first part of this industry that lifts the tourism industry out of this hole.

      • Challenge specific to the BHIP however in just getting people to islands safely aboard boats.

Mystic Reliability Wind Link, Stephen Conant, Partner/ Project Manager Anbaric Development Partners
Powerpoint Presentation

  • Proposal to Independent System Operator – New England for undersea cable from Plymouth to Everett.
  • Will be key to renewable energy transmission in Massachusetts.

  • Think of Boston as a city that gets powered 100% by renewable wind energy.

    • This is the goal of the Mystic Reliability Wind Link.

  • Anbaric is an independent non-regulated utility.

    • Funded through private equity and Ontario Teachers Pension Plan.

    • Specializes in Submarine cable transmission of electricity. 

  • Mystic PowerStation (currently fossil fuel powered) scheduled to close by June 2025.

  • Grid operator, Independent System Operator – New England pays Mystic Plant $200mil to keep it on for emergencies only (taxpayer dollars).

  • On-shore infrastructure upgrades are prohibitively expensive and slow.

  • Cable will be undersea and deep underground through outer harbor and prefer to go under Revere beach to Everett.

Questions & Answers:
(Q) Marc Albert asked what considerations are being made to protect sea floor habitats?
(A) Cable buried 6ft beneath seabed. Working with CZM and DMF to avoid sensitive habitats (Fish, whales, complex seas beds, etc).

(Q) Attendee asked about how this project will handle climate change and sea level rise?
(A) Substations in Plymouth and Everett are above projected sea level rise projections.

(Q) Attendee asked about public access and M.G.L. Chapter 91 related to this project?
(A) Ch.91 and impact to public access will be considered at all steps.

Little Brewster Update, CAPT Eric Doucette, United States Coast Guard

  • Press release forthcoming from USCG announcing a stewardship transfer of Little Brewster and Boston Light.
  • Pursuing transfer of real property to a new steward who can best preserve its history condition and public access.
    • USCG would maintain the light as navigational aid in perpetuity.
  • Reason: USCG cares for history of Boston Light but are not equipped to curate historic sites or public access and another steward can do a better job. 
  • Using the NHLPA (National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act), the USCG, Government Services Administration (GSA), and NPS (Washington office) will manage the process; finding a steward and transferring ownership.
  • This process will likely take 2 to 5 years.

Questions & Answers
(Q) Kathy Abbott asked about involvement of the USCG after transfer?
(A) The USCG may or may not remain active role but would like retain role in BHIP.

(Q) Fred Laskey asked what will happen if an appropriate steward cannot be found?
(A) GSA will ensure that the property is properly transferred. Of the 100 lighthouses that have gone through the process only one had to be repossessed by the government after going to an unsatisfactory steward after which the process started over and the lighthouse was transferred to a new steward. Protections will be built into the legal documents of the transfer to ensure historic preservation and public access of Boston Light

(Q) Kathy Abbott asked if USCG will be making repairs prior to transfer or will it be an “as-is” transfer?
(A) Repairs in 2016 made significant improvements. 2018 damage harmed access and funding is being sought through competitive process to finish repairs. Repowering the island is new project that will be pursued regardless of new steward and will move forward during the NHLPA process.

(Q) Fred Laskey ask what role will public, elected officials and this body (BHIP) play in the transfer process?
(A) The new steward will work closely with BHIP and public access will be retained. The transactional documents will have to create protections for public access regardless of the ownership entity.

(Q) Arthur Pearson stated that in his experience in Maine the public and non-profits played a big role in the process to advocate for the transfer of several lighthouses to desirable new stewards; all of which were done successfully.

(Q) Michael Creasey stated the partnership would appreciate GSA and NPS folks to give the BHIP a better vision or presentation as the process gets underway. He asked that if this process takes a long time and the BHIP wants to be involved in activation for visitors when its safe to re-enter the island.
(A) USCG will make sure that everyone in the BHIP is made aware and the process is transparent. USCG will need help and advocacy from leaders in the BHIP when this process is made public to dispel rumors and to advocate for transparency and for selection of an appropriate steward. The best interest of the light will be maintained. GSA Fact sheet will be shared to help all partners understand the transfer process.

Roundtable Report-Outs

National Park Service, presented by Michael Creasey

  • Shout out to BHN (Alankrita Narang and Christian Merfeld) getting the BHIP Meeting setup on Zoom and Angela Allison for facilitating.

  • Celebrating Kathy Abbot’s article in the Boston Globe “An opportunity to reimagine Boston’s open spaces.”

  • National Parks of Boston have been teleworking since March 13 except for a small maintenance staff and law enforcement.

  • NPS is grateful to and impressed with the scenario planning work being done closely with DCR and BHN. Thanks for your leadership!

  • NPS had to give up partnership with SCA Historic Preservation Public Lands Corp (10 mo fellowship) as a result of COVID-19, releasing all the SCA Fellows from their commitment.

  • Sadly, the NPS defunded a significant portion of the Green Ambassadors that is co-managed with TIOBEC, however alternative funding sources have been sought to make it a virtual online experience later this summer.

  • All Education programs with BPS have been cancelled.

  • Stewardship Saturdays have been on hold since mid-March.

  • New addition to staff!

    • Jill Staurowsky new lead ranger at Boston Harbor Islands (came to us from Grand Canyon). Please Welcome Jill!

    • Hoping to have seasonal staff on by June 7.

  • $250k to repair boathouse on Little Brewster is being pursued.

  • Working closely with DCR on preservation of Fort Warren (splitting funding 50-50).

  • Grant received to work with UMass to study coastal areas of park and understand potential impacts of sea level rise and climate change.

  • Impressed with innovations from Stone Living Lab to bring partners together and look at challenges of climate change and sea level rise. Credit to Cathy Stone and Sonya Plesset for all your hard work.

Boston Harbor Now, presented by Kathy Abbott

  • Working with DCR and NPS on contingency planning as we look to open the park later this summer.

  • Water transportation contract is almost completed.

    • Safety and capacity this season will be key and is being negotiated.

  • Food concessioners are still interested in contract and we will be ready to review proposals when we know the park will be open.

  • Stone Living Lab still looking at Rainsford for preliminary monitoring and research. 

  • Programming shifted to online (HARBOR AT HOME) and Virtual Spectacle Island 5k.

    • Videos created by vendors and program staff and curated by BHN. 

  • Harbor Use Forum, May 27 (online public policy forum).

    •  Topic: Moakley Park.

  • Harbor for All Summit, June 4.

    • National and local leaders on panels, tours, and discussions.

MA Department of Conservation and Recreation, presented by Susan Kane

  • Focusing on parks that are open and heavily visited (more than ever).

  • Visitor centers and restrooms are closed.

  • There are a lot of first-time visitors to parks now and we assume same will be true on islands when open this summer.

  • At present, Islands are closed to public allowing staff to work on trail systems, facilities maintenance. The park is in great shape!

  • All DCR boats are in the water, inspected, and operational.

  • Working with BHN and NPS to imagine what islands might be open this year.

  • Focusing planning effort on for opening one island; what would that look like?

  • More scenarios considered in a safe phased approached.

  • Want to attract new visitors that we’re seeing at all the landside parks.

  • 2020 Summer is going to be different than other years and we expect more private boaters than ever even if ferry trips are reduced.

  • Fred Laskey noted that Middlesex Fells is very busy daily.

  • Jim Montgomery noted every day in landside parks are receiving visitors as if it were July 4.

United States Coast Guard Command Sector Boston, presented by CAPT Eric Doucette

  • Boat inspections happening for vessels across the harbor.

  • Working with Boston Harbormaster to phase re-opening for recreational boat companies like whale watches and pleasure cruises.

  • Regent Cruise Lines asked to anchor ships offshore with USCG assistance.

  • Unsure if these vessels will be anchored because there is a no sail order in Boston Harbor now.

  • Other Cruise companies asking similar questions.

  • Port of Boston still has container ships, barges, etc. entering daily and hasn’t stop during pandemic and USCG is keeping the waterways open, moving, and safe.

Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, presented by Fred Laskey

  • Deer and Nut Island have been packed with people. Deer island is “closed” yet people are parking at a distance and walking in

  • Fish pier construction is on hold

  • Engineering contract is now open for bids to evaluate the sea walls around the water treatment plant

City of Boston, presented by Chris Cook

  • No updates.

Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center, presented by Arthur Pearson

  • Great reason for optimism if you look at a 2 to 5 year time frame.

  • Kids are social learners and social isolation is not conducive to their education.

  • Significant closures throughout this year across whole youth development and education sector.

  • Budget cut by 50% or more and will take years to recover.

  • Remaining TIOBEC staff are working with BPS to serve food to families in need.

  • On island staff continue to maintain facilities and oversea the installation of new water main.

  • Good news: Water main repair is so far on schedule and successful.

  • Patience is the key to our success right now.

Boston Planning and Development Agency, presented by Chris Busch

  • No updates.

  • Wind link project is important and we should support it to get carbon neutral by 2050.

Massachusetts Port Authority, presented by Conor LeBlanc

  • Echoing others; huge drop off in travelers.

  • Cruise industry is impacted significantly.

  • Keeping operations functioning at Cobbs Terminal.

  • Hotel tenants and restaurants rely on tourism and are heavily impacted just like everywhere else.

The Trustees of Reservations, presented by Alicia Leuba

  • Worlds End tried to stay open but became overwhelmed by visitors by April. Worlds End is planned to reopen on May 19 by time-ticketing only via the Trustees website.

  • In the absence of visitors, staff have regraded miles of roadways and drainage infrastructure.

  • Waterfront parks are still closed but optimistic about reopening.

Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council, presented by Elisabeth Solomon

  • No updates.

Public Comment

(Q) Suzanne Gall Marsh, Friends of Boston Harbor Islands: There will be an onslaught of boaters if there is no ferry service. What will DCR do to staff islands to keep them safe and protect resources?
(A) Susan Kane: Planning is underway with that in mind and seasonal staff will be on this summer to ensure safety and protection. Signage, staff, law enforcement, and harbormasters will all assist in this effort.
(A) Fred Laskey: There may be more boaters, but in his experience in getting his own boat back in the water given back-up of boats in dry dock may deter boaters.  

(Q) Will the new steward of Boston Light become part of the partnership?
(A) Eric Doucette: USCG will still be part of the partnership, because it is in statute.
(A) Michael Creasey: Confirmed.

(Q) Will lighthouse keeper be on board an on island during the transfer?
(A) Eric Doucette: Dr. Sally Snowman wants to stay with USCG until the transfer is complete. Hope is to keep her involved after the transfer as well, to promote safety and history.

(Q) Can GSA come to a partnership meeting to provide info on the stewardship transfer process?
(A) Eric Doucette: Yes.

Adjournment

Fred Laskey requested a motion to adjourn the meeting. Michael Creasey made a motion to adjourn, seconded by Kathy Abbott. Motion passed unanimously and meeting adjourned at 5:10 pm.

January 21, 2020

Meeting Minutes

15 State Street, Boston, MA
3:00-4:30 pm

Attendance

Rob Moir, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council*
Kathy Abbott, Boston Harbor Now
CDR Taylor Lam, United States Coast Guard
CAPT Eric Doucette, United States Coast Guard
Michael Creasey, National Park Service
Marc Albert, National Park Service
Carolyn Fiore, MA Water Resources Authority
Fred Laskey, MA Water Resources Authority
Andrew Hargens, MassPort Authority
Priscilla Giegis, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
Susan Kane, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
Alicia Leuba, The Trustees of Reservations
Chris Busch, Boston Planning and Development Agency
Chris Cook, City of Boston

*Representing individual opinions only during period of advisory council suspension.

Call to Order and Introductions

Chairman Laskey called meeting to order at 3:06 pm.

Minutes from previous meeting were distributed. Noted that the footnote asterisk in the Advisory Council was not paired with a note. Motion from Kathy Abbott to approve the minutes with recommended revision. Motion seconded by Michael Creasey. Motion to adopt minutes with recommended revision was approved unanimously.

Chairman Laskey noted that financial disclosures and ethics forms are required for all BHI Partnership members. All appointees are strongly requested to contact angela_allison@nps.gov to complete requirements.

Presentations

Massport Marketing, presented by Conor LeBlanc

  • Focused on promoting the island system as a whole and highlight some of the values of specific islands.
  • MassPort’s team is drafting plans now & should have another update at the March meeting.
  • Planning to kick off marketing efforts in late Spring & continue through the summer.

(Q) Michael Creasey acknowledged appreciation for Massport’s efforts to put together island marketing.

(Q) Kathy Abbott added that Massport was critical in the launch of the park and great to have them back in the forefront.             

Boston Harbor Now Marketing, presented by Christian Merfeld
Powerpoint presentation           
(Q) Rob Moir suggested that key chains be provided as take away items for the upcoming boat show.        

Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau, presented by Dave O’Donnell
Powerpoint presentation
(Q) Kathy Abbott noted that we do not typically include things outdoors in Boston-based marketing efforts, but we compete with places that have terrific proximity to outdoor recreation.
(A) Dave O’Donnell agreed with Kathy’s assessment and noted that the convention and visitors bureau is working to highlight more outdoor spaces. Dave added that Boston has access to canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, cycle boating, and biking tours. Dave noted that he thinks of tourists sitting on Spectacle Island and looking at a tier 1 destination city.

(Q) Rob Moir asked that Dave let everyone know how they can help promote outdoor recreation and recommended showing pictures of South Boston with Thompson Island behind it; noting that all imagery of Boston should include the harbor and islands.
(A) Dave appreciated the comment and said he would love to show the partnership their image gallery, noting that the visitors bureau wants visitors to think of themselves as actors in their own story.

