State Environmental Agency Rejects City’s Tree Replanting Plan

Consultant Marta Nover explains her recommendations for replanting 61 trees along the Merrimack River. (WHAV News photograph.)

pay for newsA proposal to replace 61 riverside trees, cut in violation of conservation rules, received a vote of no confidence from state environmental officials Monday.

Consultants hired by city’s Department of Public Works suggested earlier this month the city replace less than half the number of trees removed from along the Merrimack River this spring. The recommendation came after the Haverhill Conservation Commission deemed the cutting along Water Street was not properly permitted and issued a violation notice in April. The state Department of Environmental Protection has since rejected the plan.

“It is MassDEP’s opinion that 147 trees should replace the 147 trees cut down. Vista concern is not a priority in the first 50 feet of the inner riparian zone of the riverfront,” noted Gary Bogue, of DEP’s northeast regional office.

At a Conservation Commission meeting at the beginning of the month, Marta Nover of Nover-Armstrong Associates suggested the lower number of new trees so as to stay away from the river’s edge and overhead electrical wires. She added she was also taking into account the river views nearby homeowners would like to keep.

“Trees should be spaced out, not clumped as proposed unless Natural Heritage has a different opinion,” the state proposed instead. The reviewer also took exception to the Nover’s recommendation to replant three native types—Red Oak, Silver Maple and White Pine.

“Tree species should reflect the conditions of a riparian zone. There are other riparian species that should be planted besides the three being proposed based on the inventory and it appears that too many white pine trees are being proposed compared to what was existing before the cut.,” the reviewer said.

Of 300 missing trees, determined by counting stumps, Nover had said only about half that many was the work of the city’s clearing. National Grid cut 140 trees near its overhead wires, she explained.

Upon hearing the replanting idea, Conservation Commissioner Madeleine Morrissey questioned why so few trees are being replaced. Commissioners are scheduled to meet next Thursday, June. 22.

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2 Comments

  1. buster said:

    all of the trees the water side of water street should be removed. it is a beautiful scenic view of the river. wake up city council.

  2. jack said:

    This is hyterical. Not for Baeslek though as he got removed for doing his job. Imagine ? The Mayor is getting slapped by the same regs his current nemesis is trying to reduce. POTUS is trying to reduce regs like this which have big brother telling the city what to do and what they can not do. Funny how now the Mayor finds himself subject to the very regs he and his political party value and cherish so much. Can you say Karma ?? Lol

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