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Restoring the Luster to Boston and Brookline's Historic Emerald Necklace

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The Muddy River is part of the Emerald Necklace, a series of parks and riverways designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. It is the oldest park system in the United States, and the largest in Boston. In the last 15 years the river and surrounding area experienced several flooding events, including one in 1996 that caused more than 70 million in damage to residential, commercial, and public property, including hospitals and educational institutions. The challenge of this project is to address issues such as flood control, habitat restoration, landscape and historic resources restoration, improved water quality and implementation of best management practices in the context of the historic park setting and significant public interest from abutters, non-profits and world-class area institutions. The solutions to flooding include dredging of the river and reconstruction of infrastructure in keeping with the intent of the original Olmsted designs using current technologies. Landscaping improvements will be made using the palette of Olmsted plantings updated to reflect the changes in the river environment and habitat replacement. This all takes place in the context of significant citizen's involvement and the United States Corps of Engineers agreeing to fund portions of the program within its traditional mission.

Keywords: Emerald Necklace; Frederick Law Olmsted; Muddy River; dredging; flooding; habitat replacement; historic restoration

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2010

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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