(Q) Michael Creasey inquired how the harbor and islands can be more connected into public tours, adding that the 2020 Boston neighborhood ambassadors initiative doesn’t draw in the islands. Michael asked if the islands could be a neighborhood in this campaign.
(A) Dave replied that the islands would be an important testimonial and could be part of a separate campaign.(Q) Michael Creasey asked if there is an appetite for new venues, noting that the harbor islands have some pretty spectacular venues that could host interesting events.
(A) Dave replied that the convention is looking for curated events that are different and unique and that the Harbor Islands could offer some opportunities.

(Q) Chris Cook asked if there is a strain on the traditional venues, highlighting that the City Hall Plaza and Esplanade are almost fully booked. Chris added that it is remarkable here to have presentations from three different organizations dedicated to highlighting the full vibrancy of our city.

Roundtable Report-Outs

United States Coast Guard Command Sector Boston, presented by CAPT Eric Doucette

  • New iron steps have been forged for Boston Light.
  • Dr. Sally Snowman is working with NPS and BHN to plan on-water tours around Boston Light in 2020.
  • Highlighted that there are 60 large cruise ships and many small ships coming into the Harbor and that we could think of ways for them to anchor with tender services to capture that market. Many smaller ships with their own kayaks and other vessels are using areas to our north and south.

The Trustees of Reservations, presented by Alicia Leuba

  • Visitor hut at Worlds End has been named the Wakemen O’Donnell Center. This marks the third phase of improving visitor experience. Recently had over 2,000 visitors on a January weekend, seeing the payoff of the improved amenities.
  • Appreciation for NPS partnership on the winter Stewardship Saturday volunteer program
  • Planning for listening sessions in the North End and other communities to consider another Trustees waterfront site.

Boston Planning and Development Agency, presented by Chris Busch

  • Bringing on a consultant for zoning flood overlay district to be paired with climate resilient design guidelines.
  • Planning FEMA pre-disaster mitigation grants for berm along Ft. Point Channel and elevating portions of Lewis Mall in East Boston. Also considering alignment of border streets in East Boston.

Boston Harbor Now, presented by Kathy Abbott and Cathy Stone

  • Introduced Aaron Toffler, new Director of Policy.
  • Three Requests for Proposals in process:
    • Activate Welcome Center along Rose Kennedy Greenway;
    • Concessions in the park; and
    • Water transportation for the park.
  • Stone Living Lab updates:
    • Continuing concept testing with stakeholders.
    • Met with funders to further ideas.

National Park Service, presented by Michael Creasey

  • Stone Living Lab is helping focus education, citizen science, and outreach efforts; and providing a way to talk about issues around sea level rise.
  • NPS and BHN are looking to update the annual BHI Partnership Financial Contributions report. The report’s 2006 numbers showed $203M in support for the islands. Angela will be reaching out to partners to pull numbers together.
  • Nesting bird population studies are starting with DCR and Mass Audubon.
  • Another year of Student Conservation Association Historic Preservation Corps is starting, in partnership with BHN and DCR. This program will bring a crew from around the country for a 10.5 month residential career-building opportunity to make improvements throughout the park and other DCR and NPS sites.
  • PLACE fellowships are kicking off shortly for 15-18-year-old students.
  • Outreach to Boston Public Schools and charter schools is ramping up with a goal to get 500 students and teachers to Spectacle Island this Spring.
  • A new Youth Volunteer Ambassador has joined our partnership team.

Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, presented by Fred Laskey

  • Fishing Pier at Deer Island is coming along with a ribbon cutting ceremony slated for April.
  • Had a wedding recently on Deer Island public access area.

MA Department of Conservation and Recreation, presented by Susan Kane

  • Historic Preservation in Public Lands Corps has been reengaging long term DCR staff. A new crew is starting in February. Much work is planned for Peddocks Island, which has made significant improvements to basic infrastructure as redevelopment planning has moved along.
  • Operations crew is focusing on the camping islands, storm clean up, opening trails, and improving campsites.
  • The Georges Island backup generator fuel tank was able to be refueled in late December. The solar system was struck by lightening last summer and is now operating at 30%. Will be working on this.
  • Working with NPS and BHN to update the event tent space on Georges Island before the 2020 season.
  • Seasonal staffing roster is set.
  • Got a plow for Spectacle, which will be a huge upgrade, and approval for a small packer truck on Spectacle.
  • Have been working on Peddocks Master Planning and ferry planning. 

City of Bostin, presented by Chris Cook

  • Vision setting for the resilient Boston Harbor continues.
  • Climate Ready Dorchester is being activated.
    • Thank you to DCR for allowing both of those initiatives to continue.
  • NAACP conference is coming to Boston, this will be an opportunity to explore the complete history of our city and help write the future vision.

Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council, presented by Rob Moir

  • Suspended status continues.
  • Individual members continue to speak out to promote the harbor and islands outside of their official capacity.

Public Comment

Suzanne Gall Marsh, Friends of Boston Harbor Islands, shared that the Patriot Ledge did a nice story on the New Years Day trip to Thompson Island, which had 120 visitors.

Fred Laskey suggested holding all future meetings in NPS offices as a convenient location.

Adjournment

Fred Laskey requested a motion to adjourn the meeting. Michael Creasey made a motion to adjourn, seconded by Kathy Abbott. Motion passed unanimously and meeting adjourned at 4:30 pm.

 

2019 Meeting Notes

November 19, 2019

Meeting Minutes

Wilmer Hale Offices, State Street, Boston, MA

3:00-4:30 pm

Attendance

Kathy Abbott, Boston Harbor Now
CDR Taylor Lam, United States Coast Guard
CAPT Eric Doucette, United States Coast Guard
Marc Albert, National Park Service
Carolyn Fiore, MA Water Resources Authority
Fred Laskey, MA Water Resources Authority
Andrew Hargens, MassPort Authority
Priscilla Geigis, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
Susan Kane, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
Alicia Leuba, The Trustees of Reservations
Richard McGuinness, Boston Planning and Development Agency
Arthur Pearson, Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center
Chris Cook, City of Boston
Maureen Cavanaugh, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council*
Rob Moir, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council*
Elizabeth Solomon, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council*

 

*Representing personal opinions only during time period of advisory council

 

Call to Order and Introductions

 

Chairman Laskey called meeting to order at 3:06 pm.

 

Minutes from previous meeting were distributed. Motion from Kathy Abbott to approve the minutes as distributed. Motion seconded by Marc Albert. Motion to adopt minutes as distributed was approved unanimously.

 

Chairman Laskey welcomed Jim Montgomery, the new Interim Director for MA Department of Conservation and Recreation.

 

Presentation & Public Input

 

Partnership members each presented their organization’s 2019 accomplishments that support the mission of the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership.

The meeting was open for public input after each partner’s presentation. Below is a record of all public input.

 

Massachusetts Port Authority, presented by Andrew Hargens

No Public Input

 

Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, presented by Susan Kane

(Q) Elizabeth Solomon requested that information on archeology work for the electrification project be shared.

(Q) Elizabeth Solomon requested that data on gender and race of participants in the Historic Preservation Corps be shared.

(Q) Susanne Gall Marsh requested that Partnership be updated on Gallops Island.

 

Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, presented by Carolyn Fiore

(Q) Elizabeth Solomon expressed concerns that the new Irish memorial at Deer Island was placed on a site that is significant to Native American communities, in addition to Irish American immigrants. Further concern was expressed that the memorial was placed on top of a bench that had been funded and installed by the Nipmuc, which is the only memorial in place for Native Americans on the island.

(A) Fred Laskey responded to concerns and shared that the memorial was placed without knowledge of any existing memorialization. Shared that MWRA is currently working to develop funds for a Native American memorial at Deer Island and has requested assistance from NPS.

 

Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center, presented by Arthur Pearson

No Public Input

 

United States Coast Guard Command Sector Boston, presented by CAPT Eric Doucette

(Q) Arthur Pearson inquired if USCG is synchronized with Boston Police Department (BPD) for incidents like active shooters.

(A) CAPT Doucette confirmed close coordination between USCG and BPD and shared an example of a recent well-coordinated response.

(Q) Maureen Cavanaugh shared everyone’s appreciation of last meeting’s tour of the Command Sector Boston.

(Q) Suzanne Gall Marsh inquired about future public access to Little Brewster Island.

(A) CAPT Doucette responded that recent storms have delivered huge blows to the island and presented significant challenges to providing things like electricity, heat, oil, sewage removal, and water. Shared that the island is currently uninhabitable, but is checked by USCG staff bi-weekly. Furthered that a lot of preservation work has been complete while the island has been closed but that public access is still years away.

 

The Trustees of Reservations, presented by Andrew Gallagher

(Q) Elizabeth Solomon inquired if there are discussions of an archeological survey in the development plans for the entrance parking lot and education building.

(A)Alicia Leuba responded that archeological survey work is always included in planning processes and is already complete.

 

National Parks of Boston, presented by Marc Albert

No Public Input

 

Boston Harbor Now, presented by Kathy Abbott

No Public Input

 

Boston Planning and Development Agency, presented by Richard McGuinness

No Public Input

 

Suzanne Gall Marsh spoke on behalf of Friends of Boston Harbor Islands (FBHI). Shared that the recent annual meeting went well, with a tour of the Deer Island treatment plant. Invited all to attend the annual New Years Day trip to Thompson Island. Shared that in 2019, FBHI and Old South Meeting House co-presented a series on Boston Harbor Island Resilience and Change. Passed around booklets to celebrate the 40th anniversary of FBHI, asked everyone to reach out if copies are needed. Booklets are free of charge to all.

 

Fred Laskey implored everyone to celebrate the accomplishments of the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership over the past year; with progress made on every front, from education and youth programs to construction and preservation. Asked everyone to take pride in all that the Partnership has accomplished this year.

 

Adjournment

Motion to adjourn by Marc Albert. Seconded by Arthur Pearson. Motion passed unanimously. Meeting adjourned.

September 17, 2019

Meeting Minutes

USCG Command Sector Boston 
3:00-3:30 pm

Attendance:

Chris Cook, City of Boston
Maureen Cavanaugh, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council*
Richard McGuinness, Boston Planning and Development Agency
Priscilla Geigis, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
Marc Albert, National Park Service
Fred Laskey, MA Water Resource Authority
Carolyn Fiore, MA Water Resource Authority
Arthur Pearson, Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center
CAPT Eric Doucette, United States Coast Guard
CDR Taylor Lam, United States Coast Guard
Jocelyn Forbush, Trustees of Reservations
Jack Murray, Boston Harbor Now

Call to Order and Introductions

Chairman Laskey called meeting to order at 3:02 pm.

Welcome from CAPT Doucette with a reminder that Boston is the birthplace of the United States Coast Guard; Boston Light was the first commissioned lighthouse in the country, first cutter was built in Newburyport, first lifesaving stations were built along the MA coastline.

Minutes from previous meeting were distributed. Motion from Priscilla Geigis to approve the minutes. Motion seconded by Marc Albert. Motion to adopt minutes as distributed was approved unanimously.

Report-Outs

City of Boston, presented by Chris Cook

  • Announced the kickoff to Climate Ready Dorchester planning on September 25. City will be asking all partners to come together and drive community input for the planning process. 


Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council, presented by Maureen Cavanaugh*

  • Shared that Advisory Council continues to work to move out of suspended status.


Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA), presented by Richard McGuinness

  • Announced that new guidelines for building retrofits to account for sea level rise have been approved. Next step is to remove zoning challenges related to definition of building.
  • Shared that BPDA has applied for a FEMA pre-disaster planning grant.


MA Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), presented by Priscilla Geigis

  • Announced retirement of Commissioner Leo Roy and extended gratitude for all of his efforts to promote the Harbor Islands.
  • Shared that upcoming projects include meeting with folks in Hull for Master Development Planning and meeting with both City of Boston and DCR officials to work on a partnership strategy to embrace Climate Ready Boston.

National Park Service (NPS), presented by Marc Albert

  • Shared that NPS hosted three conservation corps this summer. Crews built picnic tables, removed invasive plants, built trails, and more. One youth reported, “[While camping on Georges Island] I liked learning about how this place used to be important to Boston, and now we can protect it and visit it.”
  • Announced that NPS has concluded its 10th year of the Coastal Breeding Bird monitoring program with the first documented case of a great blue heron nesting within the park. The full report will come out this winter. One trend that will be noted is the decline in wading birds. NPS will be funding a two-year study to investigate this decline.
  • Shared that stewardship projects will continue through October, before shifting to World’s End for the winter season.
  • Offered congratulations to Friends of Boston Harbor Islands on the completion of a new booklet to honor the 40th anniversary of the organization.
  • Shared that the Public Archeology Lab (PAL) will be assessing the eligibility of multiple above ground sites across the Harbor Islands for a national register nomination.

MA Water Resource Authority (MWRA), presented by Fred Laskey

  • Shared that MWRA has submitted a proposal to the NPS for assistance in funding to design, create, and install a memorial for Native Americans who were interned on Deer Island during King Philip’s War.

MWRA, presented by Carolyn Fiore

  • Shared that fishing pier construction is underway on Deer Island.

Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center (TIOBEC), presented by Arthur Pearson

  • Offered gratitude to NPS for stewardship work on habitat restoration this summer.
  • Announced that TIOBEC is the recipient of the 2019 Lands End Love Learning Summer Learning Award, awarded by the National Summer Learning Association to organizations that provide safe and healthy learning environments every summer. The National Summer Learning Association has also recognized the 10th anniversary of Boston’s citywide summer learning initiative.
  • Shared that TIOBEC is working with PAL to complete archeological surveys related to work along the water main. PAL will be converting a 1990s-era survey into a shareable form to be used in youth education in conjunction with oral history developed with assistance from Kristen Wymen. This work will help acknowledge the education that has been taking place on Thompson Island long before TIOBEC existed.

