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Monatiquot River Study Provides Wider Picture as Grant Deadline Approaches

The deadline to show support for a Monatiquot Riverwalk federal grant is coming up, on July 15. Councilors agreed last month to send a letter asking the National Park Service for technical assistance.

In many ways Braintree has a split relationship with the Monatiquot River.

Over the decades, residents have grown to rely less on the water for daily uses and industrial applications. Instead it primarily provides a visual and recreational benefit, although there is limited public access to the river.

Yet the Monatiquot can have a profound impact on Braintree, as happened last year when flooding devastated wide swaths of the town, soaking houses and businesses, even delaying significantly spring play at the .

This duality was presented in a Monatiquot River Watershed Study completed a little more than a month ago by local officials and UMass students. In the study, the students focused on steps toward developing stormwater management strategies and improving water quality. They also looked at ways to increase accessibility.

"There will be reconnections for the community to the Monatiquot River and establishment of long term stewardship," the study's Vision Statement says. "These results will reinstate the historic role of the Monatiquor River as a central asset to the town and a pride to the residents of Braintree."

Parallel to the study, town officials, East Braintree residents, area engineers and landscape designers have been to allow residents to experience the river along the water from Allen Street to Smith Beach.

A preliminary plan produced by three firms shows a proposed path combining with existing walkways to provide walking areas for residents through East Braintree/Weymouth Landing, down Commercial Street, along the river paralleling Allen Street, back to the street to go around the yacht club and reconnecting at Watson Park and heading out to Smith Beach.

to send a letter asking the National Park Service for technical assistance with the project. Officials are also asking that residents send letters of support. The deadline for those requests is tomorrow, July 15.

More info on the project and how to participate can be found here: http://www.townofbraintreegov.org/ItemsofInterest-economic.htm. Residents can also email planning director Christine Stickney, who can help send a letter: cstickney@braintreema.gov.

The 4.9-mile Monatiquot River flows from the intersection of the Farm and Cochato rivers at the golf course east to the Fore River. A number of factors have led to the area being flood-prone, according to the study, including development on the flood plain and increasing population levels that have led to more impervious surfaces and a larger strain on flood control infrastructure.

Some of the objectives to help combat the risk of flooding include: strengthening collaboration among municipalities and stakeholders within the watershed region; developing watershed‐wide outreach and education programs for residents and stakeholders; minimizing erosion; and reducing impervious surfaces.

The study's writers also said controlling pollution and connecting "existing and proposed greenways and trails in [the] subwatershed to the larger system in eastern Massachusetts" were main objectives.

"By way of re‐evaluating water quality improvements, stormwater management strategies, and river access proposals Braintree can re‐invent the relationship between the residents and their environment," the study says. "This re‐evaluation requires town‐wide investment, both financially and sentimentally. ... No single solution will solve the complex issues of a watershed system."

The full study can be found here: http://www.townofbraintreegov.org/News.aspx?235.

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