Senator Creem encouraged by Senate support for important Newton projects
Funding to rebuild the Echo Bridge in Newton Upper Falls and to protect hemlocks tree in the MDC’s Hemlock Gorge Preserve was included in two Senate budget bills on the request of State Senator Cynthia Stone Creem (D-Newton). In the Senate’s capital supplemental budget, $500,000 was included to rebuild the Echo Bridge, which carries the Sudbury Aqueduct across the Charles River in the Hemlock Gorge Reservation. In the Senate’s general budget for the fiscal year 2000, $60,000 was included to fund the establishment of a program breeding the natural predators of the wooly adelgild, an Asian beetle that is feeding on and destroying hemlock trees, throughout the New England.
“ The Hemlock Gorge Reservation is one of the most beautiful parklands in Newton. I am encouraged that my Senate colleagues have approved this vital funding to maintain the Gorge. Rebuilding the historic Echo Bridge and protecting the hemlock trees that lend the reservation its name are goals we must achieve,” said Creem, upon being notified of the projects’ inclusion in the Senate budget.
The Echo Bridge was built in the 1870’s to carry water from western Massachusetts to the burgeoning City of Boston and its surrounding communities. The bridge was modeled after the ancient Roman aqueducts and includes the arched supports that gave the Roman aqueducts their distinctive appearance. The Echo Bridge is listed in the National Historic Registry. The $500,000 in state funding that Senator Creem was allocated for the bridge’s reconstruction would come out of the state’s historic restoration grants program. The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) currently maintains the historic span and has been considering means of restoring the bridge.
$60,000 was also allocated by Senator Creem to protect the reservation’s hemlock trees from the threat posed by the Wooly Adelgid beetle. The Wooly Adelgid, which is native to Asia, first appeared in the United States in 1924. Since that time, the beetle has infested more than 25 percent of the hemlock trees in the northeastern U.S. The beetle feeds of the hemlock tree’s sap and after a span of eight years on average kills the tree. Because there is no native predator to the Wooly Adelgid, Newton residents and environmental experts fear that the Wooly Adelgid will fell many of the Hemlock Gorge’s trees within the next decade.
Senator Creem’s accepted budget request includes the purchase and introduction another Asian insect, a species of lady bug, known as the P tsugae. This tiny beetle is the natural predator of the Wooly Adelgid in Asia. The State of New Jersey’s Department of Agriculture has been breeding the P tsugae to protect hemlock trees in that state. They would provide the initial batch of P tsugae to Massachusetts to be used to protect hemlocks.