United Stated Coast Guard (USCG), presented by CAPT Eric Doucette

• Reminded all of the marine accident that took place at Long Island last month. Shared that USCG is a
resource for all Partners, from evacuations to any emergency needs.
• Announced that CDR Lam has been selected as Captain and has been admitted to Harvard University
for a National Security Fellowship.
Jocelyn Forbush, Trustees of Reservations (TTOR)
• Shared that TTOR will be raising funds for a new welcome center to accommodate a significant
increase in visitation at Worlds End.
• Announced that a new waterfront initiative will be focusing on waterfront parks, with potential
opportunities in east Boston and in the North End; more information to follow in next few months.
Jack Murray, Boston Harbor Now (BHN)
• Shared data with thoughts on analysis from this season’s visitation:

o Almost 400 public program on Islands;
o Visitation increase of 12.5% ;
o Visitation trended down in previous few years and is starting to come back up this year;
o Increase likely due to BHN’s investments in marketing.

• Provided an update that the Peddocks Island draft report will likely be complete in December.
• Shared that BHN, City of Boston, NPS, and University of Massachusetts Boston are working together
to form a Living Lab. MOA is currently in draft stages. Next step will be to put together a funding
proposal to develop methodologies to study sea level rise and storm surge data.
• Provided an update on BHN Requests for Proposal (RFP):

o Transportation RFP will be coming out mid-October;
o Greenway pavilion activation RFP has closed, BHN is reviewing proposals now.

• Announced the 35th anniversary of Harbor Walk this year. BHN will be helping to commemorate with a special speaker forum to include former elected officials and original members of the Boston Harborwalk Advisory Committee.


Massachusetts Port Authority (MassPort), presented by Connor LeBlanc

• Announced that the World Trade Center commonwealth pier revitalization project has been approved. Still working through the permitting process, but once complete, investments will be
made in water transportation infrastructure.
• Shared that the Institute for Contemporary Art in the East Boston shipyard has completed its second
successful season.
• Shared that MassPort will be meeting with BHN and NPS to explore ways to promote the parts of the
Harbor Islands that are within MassPort’s jurisdiction.

Public Comment

  • Paul Federico, Friends of Boston Harbor Islands Board of Directors, shared that 40th anniversary booklets are available today for all Partnership members.

Adjournment

Motion to adjourn meeting by Priscilla Geigis, seconded by Marc Albert. Motion to adjourn approved unanimously. Meeting was adjourned at 3:30 pm and all attendees enjoyed a tour led by USCG. 

July 16, 2019

Meeting Minutes

Onboard the MVAbigail and on Peddocks Island
1:45-5:00 pm

Attendance:

Fred Laskey, MA Water Resource Authority
Michael Creasey, National Park Service
CAPT Eric Doucette, United States Coast Guard
CDR Taylor Lam, United States Coast Guard
Leo Roy, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
Priscilla Geigis, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
Richard McGuinness, Boston Planning and Development Agency
Kathy Abbott, Boston Harbor NOW
Maureen Cavanaugh, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council*
*Representing personal opinions only during time period of advisory council suspension.

Call to Order and Introductions

Chairman Laskey called meeting to order at 2:12 pm onboard the MV Abigail.

Minutes from previous meeting were distributed. Request from CDR Taylor Lam to modify meeting minutes from “eel cutter” to “eagle cutter.” Motion from Leo Roy to approve the minutes with CDR Lam’s modification. Motion seconded by Kathy Abbott. Minutes approved unanimously as amended.

Report-Outs

Boston Planning and Development Agency, presented by Richard McGuiness

  • Announced a workshop at BSA tonight at 6:00 pm to discuss climate change on the North End.


Boston Harbor Now, presented by Kathy Abbott

Announced:

  • Ads for the islands are up on public transit lines.
  • Spectacle on Spectacle had a record year for fundraising with almost 500 attendees.
  • BHN is releasing an RFI for Greenway activation on Thursday.
  • A draft RFP for the concessions contract on Spectacle and Georges Island and an RFI for a Peddocks pilot opportunity will follow.
  • The new trip planning website has reached 1.2 million views.

MA Department of Conservation and Recreation, presented by Leo Roy

  • Shared that moorings are in, totaling 75 new moorings with 35-40 planned to go in in the future.


Massachusetts Water Resource Authority, presented by Fred Laskey
 

  • Announced that construction on the fishing pier at Deer Island started today.

National Parks of Boston, presented by Michael Creasey

Reported:

  • All Hands on Deck Day of Stewardship on Peddocks Island was a huge success. Thanks to DCR for hosting.
  • Forty-eight Youth Conservation Corps employees are active in the parks facilitating camp experiences, building story-telling skills, running pop-up programming, and caring for park resources.
  • Harbor Discovery Camps start this week. Campers from Yawkee Boys and Girls Club will be on Georges today, Peddocks tomorrow, and Spectacle on Thursday.
  • Place-Based Boston summer teacher institute is next week, 7/22-26.
  • Stewardship Thursday and Saturday programs continue to connect volunteers directly to public lands through hands-on work on multiple islands.
  • Interns from UMass Boston and Brandeis are providing tremendous support for science, managing key habitats, and running our community volunteer programs.
  • We continue to work with BHN, Stone Foundation, UMass Boston, and other partners on the proposed Stone Living Lab at Boston Harbor Islands. Trip to NYC to learn about Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay was helpful.
  • Volunteers and the SCA Historic Preservation Crew have successfully planted 3,800 native plants from 8 species around the freshwater marsh areas on Grape and Thompson Islands. Deer fencing has been erected on Grape and staff is now working on keeping plants watered and the sites weeded as they get established.
  • Two years of monthly seal inventories have been funded by Mass Environmental Trust and are being led by Stephanie Wood at UMass Boston in partnership with NPS.
  • Long term monitoring of key species and habitats is ongoing throughout the islands: Coastal breeding birds, rocky intertidal communities, and small mammals are highlights.

Update on the Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council:

  • On June 14, an executive order was signed to reduce the number of federal advisory councils by ⅓ by September 30.
  • NPS was asked to provide information regarding the efficacy and functionality of the Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council.
  • NPS submitted a justification and is awaiting response.

Presentations

Peddocks Island Planning Update

Jack Murray and Alice Brown, Boston Harbor Now
Cassie Bethoney, Weston and Sampson Design Studio

  • Jack provided an overview of the Peddocks Vision Planning and public engagement process.
  • Alice shared concept boards that will now remain at Peddocks Island for visiting members of the public to see each planning scenario and provide input.
  • Alice shared that all (3) open houses are now complete.
  • Each open house had a drop-in style with substantial public involvement.
  • An addition venue for comment is available through an online survey, which remains open and can be found on the BHN website.
  • Cassie shared results from the open houses.
Top 4 categories, 1600 total votes:
 

Category

Total Votes

Most Popular Ideas

Education 345 Guided Walks/ Interpretive Signage (82 votes)
Sustainability 313 Renewable Energy (Solar/ Wind/ Hydro) (66 votes)
Recreation  286 Accessible Waterfront Camping (60 votes)
Site Amenities 281 Elevated Boardwalks near Marsh (94 votes)


Questions & Answers
(Q) Rich McGuinness: Asked if open houses shared concepts that have been successful on other islands to provide examples to participants.
(Q) Suzanne Gall Marsh: Agreed that examples would be helpful and suggested adding a question to ask participants what they like about other islands they have visited.
(Q) Michael Creasey: Asked if there were any ideas on how to activate the buildings.
(A) Cassie Bethoney: Responded that participants have shared a wide range of ideas.
(A) Alice Brown: Responded that the pilot Request for Information (RFI) will also generate different ideas.
(Q) Suzanne Gall Marsh: Requested additional information on the pilot RFI.
(A) Alice Brown: Responded that the pilot RFI will capture wide interest on projects that could move forward. Shared that the RFI is delayed and ideas will likely need to focus on next summer.
(A) Cassie Bethoney: Shared that they are currently following up on many leads from public meetings.
(Q) Suzanne Gall Marsh: Asked if the RFI includes building use or is more focused on programming.
(A) Alice Brown: Explained that an RFI was chosen instead of a Request for Proposals (RFP) since this is still an idea generating phase. Elaborated that anything requiring building use would likely be more long term in nature.
(A) Jack Murray: Shared that buildings on island are currently under lease agreements and will generally need more time to develop ideas for their use and require a larger investment. Explained that the necessary legal mechanisms for building use are not yet in place.
(Q) Kathy Abbott: Inquired if ideas could drive the need for legal mechanisms to be implemented.
(A) Susan Kane: Explained that only two buildings are currently open so DCR would need to really look at the different ideas generated.
(Q) Michael Creasey: Asked if access will be included in the RFI.
(Q) Kathy Abbott: Added that access remains to be the greatest challenge for all islands.
(A) Jack Murray: Explained that BHI and partners have discussed many different options.

Partnership Meeting then broke to tour Peddocks Islands.
Following the tour, all attendees returned to the MV Abigail and the meeting was opened for further questions or public comment. There were no further questions or public comment.

 

Adjournment


Leo Roy made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Kathy Abbott seconded the motion. Motion to adjourn was approved unanimously. Meeting was adjourned a 4:54 pm.

May 21, 2019

Meeting Minutes

EPA Building, 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA; Leighton Room

3:00- 4:30pm

Attendance:

Normal Mael, Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center Richard McGuinness, City of Boston
Priscilla Geigis, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
Leo Roy, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
Carolyn Fiore, MA Water Resource Authority
Fred Laskey, MA Water Resource Authority
Michael Creasey, National Park Service
CDR Taylor Lam, United States Coast Guard
Kathy Abbott, Boston Harbor Now
Stewart Dalzell, Mass Port Authority
Maureen Cavanaugh, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council*
Heather Deschenes, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council*
 *Representing personal opinions only during time period of advisory council suspension.

Call to Order and Introductions

Chairman Laskey called meeting to order at 3:08 pm.

Motion made by Michael Creasey to approve the minutes from the previous meeting, seconded by Carolyn Fiore. Minutes unanimously approved as distributed.

Presentations

 

A Vision for Moakley Park

Allison Perlman, Boston Parks and Recreation Department (PowerPoint presentation)

  • Moakley Park has 60 acres of open space located off Dorchester Bay in South Boston.

  • Space is currently being permitted for field use, but has very few permit requests despite its proximity to many neighborhoods.

  • Local area population around Moakley Park is expected to double in next ten years.

  • Park’s proximity to public housing creates opportunity to offer open space to low income residents.

  • City of Boston is committed to increasing ecological and social values through cleaner air, flood sinks, active recreation, and other community amenities that go beyond organized sports.

  • Moakley is a missing link of the Emerald Necklace.

  • Moakley Park Vision’s guiding principles:

    • Resilient Neighborhoods- Combat existing storm water flooding by developing a low laying berm and connecting an outer berm to existing land features.

    • Diverse Programs- Increase playability through materials and lighting; consider how recreation can remain dynamic and adaptable to changing community needs.

    • Accessibility for All- Stay responsive to community needs; consider who can access the park safely; connect to surrounding neighborhoods; create spaces where youth feel they belong.  

  • Next Steps:

    • Coordinate with other agencies;

    • Coordinate with climate-ready South Boston, including Dorchester resilience planning;

    • Preliminary design and technical analysis;

    • Pre-permitting feasibility study;

    • RFI for partnerships in maintenance and operations; and

    • Multi-faceted community engagement strategy.

Questions and Answers

(Q) Michael Creasey: Inquired if the city is considering any activities at Moakley that lead people out to the Boston Harbor and onto the Harbor Islands.
(A) Allison Perlman: Responded that yes, the city will be considering Island access.
(Q) Michael Creasey: Asked what type of entity the city is looking for in the partnership RFI.
(A) Allison Perlman: Responded that the partnership RFI is still in planning stages, but will likely focus on operations and maintenance, in addition to programming.

 

Water Transportation Plan

Alice Brown, Boston Harbor Now (PowerPoint presentation)

  • Business plans were released last month.

  • Overall goal is to increase the number of people visiting the Harbor Islands.

  • Recognition that the ferry is only one way that people get to the islands, with respect to private boaters in addition to ferry riders.

  • Island access strategy has been through stakeholder workshops, best practices research (studied 6 different ferry services around the country), and an RFI process.

  • Annual visitation to Harbor Islands has fluctuated year-to-year, but overall has remained steady. Economists have reported that current fluctuations are normal, with an average of around 105,000 visitors each year.

  • Next step is to issue an RFP based on recent findings.


Peddocks Island Planning Update
Jack Murray, Boston Harbor Now

  • DCR, NPS, and BHN are working together to develop several potential planning scenarios for Peddocks Island. The planning team has heard requests to have the Partnership review scenarios and to have broader outreach and engagement with Native American communities. Today’s presentation will allow the Partnership opportunity to comment. Peddocks Planning is and will continue to be a very inclusive process.

  • Shared that today’s presentation will prototype the upcoming open houses. Easels have been placed around the room with post-its and markers so that Partnership members and the general public can interact and provide feedback on what they see.

Cheri Ruane, Weston and Sampson Design Studio (PowerPoint presentation)

  • Steps for Peddocks Planning:

    • Research, analysis, and site visits;

    • Workshops with partner agencies;

    • Infrastructure planning;

    • Public engagement- current step;

    • Pilot education program – slated for this and next summer to try out different models and learn what could work; and

    • Master plan development.

  • Plan for public engagement:

    • Open houses have been planned throughout the city.

      • June 12, 2019 at Hingham Public Library, 6 Leavitt St, Hingham from 4-8:00 pm.

