A Refuge for Wildlife and Humans
The Roslindale Wetlands Urban Wild, formerly called the Eldon Street I and II Urban Wilds, consists of 9.5 acres of forested wetland habitat held by the Boston Conservation Commission. (Read more about urban wilds on the City of Boston’s Web site.) The Boston Water and Sewer Commission uses much of the wetlands, public and private parcels alike, for a storm water drainage outfall from the whole Longfellow Area neighborhood.
Depending on recent rainfall, the wetlands can be a near-lake or a lush woodland. Natural habitats include red maple/shrub swamp, sedge meadow, and forested woodland. The area has been overrun with invasive plant species, including multi-floral rose, Japanese knotweed, and buckthorn. Neighborhood cleanup efforts to restore native species have been organized, and a perimiter trail has been constructed to allow residents to make the most of this natural resource.
Given its size and proximity to the Arnold Arboretum, the wetland is able to support animal species that need more than just "edge" habitat. Among those that live in the wetlands are salamanders, opossum, raccoons, fishers, muskrats, and foxes. Owls, pheasants, and a red-tailed hawk have been sighted there, as well as deer and coyotes. Along with the Arboretum, Allandale Road lands, and other tracts, the wetlands form an extensive and important wildlife corridor for species that must wander widely.
Before the formation of the Roslindale Wetlands Task Force, 37 private undeveloped parcels were woven into and alongside lands designated as an Urban Wild. The Task Force successfully lobbied City Hall to transfer 26 of them (then in tax foreclosure) to the Conservation Commission. Read more about this transfer.
Of the remaining 11 private parcels, the largest (directly behind 104 Walter Street) is being subdivided and the rear portion preserved. However, another parcel at 29 Morrison Street (a paper street), is currently threatened by overdevelopment. Read more...
The Roslindale Wetlands have always served as an important natural storm runoff collection area for the surrounding neighborhood. The Boston Water & Sewer Commission has several rights of way across the land, on which it maintains buried pipes and other structures to route excess water into its regional drainage system. In the fall of 2008, the Commission regraded and repaved the section of Hazelmere Street in front of the wetlands entrance, where storm water had long been pooling up and eroding the end of the roadway. A new drain and underground drainpipe directing water into the adjacent low wet area were installed. The Commission also replaced the old, deteriorated wood rail at the wetlands entrance and set down a row of huge boulders excavated from the dig site. Meanwhile, the City installed a permanent park entrance sign. The result is an attractive new gateway into the Roslindale Wetlands Urban Wild right at the starting point of its perimeter trail.