      • June 22, 2019 at the Welcome Center, 191 W Atlantic Ave, Boston from 9-2:00 pm.

      • June 27, 2019 at the Pilot House, 32 Atlantic Ave, Boston from 4-8:00 pm.

    • At the top of each hour, there will be a short presentation followed by a “Gallery Walk,” in which participants look at various planning components and vote for scenarios and programming elements.

    • An online survey will allow participation outside of in-person sessions.

Questions and Answers

(Q) Maureen Cavanaugh: Inquired how surveys and open houses will be made accessible to diverse communities.
(A) Cheri Ruane: Responded that Planning Team is using DCR, NPS, and BHN email lists in addition to social media and personal outreach to different communities.
(Q) Michael Creasey: Asked Allison Perlman from City of Boston if they have learned any new strategies for diverse public engagement through the Moakley Park planning process.
(A) Allison Perlman: Responded that a certain group of people is typically reached through mailings, list serves, and all of our usual channels. The City has developed an idea of which neighborhoods are not being reached through usual channels and has identified leaders of each community. Next, City officials will go to community meetings to get information in front of community members.

Meeting broke and time was allotted to look at and engage with Peddocks planning scenarios located around the room.

Report-Outs


City of Boston, presented by Richard McGuiness

  • Shared that for more info on flood plan maps related to the Moakley presentation, check the city’s website.

  • Reported that Boston has developed some unique strategies in zoning layers for flood hazards, including looking at all building types within the floodplain to see how they could be retrofitted. A public engagement process is underway to learn more and provide comment on the overlay district.


Mass Port Authority, presented by Stewart Dalzell

  • Reported that Mass Port is staying in close contact with the Army Corps through the dredging project, with over 4 million cubic yards excavated thus far.

  • Announced that Mass Port has recently launched a public realm initiative to look at public spaces in Boston, updates coming soon.

  • Announced that Commonwealth Pier is in the permitting process for redevelopment and a large part of the building will be removed to create open space. Project is currently under public review.


Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center, presented by Norman Mael

  • Announced that on June 6th Thompson Island will host an annual education conversation with a guest speaker from Bechtel. Let Norm know if you are interested in attending.

  • Shared appreciation for everyone who has helped with water line replacement. Application is pending.


Massachusetts Water Resource Authority, presented by Carolyn Fiore and Fred Laskey

  • Announced that on May 25 there will be an opening ceremony for the Great Hunger Memorial at Deer Island. This memorial will commemorate the hundreds of Irish immigrants who were quarantined and died on the Harbor Islands.


National Parks of Boston, presented by Michael Creasey

  • Announced that ethics guides have gone out to Partnership members to meet our annual training requirement. Please read the guidelines, sign the acknowledgement form, and return it to Angela.

  • Welcomed seasonal staff that will be working out on the Islands all summer and Bob Wilbur, new Deputy Superintendent for National Parks of Boston.

  • Reviewed upcoming Partnership meeting schedule to include July 16th trip to Peddocks Island.

  • Shared NPS programming highlights:

    • 500+ Boston students are going to Spectacle for programming this spring, made possible with support from BHN, NPS, and the National Park Trust.

    • 50 high school students have been selected for youth employment and development programs this summer.

    • Historias de Boston is kicking off again this year to reach Latinx youth.

    • Hill to Harbor is also returning to connect the Dorchester Heights community to the Harbor.

    • A new trip planning site is live, congratulations to Boston Harbor Now on the web design project.

  • Shared that the NPS has some work ahead for Little Brewster Island, will be connecting with USCG.

  • Offered congratulations to Friends of Boston Harbor Islands on a successful 40th anniversary cruise!

  • Shared appreciation for Sonja Plesset of Plymouth Rock Foundation for advancing the living laboratory project with an upcoming trip to the Jamaica Bay Institute in New York to talk about resiliency.


MA Department of Conservation and Recreation, presented by Leo Roy

  • Shared congratulations to Friends of Boston Harbor Islands for the wonderful anniversary cruise.


Boston Harbor Now, presented by Kathy Abbott

  • Welcomed new summer interns at BHN.

  • Shared congratulations and appreciation for Suzanne Gall- Marsh of Friends of Boston Harbor Islands for 40 years of support.

  • Announced that this year’s opening day had the highest turnout ever and that all rangers (DCR & NPS) on island did phenomenal work to make the day special for visitors.

  • Shared that BHN is investing in marketing the Islands this year with plans for radio ads and print ads on subway and in the newspaper.

  • Announced that the park website is now live, with appreciation for an inkind donation from Jack Rabbit and NPS contribution to upgrade the site.

  • Announced that Spectacle of Spectacle is coming up on June 20th, tickets are available.


US Coast Guard, presented by CDR Taylor Lam

  • Announced that on August 9-12 a USCG eagle cutter cadet training ship will be docked in Salem. Encouraged everyone to go see it.
     

Public Comment


Maureen Cavanaugh: Shared appreciation for the Peddocks Planning Team postponement of public meetings to allow for today’s comment opportunity. Appreciation for NPS and DCR stepping up to capture a diverse group of public interests in light of advisory council’s suspension.

Suzanne Gall Marsh, Founder of Friends of Boston Harbor Islands: Announced that the Gallops Island Monument will find a new home in the Hingham Shipyard, appreciation for those who made this possible.

Adjournment

Motion to adjourn by Michael Creasey, seconded by Priscilla Geigis. Motion approved unanimously. Meeting adjourned at 4:36 pm.

March 19, 2019

Meeting Minutes

Wilmer Hale, 60 State Street, 26th Floor, Boston, MA 

Attendance:

Alicia Leuba, The Trustees of Reservations
Arthur Pearson, Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center
Richard McGuiness, City of Boston
Priscilla Geigis, MA Department of Recreation and Conservation
Carolyn Fiore, MA Water Resource Authority
Fred Laskey, MA Water Resource Authority
Michael Creasey, National Park Service
CDR Taylor Lam, United States Coast Guard
Kathy Abbott, Boston Harbor NOW
Cathy Stone, Boston Harbor NOW
Maureen Cavanaugh, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council*
Elizabeth Solomon, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council*
Rob Moir, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council*
*Representing personal opinions only during time period of advisory council suspension.

 

Call to Order and Introductions


Chairman Laskey called meeting to order at 3:05 pm.

Motion made by Michael Creasey to approve the minutes from the previous meeting, seconded by Kathy Abbott. Minutes unanimously approved as distributed.

Presentations

Boston Harbor Islands Coastal Science & Adaptation

Marc Albert, National Park Service (PowerPoint Presentation) 

Three different projects are happening around the park concurrently.

Woods Hole Group:

  • Developing a regional flood model.

Boston University:

  • Three year study of three sets of islands.
  • Developing a local flood geo-response map to predict resource and facility vulnerability.
  • Using hydrodynamic data collection to capture water level and speed.
  • Mapping site-specific coastal features, resources, and facilities.
  • Collecting bluff retreat rate at some sites.

University of Rhode Island:

  • Atmospheric study of nor'easter hazards at Cape Cod National Seashore, Acadia National Park, and Boston Harbor Islands.
  • Storm vulnerability info can be used to inform planning and decision making.

NPS is working to integrate each study and develop a common language for the way we study coastal changes and develop adaptations.
NPS is hiring a Science Communication Specialist to aid the parks in learning how to discuss climate change with the public.

Living Laboratory for Climate Innovation

Sonja Plesset, Stone Foundation (PowerPoint presentation) 

Will answer two questions:

What role do the Boston Harbor Islands play in the overall resiliency of Boston Harbor?

How can we integrate the islands into the climate resiliency plan for Boston and the Massachusetts shoreline?

Progress to date:

  • Steering committee.
  • Technical study.
  • Design charrette.
  • Meetings with regulators and island owners.
  • Planning process for living lab.
  • Living laboratory would test solutions to protect coastline.
  • Focus on public engagement (education tools for K-12, kiosks, guided tours, and access to data and results).
  • Knowledge transfer would ensure that lessons learned are shared around the work, expanding a toolkit beyond MA.

Site selection process:

  • Six possible locations (Gallops/ Nixes Mate, Georges, Rainsford, Peddocks, Thompson, and Long Islands) are being assessed for logistics and broader impacts; like partnerships, education, and recreation.
  • Scientific considerations for site selection include studying high wave interaction and energy, living shoreline, water quality enhancement, diversity of ecosystems, usefulness of dredge materials, etc.
  • Each island is then rated for suitability.

Selection criteria:

  • Logistical suitability for a living lab (infrastructure, owner support, etc.).
  • Broader impacts (educational, partnership, and recreational opportunities).
  • Scientific considerations.

Next Steps:

  • Continue consulting land owners.
  • Complete matric and develop research model.
  • Create organizational structure.
  • Begin baseline conditions work.
  • Hold pre-application discussions with regulators.


Questions and Answers

Michael Creasey: Inquired about timeline of projects.
Marc Albert: Explained that each study has different timeline. Around 2020-2021, there will be some maps and products.
Michael Creasey: Inquired about the ability to apply living lab lessons on a broader scale.
Sonja Plesset: Used seawalls as an example of scale, explaining that Stone can test out different ways to work with seawalls, like how they can be built to provide ecological, recreational, and other benefits.
Then, each can be tested in a “low risk environment,” since islands don’t have critical infrastructure. Results from those tests can be shared with municipalities.
Elizabeth Solomon: Inquired what infrastructure would be necessary for a viable lab.
Sonja Plesset: Explained that partnering with UMass Boston has provided the lab space needed for the project. Infrastructure needs now just include making the island accessible for researchers with water, camping, bathrooms, ADA accessibility, etc.
Marc Albert: Added that the project also would have researchers bring students out, requiring a participatory/ meeting space.
Arthur Pearson: Asked for clarification on range of project going into Maine.
Marc Albert: Clarified that models are site specific, involving Acadia, but not the whole gulf of Maine. Fred Laskey: Asked if models could work on shorelines in addition to on islands and what permits and approvals might be involved.
Sonja Plesset: Provided that a shore-based solution is being evaluated as one option, but that islands offer better solutions due to the lack of critical infrastructure and the ecosystems found on island that don’t exist on-shore.
Marc Albert: Added that in order to attract ongoing research, location needs to be more scientifically-free to protect islands. The host island is not the extent of the research, the host provides the home-base, but the whole archipelago and harbor will be grounds for learning.
Sonja Plesset: Added that an island location gives the living lab more visibility and elevates the basis of study.
Michael Creasey: Inquired about the timeframe for use of dredge material.
Sonja Plesset: Explained that conversations are ongoing to see if rock material can be utilized. Gaining dredge material can be coordinated with Army Corps projects up and down the coast if current materials can’t be used.
 
Marc Albert: Addressed earlier question on permitting. Gaining approvals will be extensive and difficult, which is why landowner buy-in is so critical.
Rob Moir: Added that as an educator, going out to Deer Island with school groups has been great. Suzanne Gall Marsh: Asked how sites on Gallops and Lovells Islands that with archeological resources will be protected.
Marc Albert: Explained that those are very large areas and each dot just represents a sample site. The whole of some islands are archeological sites.
Cathy Stone: Added that in a meeting with regulators, alternative mechanisms can’t always be approved because they don’t have data, so a lot of this information leads to scaling.
Fred Laskey: Thanked the Stone Foundation for this research on behalf of BHI Partnership.

 

Resilient Boston Harbor Vision

Alison Brizius and Richard McGuiness, City of Boston (PowerPoint presentation) 

  • Mayor Walsh has announced a new vision for a resilient Boston harbor.
  • Vision was created to unify three neighborhood-by-neighborhood analyses.
  • Goal is to create more green space, beaches, and waterfront parks- all to bring more people to the harbor; using the threat of sea level rise to create opportunity.
  • Shared maps with visions for Belle Isle Marsh, Constitution Beach, Downtown, South Boston, Seaport, and Dorchester Heights.


Questions and Answers

Arthur Pearson: Inquired about the use of berms with New Orleans as an example.
Alison Brizius: Explained that barriers can vary, but everything City is doing is still in model-phase right now.
Richard McGuiness: Further clarified that in some cases, physical modifications will include things like subtle elevation changes, parks, etc., not always physical walls and berms.
Alison Brizius: Elaborated that through the creation of green space, views may not need to be blocked. Strategic points can be targeted to block water in order to gain time before further interventions are needed. This will require all agencies working in unison to stitch parcels together and to obtain funding. Richard McGuiness: Explained that the City has applied for a federal pre-disaster mitigation grant for the former Gillette property. The grant is for design, engineering, and construction.
Kathy Abbott: Added that there will also be a need private sector investment.
Michael Creasey: Inquired if the island studies can inform some of this decision making.
Alison Brizius: Answered that City will be doing some immediate short-term interventions, but do need more studies on how to revitalize and protect ecosystems. Island studies will be helpful. The second part of the plan will focus on reducing emissions to mitigate the need for interventions.
Elizabeth Solomon: Asked what timeframe will be used to address the issue.
Alison Brizius: Explained that the planning is not based on a timeframe, but rather on a level of resilience- with planning for 40 inches of sea level rise and 1% annual chance storm, the target is around 2070s, however the overall focus is on climate-readiness.
Elizabeth Solomon: Added that planning for 50 years may not be broad enough.
 
Alison Brizius: Elaborated that Greater Boston Research Advisory Group continues to assess climate risk and give City new information and projects to inform the planning horizon.
Michael Creasey: Added that the Mayor’s plan to reduce emissions lends itself to a broader longer-range plan.
Alison Brizius: Furthered that implementation of the emissions reduction plan will inform the planning team if 7 feet of projected rise is enough mitigation or if planning is needed for greater rise.
Elizabeth Solomon: Asked what city is doing to encourage developers to plan for resilience, specifically in the Seaport district.
Richard Solomon: Responded that all recent development is done with resilience planning in place, gave examples of elevated floors, additional clearance, LEED certification, etc. Projects 50 SF or greater now have to demonstrate resilience in planning and design. Smart utilities planning requires projects 100,000 SF or greater need to plan for storm water onsite. All development plans for new growth are accounting for resilience. Existing and older buildings are vulnerable and will need protections individually with retrofitting. There are over 86,000 current buildings in the City that need retrofits.
Michael Creasey: Asked what planning is in place for infrastructure.
Alison Brizius: Explained that the city has planned for layered resilience with active participation with MassPort, MBTA, etc.
Richard McGuiness: Furthered that DPW has guidelines for improving sidewalks, roadways, etc. Arthur Pearson: Inquired about impacts on shipping.
Richard McGuiness: Responded that certain areas, like Marine Park, Conway Terminal, etc. need to remain open. Docking and other systems need to be integrated into planning.
Rob Moir: Commented that he is glad to see nature being used as a sponge. Added that there were challenges in the Mystic River last year with loss of fish population.

 

Peddocks Island Planning Update

Cheri Ruane, Weston & Sampson Design Studio 

  • Have started compiling various scenarios for Peddocks.
  • Strategizing for programming and infrastructure needs to support programming.
  • Working to GPS current infrastructure on-island that is deteriorating.
  • Considering pilot projects on-island:
  • One potential is growing oysters in a protected environment that the public can see and learn from.
  • Developing governance and economic conditions analysis of the island.
  • A plan for public engagement has been developed:
  • All information will be presented through a series of open houses so that planning team can learn from the public.


Questions and Answers

Elizabeth Solomon: Inquired if potential scenarios will be presented to the Partnership prior to the open houses.
Cheri Ruane: Responded that the planning team will meet with each organization in advance of public houses, including DCR, NPS, and BHN.
Jack Murray: Elaborated that the next step will be to take draft scenarios to BHI operations committee. Explained that there are no current plans for this to go out to the Partnership as a whole before it becomes public.
Elizabeth Solomon: Clarified that not everyone typically present at Partnership meetings attend the operations committee meetings. Expressed desire for the opportunity for Partnership to review scenarios before open houses.
Rob Moir: Asked if BHN could host something after-hours for the Partnership to review scenarios. Jack Murray: Answered that a Partnership meeting could be scheduled after hours.
Elizabeth Solomon: Expressed concern that there has been no outreach to Native American communities throughout this project.
Cheri Ruane: Explained that no groups have been reached out to yet and that planning for public engagement is happening now.
Elizabeth Solomon: Noted that outreach to Native American communities should not be conflated with outreach to the general public.
Rob Moir: Commented that Native American communities are a part of the Partnership, which was the point of the advisory council.
Kristen Wyman: Added that the advisory council has always been an avenue for public input, reaching Native American communities and beyond. Commented that there does not seem to be a process in place at all for Native American engagement. Expressed that there should be a process for working with advisory council even though they are suspended, since they have historically handled public outreach. Suzanne Gall Marsh: Added that the advisory council is an ambassador to the public and that the suspension should not mean that public engagement cannot happen.
Kristen Wyman: Emphasized that Boston Harbor Islands is a public park that belongs to the American people and that there needs to be an avenue for public engagement beyond a meeting during the business week.
Fred Laskey: Requested clarification in what was being requested. Inquired if this request is for a meeting of the advisory council or for a process of Native American engagement.
Elizabeth Solomon: Responded that the request is for plans to be brought to the Partnership meeting. Added that there has been no consultation with Native American communities. Clarified that engagement is needed, as opposed to a briefing.
Fred Laskey: Asked if a meeting can be set up to consult with Native American communities and the advisory council members.
Jack Murray: Responded that this is possible, but that the project is still in its beginning phases. Emphasized that this is not a secret process and this is the third time the Partnership has been briefed. Michael Creasey: Requested clarification on if this would be a meeting of the advisory council.
Fred Laskey: Clarified that this would not be an advisory council meeting.
Jack Murray: Offered that this could be a consultation with Native American communities specifically or it could be included within the operations committee meeting which is scheduled monthly.
Michael Creasey: Suggested that operations committee meeting would be a more appropriate format. Fred Laskey: Clarified that members of the advisory council could be invited, but not in any official advisory capacity. Also suggested that Native American communities be invited.
Rob Moir: Offered that it is not desirable to include this in an operations committee meeting.
Michael Creasey: Agreed to take all suggestions under consideration. Requested concurrence with DCR staff.
Cathy Stone: Suggested that it would be inconsistent with the culture of the Partnership for Native American communities to not be included. Furthered that it was always the Partnership’s intention to include these communities and develop a greater understanding of the islands.
Marc Albert: Added that there was once a planning committee. If the operations committee is best, then that is fine, but there was once a better format for this type of meeting.
Suzanne Gall Marsh: Noted that islands are under-utilized because of the current boat schedule. Emphasized a need for weekend, fall access via inter-island shuttle service.

 

Report-Outs


The Trustees of Reservations, presented by Alicia Leuba

Announced that TTOR is working on:

  • Boston Waterfront Initiative.
  • Agreement with MassPort for a feasibility study.
  • Summer youth employment program through the waterfront ambassadors program.
  • Climate Ready Boston.
  • Partnering with UMass on developing coastal strategies to identify areas of high value habitat and public access that are currently unprotected.
  • Developing a state of the coast report to look at TTOR properties and how they are changing over time.
  • Coastal education work at Crane Beach on impacts of sea level rise. Considering pulling together a state-wide conference for adaptation.

Announced that World’s End parking improvements are done, landscape will now be improved. Will now begin replacing heritage trees and reinvesting in landscape to address drainage throughout property.


Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center (TIOBEC), presented by Arthur Pearson

Shared that TIOBEC is currently:

  • Scaling up current partnerships with BPS. In 5 years, the goal is to reach 2,600 kids each year.
  • Working to restore reliable water to island.
  • Preparing for kids coming back next month.

Announced that TIOBEC:

  • Is a tentative designee for a ramp and float system with BPDA.

Received a CPA grant to restore Salah Hall.


City of Boston, presented by Richard McGuiness

Announced that the City of Boston:

  • Has kicked off planning for North End waterfront to look at various sea-level rise scenarios and how we can augment shorelines, including Long and Central Wharf. Scenarios will result in concept designs, and moving quickly on FEMA grant proposals for pre-disaster mitigation.
  • Working on overlay for sea-level zoning districts for high-risk areas with guidelines to retrofit buildings.

Reminded everyone to sign up for email alerts for your neighborhood.


MA Department of Conservation and Recreation, presented by Priscilla Geigis

Shared that MA DCR is currently:

  • Working through summer seasonal hiring.
  • Preparing for leadership academy to begin next month with a focus on working together in a changing climate.
  • Training a new Student Conservation Association crew.
  • Continuing with mooring project with 69 moorings slated for installation by April 27. Phase two will add for 49 additional moorings by fall at Peddocks.


MA Water Resource Authority, presented by Fred Laskey

Announced that MWRA is currently:

  • Using revenue from fish licenses to enhance access to fishing via a new pier at Deer Island.
  • Preparing a new cable to go under the harbor.
  • Putting together a workgroup to think about water transportation.


National Parks of Boston, presented by Michael Creasey

Announced that:

  • Opening Day for public ferries is May 18th.
  • Park and partners are hosting a City Nature Challenge event as part of an international bio blitz April 26-29.
  • Volunteer citizen scientists are looking at coastal breeding in early May.
  • NPS is working with TIOBEC to recruit green ambassador youth program.
  • Beth Jackendoff is preparing for parental leave.

Shared proposed schedule and themes for future BHI Partnership meetings:

  • May 21 to focus on island access, requested ideas/input (Moakely, Pierce, Long Wharf, Charlestown shared as ideas).
  • July 16 trip to Peddocks.
  • September 17, considering inviting U.S. congressional delegation for briefing on Harbor Islands Partnership.


US Coast Guard, presented by CDR Taylor Lam

Thanked BHN for looking at funding options for a floating dock at Brewster Island.
Announced that as cruises resume, USCG is looking to address safety concerns, particularly considering the safety of potable water on island.


Boston Harbor Now, presented by Kathy Abbott

Thanked everyone for all of today’s presentations.
Shared enthusiasm and gratitude for how the City, Commonwealth, islands, and parks are all so engaged and active, with a shared sense of urgency for the changing climate.
Shared that water transportation contract loses money every year. A lot of marketing money that was once infused in the park has stopped.

Announced that BHN:

  • Will be putting substantial funding into marketing ferry access this year.
  • Will be getting two new tents on Spectacle this year funded by CPA grants.
  • Currently recruiting a volunteer manager.
  • Has selected two artists-in-residence for this summer, a poet and quilter.
  • Has scheduled Spectacle on Spectacle for June 20.

 

Public Comment

Tani Marinovich, new President of Save the Harbor, Save the Bay

  • Announced a Destination Boston Harbor event next Thursday night to honor Patty Foley for her accomplishments over the past 20 years. Email Tani for more info.

Suzanne Gall Marsh, Founder, Friends of Boston Harbor Islands

  • Announced a public cruise on May 5th will celebrate the 40th anniversary of FBHI. Cruise is free and open to the public. Boston Harbor Cruises has donated the boat to be used.

Kristen Wyman, member of the Nipmuc Tribe

  • Encouraged all who are thinking about resilience to consider tribes that have survived mass removal and incarceration on islands. Emphasized that we are in colonized spaces and that Nipmuc is a recognized tribe. Reminded Partnership that there are many different nations that see this as their space. Emphasized the importance of teaching youth about the history of the islands and Native spaces. Expressed concern about Long Island and bridge project with Native American communities not being considered. Encouraged Partnership to remember that you cannot begin a system of resilience starting with the Mayflower’s arrival, but need to consider historic use of places. Requested a more robust Native American engagement process, with a reminder that some communities are not federally recognized and are being left out of engagement processes with the advisory committee’s current suspension. Emphasized that the suspension should not dictate the level of Native American engagement.

Adjournment

Motion to adjourn by Richard McGuiness, seconded Kathy Stone. Motion approved unanimously. Meeting adjourned at 5:00 pm.

 

2018 Meeting Notes

November 21, 2018

Meeting Minutes

Wilmer Hale, 60 State Street, 26th Floor, Boston, MA 
3:00-4:30 pm

Attendance:

Elizabeth Solomon, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council
Carolyn Fiore, Massachusetts Water Resource Authority
Frederick Laskey, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
CDR Taylor Lam, United States Coast Guard
CAPT Eric Doucette, United States Coast Guard
Kathy Abbott, Boston Harbor Now
Cathy Stone, Boston Harbor Now
Michael Creasey, National Park Service
Arthur Pearson, Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center
Leo Roy, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation
Priscilla Geigis, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation
Susan Kane, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation
Jocelyn Forbush, The Trustees of Reservations
Stewart Dalzell, Massachusetts Port Authority

Call to Order and Introductions

Chairman Fred Laskey called meeting to order at 3:03 PM.
A motion was made by Cathy Stone to approve minutes from previous meeting, seconded by Leo Roy. The minutes of the previous meeting were unanimously approved as distributed.

Presentations

Peddocks Island Master Plan

Cheri Ruane, Weston & Sampson (PowerPoint)

Weston & Sampson reflected on what they heard at the last meeting, including:

  • There are sensitive resources of the island that need to be respected and any re-programming or new elements introduced will consider all cultural sensitivities.

  • Any changes to the island will be done in coordination with DCR, NPS, BHN, and
    all stakeholders with the park’s legislation in mind.

Weston & Sampson had a two day workshop with their project team. They spent one full day at Peddocks and spent the second day visiting other islands. Other accomplishments include:

  • Working on a renewable energy audit to understand the island’s power to produce energy.
  • Reviewing archival documents from DCR to understanding both existing and previous thinking about the island.
  • Considering examples from other cities, ferry schedules, and other logistical components.
  • Have pushed forward a number of the projected scenarios (detailed at previous meeting).
    • Scenarios are being narrowed and focused.

Next steps: On December 18th, there will be a workshop with the steering committee project crew to flesh out each scenario as it relates to permitting, legislation, and financial feasibility. Following the meeting, technical memorandums will be issued and pilot programs will begin next summer.

Questions & Answers
(Q) Elizabeth Solomon- Inquired about public input process.
(A) Cheri Ruane- Public meetings will start in early spring.
(Q) Elizabeth Solomon- Concerned that public input will not be received early enough to be fully incorporated into each pilot.
(A) Cheri Ruane- Explained that the ideas for each pilot need to be fleshed out more so that public meetings will lead to a productive dialogue.
(Q) Michael Creasey- Inquired if each pilot will be more programmatic as opposed to focusing on things like infrastructure and developmental changes.
(A) Cheri Ruane- Confirmed programmatic nature of each pilot, adding that no pilot scenarios will be completely developed at the time of the public meetings. Pilots will align with permitting requirements, legislation, the mission of DCR, but won’t be fully developed until public meetings are held and comment is received.
(Q) Marc Albert- Inquired about moving master planning beyond programming to include plans for development within the context of a public engagement process.
(A) Cheri Ruane- Explained that each pilot will first be clarified (to fully understand the challenges each pilot presents) then full landscape strategies will begin to be folded in.

Thompson Island Water Line and Dock Construction Opportunities

Arthur Pearson, Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center (TIOBEC)

Two big opportunities exist for us to be better stewards of Thompson Island.

  • Opportunity #1: Create an inclusive gateway to the island for local area students.
    • Current island access begins at a dock at Berth 10 inside the seaport (built in early 1990s).
    • TIOBEC wants to upgrade this access point and share it widely.
    • Have submitted a proposal to BPDA to build a new dock system that is fully accessible.
      • Proposal would replace the dock in its current location but reduce the dock’s slope at all tidal levels to meet compliance standards.
      • If funded, TIOBEC would consider sharing dock space with any interested parties.
  • Opportunity #2: Provide running water on island for this and future generations.
    • Current water delivery system is through a pipeline (constructed in the 1950s) that connects Thompson Island with Squantum and Quincy through a narrow strip of land under water.
    • On September 23rd, water stopped flowing to Thompson Island due to a breach in the pipeline.
    • TIOBEC spent 2-3 weeks isolating the site of the leak with help from a dive team.
    • Eventually, the pipeline was patched and water came back on.
    • Without water, staff at TIOBEC successfully continued to provide programming with creative use of a barge, water trucks, and portable restrooms, which was not easy nor inexpensive.
    • A total replacement will need to be considered as the current pipeline is aged and susceptible to corrosion.
      • TIOBEC has received varying rough estimates ranging from $600,000 to 1.9 million; all from engineers with very different design ideas.

Questions & Answers
(Q) Elizabeth Solomon- Expressed concern for archeological sensitivity of pipeline area (existing and future) and voiced need to consider use of techniques that ensure that archeological sites are not disturbed.
(A) Arthur Pearson- Ensured all that TIOBEC has knowledge of archeological considerations and will utilize all necessary consultants throughout the planning process.

Harbor Dredging Update

Stewart Dalzell, Massachusetts Port Authority (Powerpoint)

MassPort, Army Corps, and other agencies have been working together to look at deepening the harbor for a long time.

  • Current Dredging Plans:
    • Deepen the entrance channel (-51’).
    • Deepen areas leading up the reserve (-47’). o Deepen outer channel (-51’).
    • Deepen inner harbor and anchorage off deer island (-47’).
    • Operate 2-3 dredging systems at same time in different locations, starting late summer.
  • All plans are currently ahead of anticipated schedule.
  • After dredging, MassPort will have an estimated 12 million yd3 of gravel, silt, and clay; in addition to 380,000 yd3 of rock that will need to be broken up.
    • Materials will be taken to a Mass Bay disposal site ~20 miles off shore, adjacent to an industrial waste site.
    • Army Corps is open to alternative plans for dredge waste.
  • Project timeline:
    • Partnering Agreement Execution- September 2017.
    • Mechanical Dredging Contract Award- February/ March 2018.
    • Mechanical Dredging Contract Completion- 2021.
    • Fast Rock Removal Contract Start- 2020.
    • Fast Rock Removal Contract Finish- 2021.

Mass Port is working on the following additional projects:

  • Conley Terminal Berth 10 Improvement Project.
    • Constructing new deep-water container ship berth at former Coastal Oil property.
    • Dredging both the new Berth 10 and existing Berth 11 (-50’).
    • Project Timeline:
      • Phase I- Bulkhead, dredging, and rock removal.
        • Construction mobilization- July 2018.
        • Demolition of existing structures and bulkhead installation- ongoing.
        • Dredging and rock removal- Fall of 2018.
        • Work completion- Late 2020.
      • Phase II- Pile driving, deck construction, utilities.
        • Bid has been awarded.
        • Construction commencement- early 2019.
        • Cranes.
          • Proposal accepted, under review.
        • Project completion- 2021.
  • Thomas E. Butler Memorial Park.
    • Located on East First Street in South Boston.
    • Includes a noise buffer for community benefit.
  • Hank Miller Memorial Park.
    • Located on Summer Street in South Boston.

Questions & Answers
None; discussion from audience members about how seamless dredging project has been without interruption to ferry schedules, transportation, etc.

Partnership Investment Reporting

National Parks of Boston, presented by Michael Creasey

  • National Park Service staff would like to capture the amount of non-federal and federal dollars that are spent each year by all Partnership members on projects related to the mission of Boston Harbor Islands. Information was captured in previous years and presented to congressional leadership to display the power that partnerships can have to leverage private sector dollars in support of public lands. NPS requests updates from the group.


Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council, presented by Elizabeth Solomon

  • Council is still suspended and unable to meet, no updates.

Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, presented by Carolyn Fiore

  • No updates.

United States Coast Guard, presented by CAPT Eric Doucette and Taylor Lam

  • No updates.

Boston Harbor Now, presented by Kathy Abbott and Cathy Stone

  • Continuing to work on coastal resiliency project with Stone Foundation and other partners to look for potential sites that may or may not work for dredging materials.
  • Water transportation, food service on the islands, and more options will be looked into in the upcoming year.
  • Had a wrap-up for last year’s artists-in-residence program and unveiled a new CRD for the upcoming year’s artist-in-residence program.
  • Thinking about how programs are packaged and marketed, will be adding marketing funds to almost every project proposal to increase marketing efforts in future years.


National Parks of Boston, presented by Michael Creasey

  • Navy Yard Visitor Experience Plan is out and funding has been received from Charlestown (totaling 3 million) to activate the Navy Yard.
    • A new visitor experience center will be added at the DOI Store (slated for design this June).
  • Volunteer program had 3,434 volunteers this year; completing 50,230 hours, totaling $1.2 million in in-kind value.
  • A pilot project to create development opportunities as a pipeline for youth employment has completed its first few years. Hoosac staff would like to take this project to a different level with a focus on local youth. Project will teach trade skills in resource management, landscape preservation, etc. to highlight careers in public lands. There will be a workshop in December 2018 and the park may look to the Partnership to help recommend students to enroll or to participate in creating pathways to employment for program youth.
  • Would like to focus the next Partnership meeting on sustainability and sea level rise impacts. Could have Chris Cook talk about the Boston’s sustainability strategy; Cathy Stone discuss NPS) talk about the park’s work with Boston University.

Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, presented by Frederick Laskey

  • Working to replace electrical lines to Deer Island.
  • Moving forward with plans to install a salt water fishing pier off of Deer Island with accessible parking.
    • Working with local residents to address and mitigate concerns of increased access through a congested roadway.

Thompson Island Outward Bound, presented by Arthur Pearson

  • Extended programming at Thompson Island to 9 total schools that have committed to bring all students in grades 5-8 out to the island. This is a significant expansion from past year’s programming.

Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, presented by Leo Roy

  • Cemetery renovations on Gallops Island are complete (in this phase). Project found more material than anticipated, which is currently being studied by archeologists. This project provided an interesting study of climate changes impacts on cultural resources.
  • Have improved visitor circulation at World’s End.
    • Added ~100 new parking spaces.
    • Changed driving approach, turnaround, and access.
  • Focused on open space in the harbor and considering East Boston opportunity.
  • Wrapping up coastal strategy planning and may have more info to share at next meeting.
  • Removed 12 dangerous cottages on Peddocks Islands

 

Public Input

Dalzell Benjamin Glynn, United States Coast Guard: Developing an annex of all islands that will list out the stewards for each, resources available, and more to be on-hand in the event of a spill or other emergency incident.

Next Meeting

Next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 15, 2019; location MassPort.

Adjourn

Motion to adjourn the meeting by Leo Roy, seconded by Chairman Tuxhorn. Meeting adjourned at 4:15 pm.

September 18, 2018

Meeting Minutes

Wilmer Hale, 60 State Street, 26th Floor, Boston, MA
3:00- 4:30pm

Attendance

Frederick Laskey, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
Michael Creasey, National Park Service
Captain Eric Doucette, United States Coast Guard
Leo Roy, Priscilla Geigis, and Susan Kane, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation
Laura Gilmore (representing Andrew Hargens), Massachusetts Port Authority
Chris Busch, Boston Planning and Development Agency
Kathy Abbott and Cathy Stone, Boston Harbor Now
Alicia Leuba, The Trustees of Reservations
Elizabeth Solomon and Rob Moir, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council

Call to Order and Introductions

Chairman Fred Laskey called meeting to order at 3:08 PM.
A motion was made by Fred Lansky to approve minutes from previous meeting, seconded by Leo Roy.
The minutes of the previous meeting were unanimously approved as distributed.

Presentations

Cultural Landscape Draft Study
Jeff Killion, National Park Service, Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation (PowerPoint)
A draft cultural landscape inventory (CLI) of Peddock’s Island has been completed. The CLI is a tool that park managers use to establish baseline information on historically layered landscapes. The CLI identifies and documents the size, location, physical development, characteristics, and defining features of assets within a cultural landscape.

DCR Updates and Introduction of the Master Plan for Peddocks Island
Leo Roy, Commissioner, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation

DCR Updates:

  • DCR plans for Gallops Island to excavate and identify the remains, left exposed by a succession of powerful winter storms, and re-inter unclaimed sets of remains on the mainland, which will include restoration of the site, will be delayed until the fall.
  • Mooring permits have been forwarded to local commissions, DCR intends to drop moorings in fall to be ready for spring launch, projected 80-90 moorings.

Peddocks Island:

  • Permitting delays for the demolition of 12 cottages in serious disrepair with safety hazards, are now scheduled for demo in October.
  • Peddocks Plan will look at the island holistically (accounting for both natural and cultural resources) to envision a future. Will embark on a robust public process to determine the vision of the community and meet the recreational needs of future generations. The RFP process is complete, had 11 submissions with 1 selected consultant – Weston & Sampson.

Peddocks Island Master Plan
Jack Murray, Boston Harbor Now and Cheri Ruane, Project Manager, Weston & Sampson

Jack Murray: The premise of planning effort is to create a 21st century park that is sustainable. We would envision the project would have private investments dollars to build a public/private partnership. There are needs for infrastructure improvement, stabilization, and development. Peddocks has seen improvements in past years including new electrical service, sewer service, removal of hazardous structures, and stabilizing existing buildings for re-use, including the development and rehabilitation of a visitor center, chapel, and campgrounds. Weston & Sampson has been awarded the contract after a robust selection process. Will be starting with a nine month planning process.

Cheri Ruane from Weston & Sampson presented the goals outlined in the RFI include utilizing an engaged public process, fostering transformational partnerships, and creating a unique island experience. Weston & Sampson surveyed the island; including ferry service, proximity to other islands, transportation challenges, and the 1999 report that studied stabilization, removal of buildings, and getting utilities onsite. They then developed potential business cases for Peddocks as sample themed options, including: Organic Growth (ecological growth), Living Lab (scientists onsite to develop climate change solutions), Innovation Island (productive landscape), Corporate Partnership (private sector use), and a minimal intervention approach. Each case shows possibilities, but final plan will probably be a combination of many of the alternatives. The next step will be to develop potential scenarios and test pilots on-island to inform the final plan.

Questions & Answers
(Q): Elizabeth Solomon: Concerned with cultural resource preservation on-island and its balance with recreation.
(A): Cheri Ruane: Weston & Sampson will build a robust interdisciplinary team that will ensure a balance of preservation and visitor experience.
(A): Jack Murray: Will have a steering committee that meets quarterly to report on progress. Project is co-funded by DCR and NPS who will ensure preservation of resources.
(Q): Rob Moir: Concerned with current status of advisory council during this period of change.
(A): Michael Creasey: The RFP built public involvement into the process and will present opportunities to engage the public in the planning process.
(A): Leo Roy: The entire process will be open and transparent.

Future Resilience Scenarios for Boston Harbor Islands
Cathy Stone and Sonja Plesset, James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Foundation (PowerPoint)

Cathy Stone: This project was designed to better understand the role that the harbor islands play in protecting the Boston area waterfront from extreme weather events. The harbor islands pose an opportunity to explore how islands could be adapted to reduce wave energy and to identify potential and prevent further erosion that is happening at a rapid pace. People are also exploring the opportunities for island enhancements – i.e. enlarging or altering islands for ecological, recreational, and resilience purposes.

Sonja Plesset: This project has just begun. Stone Foundation has developed a diverse steering committee, commissioned a technical study, and convened a design charrette. The study has found that the islands significantly reduce wave height and energy, protecting the harbor. Possible enhancement locations were identified, including Gallops Islands- Nixes Mate linkage, Rainsford Island, Georges Island Intertidal Enhancement, and the creation of a “New Island” near Pleasure Bay. These ideas were presented at a charrette at Harvard Graduate School of Design that included a broad array of representatives from private foundations, government agencies, and educational institutions. Each group was asked to consider a possible enhancement scenario based on their professional area of expertise. The Stone Foundation will next meet with regulators, owners, and stakeholders to create a decision matrix with public input and begin to rank each potential site.

Partnership Roundtable Updates

Chairman Fred Laskey requests updates from the group.
Massachusetts Port Authority, presented by Laura Gilmore (representing Andrew Hargens)

  • MA Port has been working on development of the public realm, particularly in South Boston. RFQ will be issued for Roseland Building 5 and 6 development opening in October with new housing units. MA Port Marine Terminal is breaking ground in October.

BHI Advisory Council, presented by Rob Moir: No updates; Advisory Council has not been able to meet.

Boston Planning and Development Agency, presented by Chris Busch

  • State grants are starting up this fall, looking at funding mechanisms to enhance shoreline protection in East Boston and Charlestown neighborhood.
  • Another grant moving forward will look at flood resiliency overlay, planning for sea-level rise and zoning that can enhance preparedness with design guidelines to retrofit new buildings.
  • Planning is underway for master planning in Mattapan, the New Market District downtown, and a new community planning process for East Boston.

United States Coast Guard, presented by Captain Doucette

  • Difficult winter last year at Little Brewster Island. USCG has been looking at work there and have had several site visits to evaluate damages.
  • Have had some turnover and are orienting new staff (welcome Commander Lam) to the Harbor Islands.
  • USCG is in recovery mode from island damage last year and is starting to prepare for winter storms this year.

National Park Service, presented by Michael Creasey

  • Looking forward to helping restore Little Brewster Island with USCG and would be hopeful to have future public access.
  • The partnership among DCR, BHN, NPS and Boston Harbor Cruises went well.
  • There was a lot of programming this season; Michael asked NPS staff to provide updates:
    • Lighthouse cruises were a great success (prototyped 15 cruises for almost 800 people).
    • Engaged over 6,000 people at welcome center programs.
    • Brought first time campers to Peddock’s Island for night sky programs, totaling six ranger-led trips.
    • Trails to Freedom Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) crew engaged 144 youth campers, 3 YCC youth interns reached over 900 visitors.
    • Hosted Discovery Camps with DCR and NPS staff, including 4 YCC interns to reach 475 youth from YMCAs and Boys and Girls Clubs.
    • Thompson Island Outward Bound reached 48 YCC, employing 12 Student Conservation Association interns to facilitate programs on-island, with a focus on stewardship and land preservation.
    • Entering third year of a public lands fellowship that teaches youth about careers in public land, efforts this fall will focus on engaging partners in fellowship opportunities.

Boston Harbor Now, presented by Kathy Abbott

  • Raised funds for 485 free programs on island this summer, which brought 35,000 underserved youth on island. Save the Harbor, Save the Bay reached 10,000 people on-island this year.

Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, presented by Leo Roy: Gave reports at beginning of meeting, see above.

The Trustees of Reservations, presented by Alicia Leuba

  • Currently developing coastal strategies, will likely have at next meeting.
  • At World’s End, have nearly finished visitor experience and circulation project that addresses transportation and backup issues. About to start landscape restoration project to establish World’s End landscape features.
  • Nick Black reported on the TTOR’s Waterfront Initiative that seeks to create a climate friendly, green, open space along the Harbor.
  • Working through feasibility of project on Pier Point 3 on East End. Working on Climate Ready South End project.

Public Input

Susan Gall-Marsh, Friends of Boston Harbor Islands: Friends are working with DCR and have applied for partnership matching funds to restore the oil house on Lovells Island over the next two years. Have begun fundraising (need $75,000) and have more info about the project on their website. Planning a New Year’s Day trip to Thompson Island.

Resident of Peddocks Island: Looking for information on vacated space on structure being removed. DCR provided additional information.

Save the Harbor, Save the Bay: Offered assistance advancing public concerns during time period in which Advisory Council cannot meet.

Next Meeting

Next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 20, 2018.

Adjourn

Motion to adjourn the meeting by Chairman Laskey, seconded by Leo Roy. Meeting adjourned

May 15, 2018

Meeting Minutes

The Offices of WilmerHale, 60 State Street, Boston
3:00 – 4:30 PM

Attendance

Fred Laskey, MWRA (Chair)
Austin Blackmon, City of Boston (Vice Chair)
Kathy Abbott, Boston Harbor Now
Michael Creasey, National Park Service (NPS)
Stewart Dalzell, Massachusetts Port Authority
Priscilla Geigis, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)
Claudia Gelzer, United States Coast Guard (USCG)
Susan Kane, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)
CDR Brad Kelly, United States Coast Guard (USCG)
Jocelyn Forbush, The Trustees of Reservations (TTOR)
Richard McGuiness, Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA)
Rob Moir, Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council
Jack Murray, Boston Harbor Now
Leo Roy, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)

Call to Order and Introductions

Chairman Fred Laskey calls meeting to order at 3:08 PM.
Approval of minutes: moved and seconded; approved. A motion was made by Fred Laskey, seconded by Austin Blackmon. The minutes of the previous meeting were unanimously approved as distributed.

Partnership Business

Recognition: The Partnership recognized the following individuals for contributions to advancing the goals of the Partnership relative to Harbor Islands development, stewardship, access and visitor experience:

  • Marianne Connolly (newly retired MWRA): Fred Laskey and Michael Creasey recognized Marianne Connolly’s many public service roles associated with Boston Harbor Islands and other public lands, including land acquisition associated with Pope John Paul Park; MWRA- Improvements to Deer Island MWRA facilities, MWRA Aqueduct Trails (bike and walking paths; 39 miles of trails). MC presented with early map of Boston Harbor, including Deer Island. Marianne recalled early drafts of the park legislation and the number of people who said there wouldn’t be a park to talk about until 2016. Today, Marianne encourages young people to remember that things happen in increments and not to get impatient – things take time, keep believing. Marianne also thanked the Partnership and its membership for support and effort to make the islands a bigger and better part of the Boston metropolitan area
  • Captain Claudia Gelzer, USCG Commanding Officer Sector Boston (retiring): Recognized by Fred Laskey and Michael Creasey. Recognition for oversight of coastal safety, security, and environmental protection from the New Hampshire-Massachusetts border south to Plymouth and for management, oversight and partnership work associated with Boston Light. Presented with framed 1848 harbor map.  Claudia: This is a powerful group; spent my career focusing on protecting the water; protecting the islands has been a focus; public access to Little Brewster of prime importance. Thanks to all for continuing to protect the harbor
  • Brad Kelly, USCG Deputy Commanding Officer Sector Boston (heading to new assignment in Canada): Recognized by Fred Laskey and Michael Creasey for leadership service to Sector Boston, including commitment and contributions to public programming and care of Little Brewster and Boston Light. Presented with framed 1700s historic map of Boston harbor and islands. Brad: upon arriving at Boston (from the south) always had a strong appreciation for the islands.

Nomination of New Partnership List

Nominations to be presented to the Secretary. Five positions to fill: two USCG positions (created by Claudia and Brad’s departures); nomination for Cathy Stone has been received; NPS to fill behind Giles Parker; MWRA to fill Marianne Connolly.

Presentations:

Measuring and Modeling Change on the Boston Harbor Islands (see ppt), presented by Marc Albert (Natural Resource and Stewardship Program Manager, NPS), Amanda Babson (NER Climate Change Response Specialist), Zoe Hughes (Boston University, Earth & the Environment, Research Assistant Professor), Julie Wormser (Consultant, Climate Science and Communication)

Marc: overview of project scope and goals: 
Work is year one of a three year study supported with federal funding (project title: Inspiring Coastal Change Adaptation through locally scaled vulnerability analysis)

  • Focus year #1:  Georges, Lovells and Gallops Islands

  • Focus year #2 (2019): Thompson,

  • Focus Year #3 (2020): Calf, Little Brewster and Great Brewster

Amanda: Findings will help inform partnership practices. BHI partnership as case study for prototyping protocols and assessing possibilities for developing a replicable model.
Zoe: Reviewed key research questions and methodology
Julie Wormser: Science Communication Communication element as key to the study. Three communication methods/audiences developed and prototyped with goal of engaging broad/diverse audiences with varied interests and motivations  

  • Communication with partners, stakeholders
  • Science in the Park: summer programming with youth in the parks (coastal change)
  • Crowd sourced citizen science with volunteers posting images and information - - in real time; looking to install picture posts on the islands so that people post their cameras and take shots from the same place for comparisons over time

Marianne Connolly: Asked why Deer Island not included in study; referenced 5-7 years of monitoring and studying at Deer Island which demonstrated accretion as opposed to erosion.
Team response: The suite of islands was selected, in part, to assess impacts on different environmental systems/conditions. Island selections reflect a representative sample. Deer Island was considered and the team was in communication with MWRA. Received notification of non-interest.

USCG comment on management of Little Brewster and Boston Light, presented by USCG CDR Brad Kelly & Captain Claudia Gelzer

Currently there is no MOA or MOU for caring for Little Brewster. USCG, BHN and NPS developed a charter for the relationship and are working on a MOA to define roles and responsibilities relative to management, care and public access/programming associated with Little Brewster. MOA will provide a framework for working together to develop a strategy for long-term management, maintenance and care of Little Brewster.

  • Recent storm damage was significant, which, in part, is resulting in a pause in visitation/public programming. Rather than island visits, working to develop a harbor tour that will include three lighthouses.
  • CG: Long-term, USCG may not be the best caretaker for Little Brewster. It’s not really part of their mission; issue has been raised before; potentially time to re-engage in this conversationUSCG recognized for taking steps to codify relationships with a focus on management, care and public access to/of Little Brewster.

Water Transportation Study (ppt), presented by Alice Brown, Director of Water Transportation, BHN

  • Findings from Water Transportation Strategy
  • Preparing for 2018 season
    • New ferry schedule and loop schedule; reduced ferries in the spring and fall; intra island is only Friday – Sunday
  • Studying visitation (NPS/NER Steven Thompson)
  • Developing an RFP for 2019 - five year contract; RFP to be released after Labor Day (in the process of doing a market analysis to understand value of service and use this to develop draft RFI which will be circulated for feedback)

MC: Transportation study, including data analysis provided by S Thompson, raises a lot of interesting questions: infrastructure, transportation assumptions, island amenities, ferry rates.

Questions:

  • How might we activate the islands in new ways?
  • What is island carrying capacity?
  • How might we increase public interest in the islands?
  • Make the trip worth the while and lead to a return trip?
  • What keeps people on the islands or entices them to come back?

Waterfront Symposium Update, presented by Meera Deean, Director of Planning, BHN

Mayors’ panel discussion May 24

  • Discussion with Mayor Kim Driscoll of Salem, Mayor Thomas McGee of Lynn, and Mayor Martin J. Walsh of Boston on the harbor’s role in the regional economy, climate resilience, public access and open space, water transportation, and public health and well-being.

May 30: Boston Harbor for All: Advancing Collaborative Action

  • Keynote: Mitchell Silver, NYC Parks Commissioner. Day-long symposium on how to realize the opportunities for great public spaces and parks, more equitable and innovative development, a strong working port, and long-term climate resilience

Partnership Roundtable Updates

Chairman Fred Laskey requests updates from the group.  
Boston Harbor Now, presented by Jack Murray

  • Capital planning – received information from all partners except the city and BPDA. Currently have 43 projects totaling 48 million dollars 
  • Peddocks Master Plan RFI just released – tour for interested parties June 1, questions by June 10, proposals due June 22; Councils of real estate also partnering on the Peddocks Project - - will assess plan once developed to assess real estate values
  • Army Corps of Engineers – pushing Corps for moorings program for the island; Spectacle marina will be up and running this season.

Massachuetts Port Authority, presented by Stewart Dalzell

  • Continued focus on resiliency per Sustainable Massport (sustainability vision) – looks at waterfront and other parcels; working with Army Corps on harbor dredging project to begin spring or early summer; excited about getting ready to support new berths as part of channel deepening project

Boston Harbor Now, presented by Kathy Abbott

  • Recommends Jim Aloisi’s Massport at 60: Shaping the future since 1956. Great account on the development and history of Boston harbor.
  • June 21 is Spectacle on Spectacle – gala; grant with DPD – daylighting public benefits of the mitigation licenses - -  idea is to get more people down to the waterfront and on the harbor walk - - - private sector funding via chapter 91

Department of Conservation and Recreation, presented by Leo Roy

  • Peddocks cottages being removed this month – removing hazardous materials and then taking down the cottages
  • Gallops Island work – renovation to the cemetery, disinterment – goal is to accomplish this work in a low key and respectful way, island is closed and off limits to the public
  • Commissioner is hopeful that the mooring permit will come in – latest word is that DCR will have permits at the end of this week - - DCR has gear and tackle – just waiting for permits.

National Park Service, presented by Michael Creasey

  • Shout out to people who made presentations
  • Codifying USCG agreement, dealing with Little Brewster post storm
  • Jack, Susan and DCR working hard on moorings and upgrades which will make a big visitor first difference this summer
  • BHI newspapers hot off the press tomorrow
  • Season opening will be this Saturday (5/19)– Long Wharf North – Michael, Kathy and Leo (possibly Chris Cook) will be there for ribbon cutting

MA Water Resources Authority, presented by Fred Laskey

  • Signed MOU with fisheries for fishing pier on Deer Island 

City of Boston, presented by Austin Blackmon

  • Mayor Walsh hosting international climate conference on June 7 - - 30 mayors with John Kerry keynoting - - mayoral commitment to climate resilience
  • Climate Ready Boston - - pushing forward with that – finishing up shovel ready projects for fort point channel, umass Boston is in the process of finishing harbor barriers study should be distributed later this summer - - feasibility study - - constructing something like a wall will take 30-40 years - - need to do more coastal things in the interim
  • Long Island – Mayor Walsh made it a priority to reconstruct bridge to provide support services for recovery communities - - pursuing permits

Boston Planning and Development Agency, presented by Richard McGuiness

  • Secured approval for downtown redevelopment plan Greenway pavilion to docks; dock reconfiguration; renewed gateways to the islands

United States Coast Guard, presented by CDR Brad Kelly

  • Coast Guard and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection responded to a dielectric oil leak Friday in the Mystic River. Discovered pipe leaking under I-93 bridge in Somerville; it has been dealt with - - no more active leaking, though the ground is saturated; taking steps to remediate
  • Friday, May 18 the USS Constitution will be underway and USCG will be assisting – robust security package
  • Active shooter training on May 23 -taking plan from notification to accessing ferry to assessing and taking action on situation and assisting survivors.

Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council, presented by Rob Moir

  • Teamed up with Donald Blair physicist to measure temperature with depth using DIY techniques; device accurately recorded temperature to depth; currently prototyping different ways to measure temperature and salinity of Boston Harbor water masses (citizen science implications)

Next Meeting

Next meeting scheduled for July 17. Potential trip to the islands. Presentation on work supported by the Stone Foundation.

Adjourn

Chairman Fred Laskey adjourns meeting at 4:31 PM.

March 20, 2018

Meeting Minutes

The Offices of WilmerHale, 60 State Street, Boston
3:00 – 4:30 PM

Attendance

Priscilla Geigis – Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)
Susan Kane – Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation  
Alicia Leuba – The Trustees of Reservations (TTOR)
Richard McGuiness – Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA)
Michael Creasey – National Park Service (NPS)
Chairman Fred Laskey– Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA)
Vice Chairman Austin Blackmon – City of Boston
Arthur Pearson – Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center (TIOBEC)
CDR Brad Kelly – United States Coast Guard (USCG)
Maureen Cavanaugh – Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council (BHI Advisory Council)
Rob Moir – Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council
Jack Murray – Boston Harbor Now
Austin Blackmon – City of Boston
Call to Order and Introductions:
Chairman Fred Laskey calls meeting to order at 3:06 PM. Approval of December 5, 2017
Meeting Minutes
A motion was made by Austin Blackmon, seconded by Fred Laskey. The minutes of the previous meeting were unanimously approved as distributed.

Partnership Business

Storm Impact Discussion
This section supported by images shared via powerpoint. Retrieve ppt from Fred Laskey.
Massport:

  • Flood barriers were deployed to protect electrical equipment and other important assets. In order to save time and effort, some may stay up semi-permanently.
  • Communication and logistics for barrier implementation was the biggest challenge, but all in all it was pretty successful.

DCR: Susan Kane

  • At Nantasket Beach, water flooded completely down Nantasket Ave for the first time in at least ten years. Water overtopped the storm barricades, filled in the labor yard and flooded many buildings. At one point, they had to pull vehicles out because the water was flooding into truck cabs. Large sections of sidewalk and roadway were dislodged.The islands also suffered a great deal of damage, thankfully most of it was not to the docks. On Spectacle, the yurt dome came off and skin was ripped, which needs repair. On Georges, sea wall damage continues to be a threat. In Hingham, the commuter boat walkway structure is damaged. The long wooden pier separating the DCR and MBTA buildings and the buildings flooded. MBTA and DCR will need to work together to address this so it doesn’t impact ferry service.

USCG: CDR Brad Kelly

  • The boardwalk has come loose and Run into the historic boathouse on Little Brewster. These two structures have been damaged several times in recent storms. Discussions are happening to determine if they can repair it by summer season, but USCG needs to prioritize “operationally significant” resources.

TIOBEC: Arthur Pearson

  • Thompson Island’s pavilion was almost completely surrounded by water in the flood. The structure is raised up so water can go under it, which it did, so they felt fortunate that they had taken precautions to protect it. Great damage was sustained to the wave wall, which will be tested in upcoming storms. Pipe burst in Lewis caused major damage and has redirected staff time and resources away from island clean-up and opening preparations.

The Trustees: Alicia Leuba

  • There was serious flooding out to and between the two drumlins, but with fairly little damage. Most of the damage was tree damage which will take a lot of work clean up, despite crews coming out from across the state.

MWRA: Fred Laskey

  • Deer Island’s sea walls were remarkably successful during the flood. The biggest challenge was road flooding, preventing access to the facility.
  • As a group, we should chronicle photos that show harbor impacts as we go through these historic changes. We have collected some here, but partners should feel free to add to these as we move forward.

Capital Plan Roll Up 

Jack Murray (BHN):

The goal of this plan is to assess partner needs in a way that allows us to maximize our collective impact over the years to come. By having assessments ready, partners will be able to support each other when opportunities to fund projects arise. Some examples of how this has worked in the past include:

  • DCR and NPS did an assessment of piers on Peddocks, Spectacle, and Georges Islands, which made us eligible for $10,000 of NPS funding for those repairs
  • Preparedness of a $15 million capital plan on Georges Island
  • Funding preparation enabled us to be eligible for repairs to Little Brewster’s float system
  • Kathy Abbott’s successful plan to get water to Peddocks, which involved running utility lines from Hull

We have been eligible for this funding because we have been prepared with reports when opportunities come up. In order to be as prepared as possible, the partnership will gather an inventory of needs so that we can be eligible for as much funding as possible. We’re well on our way to compiling a partnership-wide inventory of needs and capital plans. Phil Griffiths (formerly of Boston Harbor Island Alliance) will be returning to help put this document together.

Alicia Leuba (TTOR):
TTOR provided 3 projects that are high on the “need list,” but the “wish list” is much longer. Is this supposed to be a “needs” list or a “wish” list, because those two things look very different.
Jack Murray (BHN): It can be helpful to put everything in case any partner can provide resources, but it may also be best to avoid getting the public’s hopes up. It is up to each partner to make that call. BHN may not be in the position to fundraise around these projects right now, but in the future may have the opportunity to fundraise for priority projects identified in this plan.
Maureen Cavanaugh (BHI Advisory Council): What will be the opportunities for the public to provide input for this document? The advisory council is on a hiatus, but how can we make room for public voice?
Jack Murray (BHN): At this point we are identifying projects that are already on the horizon for these groups. Kathy Abbott is looking at opportunities to leave room for input without letting this program grow exponentially.                                                             
Rob Moir (BHI Advisory Council): This is something that should be a comprehensive document. It’s a good opportunity to clue the public in early to what’s going on.
Fred Laskey (MWRA): If a wish list is created representing all the needs and wants, and we don’t accomplish everything, we need to find a way to focus on our accomplishments and focus on items we may not accomplish.
Rob Moir (BHI Advisory Council): It’s not a question of identifying which projects are most popular, it’s about having useful access to this information.
Michael Creasey (NPS): This is a great opportunity for us to get a sense of our collective impact. It can serve as a check-in point to see where we are and find new ways to collaborate, leverage resources and look at where we’re going.
Priscilla Geigis (DCR): This is a great way to get everything out on the table as a first step. If we follow this step by step process, we can identify and pursue more accurately targeted projects.

Engaging Youth: Harbor Islands Youth Employment and Development Programs
Liza Stearns (NPS)

The Boston Harbor Islands Partnership can engage youth as a collective to forge strong connections between people, the islands and resource stewardship.

Liza Stearns (NPS) introduces Celena Illuzzi (formerly of Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation) as the new National Parks of Boston Youth Employment and Development Specialist.

Hill to Harbor Corps: Celena Illuzzi (NPS)

  • Hill to Harbor Corps is a collaborative project between NPS, DCR and BHN. It employs 15-18 year old youth to facilitate recreational and educational experiences for even younger people (YMCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs, Boston Centers for Youth and Families camp groups).
  • Outcomes for youth employees include leadership, civic engagement, resource awareness and resource stewardship.
  • Each program starts in the club, campers visit Georges, Spectacle, and Peddocks Islands for day long experiences and finish with a culminating art reflection experience back at their club.

Thompson Island Green Ambassadors: Jay Esty (TIOBEC)

  • The Green Ambassadors program is a collaboration between NPS and TIOBEC which provides summer employment for (35-40) 15-18 year old Boston youth.
  • It provides opportunities for professional development, environmental sciences, character and socioemotional learning throughout the summer. Interns perform work on each of the islands that they are visiting, with an emphasis on developing STEM skills. Through a sequence of three, 7-week summers, interns develop environmental stewardship, team building and career readiness skills and are introduced to academic and professional pathways to pursue their interests.  


All Access Boston Harbor: Chris Mancini (Save the Harbor/Save the Bay)

  • Save the Harbor/Save the Bay’s All Access Boson Harbor provides 15-18 year old youth employees with opportunities to introduce Greater Boston youth (ages 7-12) to the harbor islands through recreation and education, including hands-on STEM activities.
  • Interns learn how we can utilize the Boston harbor as a resource for recreation and education. There is a focus on increasing positive health outcomes and setting interns up for long term success in professional and academic realms.
  • All Access Boston Harbor partners with Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs, Boston Centers for Youth and Families, and smaller community groups throughout greater Boston area. They take 28 trips per year, engaging 10,000 youth and families from 43 communities.
  • The program employs 19 Boston teens as Junior Program Assistants.


New England Aquarium Live Blue Ambassadors: Marc Albert (NPS) – presenting for Lucy Indge (NEAQ)

  • The Live Blue Ambassadors program engages teens in hands on service projects in the coastal area. They are connected mostly through Stewardship Saturdays.
  • Eight teens provide support on NPS stewardship projects every Saturday for most of the year. They’re also taking the lead on MIMIC project to collect and share critical data as part of the marine invader monitoring and information collaborative.  
  • Through their work wit Stewardship Saturday, they train volunteers in MIMIC protocols and associated citizen science activities.


AmeriCorps Preservation Program: Peter Seweryn, DCR

  • The AmeriCorps Preservation Program focuses on developing skills to maintain and preserve historic structures on the Boston Harbor Islands. Last summer, they completed projects on Georges, Peddocks and Bumpkin Islands. On Georges, they assessed windows, repaired and reinstalled some and painted over other boards to give visitors a better sense of what Fort Warren used to look like. They also repaired and replaced some flooring. On Peddocks Island, they cleared and replaced the stairway that connects campground to the Visitor center. On Bumpkin Island, they rehabbed windows, masonry and flooring. This year, they have doubled in size and will continue to work on these and similar projects.


Liza Stearns (NPS): This group demonstrates incredible initiative and effort to get young people out to our islands. Some attributes of successful teen-centric youth employment are:

  • Authentic work and needs
  • Opportunities to work with professionals/experts
  • Youth voice
  • Strategic recruitment
  • Thoughtfully structured scope and sequence
  • Age-appropriate practice
  • Culturally responsive practice
  • Evaluation metrics and methods
  • Family and school-year connections
  • Systemic endorsement – everyone understands value of involving youth

Partnership Roundtable Updates

Chairman Fred Laskey requests updates from the group.
Massachuetts Water Resources Authority, presented by Fred Laskey: Marianne Connolly retired.

Boston Harbor Now, presented by Jack Murray

  • The ferry schedule is being finalized. The hope is to allow the public as many opportunities as possible for people to get to our park.
  • Ferry schedule will go live on March 28. Camping opportunities will follow.
  • They are currently consulting plans to do island repairs.
  • They will continue planning with the concessioner to increase corporate events and support the public side of island activities.

National Park Service, presented by Marc Albert 

  • Thanks Susan for taking lead on partnerships operations committee for so long. Marc will now serve as chair for operations piece of those meetings, and Jack Murray will chair the water transportation piece.
  • For stewardship updates, the storms caused significant damage to natural and cultural resources on the islands. The salt marsh on Peddocks was covered by rocks, and the waves exposed historic resources on other islands.

Arthur (TIOBEC): Will that impact the breeding birds?
Marc Albert (NPS): It might be okay, but Audubon, DCR and NPS are working together on a full monitoring season.

BHI Advisory Council, presented by Maureen Cavanaugh

  • The Advisory Council is still suspended, is there any update?
  • Some Advisory Councils are being reinstated. Is there anything ours can be doing?

Michael Creasey (NPS): There are a handful of Advisory Councils that have been approved to reconvene, but he has heard nothing so far that would be relevant to the BHI Advisory Council. As soon as he does, he will inform the council members.

United States Coast Guard, presented by CDR Brad Kelly

  • The Coast Guard had a big ice breaking season in December, breaking out facilities to get fuel in etc.
  • The search and rescue season is coming up, and they are partnering with local teams to prepare for the 4th of July and the Boston Marathon.
  • Leadership changes are coming to USCG - A new Sector Commander will be coming in and CDR Brad Kelly will also be leaving.

Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center, presented by Arthur Pearson

  • TIOBEC’s biggest projects coming up are onboarding, training staff and focusing on storm damages. The first students show up in late April and programming is expanding to include a new school from East Boston.

City of Boston, presented by Austin Blackmon

  • The City of Boston has been rededicating itself to work on adapting to climate change.
  • The Boston Harbor Barrier Study will be set to wrap up this summer, which will have important applications for all BHI Partners.

Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, presented by Fred Laskey

  • The new fishing pier will require more parking spaces, so they are adding 40 additional parking spaces around fishing pier in the next year.

National Park Service, presented by Michael Creasey

  • National Parks of Boston is official as signed by the new Regional Director. It will continue to focus on youth engagement, planning for collective impact, and using the arts to tell our stories.

Boston Planning and Development Agency, presented by Richard McGuiness

  • The five year capital plan, including an assessment of Long Wharf, The Downtown Waterfront Municipal Harbor Plan, should be approved this spring.

The Trustees of Reservation, presented by Alicia Leuba

  • Worlds End broke ground on long awaited circulation and parking project to reconfigure traffic circulations to prevent backups. They are also adding 30 additional parking spaces to their lot. They are in the final planning stages of a landscape restoration plan to restore the park to Olmsted’s design.

Department of Conservation and Recreation, presented by Susan Kane

  • Much of Georges Island is covered with debris and cobble which will take a lot of work to recover. The sea wall is only about 30 feet away from the corner of the fort at this point. There wasn’t too much significant pier damage in the storm, but the water line is down again. Hopefully that can be fixed before the season. DCR is ready to put out a bid for pier improvements on Peddocks, Spectacle and Georges, which will improve the visitor experience. Expect that some new moorings will be in place for this season.

Department of Conservation and Recreation, presented by Priscilla Geigis

  • Storm damage is widespread and they are using a GPS app to pinpoint and track damages.
  • Park Serve Day is April 28th, there will be a project on Spectacle Island. She also have her thanks to Susan and Peter for their work starting the Americorps Historic Preservation Program.

Public Comment

John Curwen (NPS): In partnership with DCR, USCG, BHN and NPS Evacuation Day cruise with an 11:00 AM departure this Saturday, March 24th.

Adjourn

Chairman Fred Laskey adjourns meeting at 4:33 PM.

 

1997 - 2017 Meeting Notes

Last updated: November 19, 2021

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