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News: Judge hears arguments in lawsuit

The Daily Item
Judge Hears Arguments in Lynn-Salem Big Box Lawsuit
by Chris Stevens, September 28, 2011
Link to article:  itemlive.com/articles/2011/09/28/news/news13.prt

The Salem News
Salem asks judge to toss rest of suit
by Julie Manganis, September 28, 2011

Mass GIS Data Maps update

OLIVER, an online program available to the public to view and extract Mass GIS data, has improved with a friendlier interface.  Some wetland data has increased and become more detailed than last year's data.

Using OLIVER online, as seen in this first screen shot, is The City of Peabody parcel on the Salem side, shaded in a light green.  This parcel abuts Camp Lion and the Dibiasi subdivision, and was purchased by the City of Peabody to protect the water quality of Spring Pond.  The wetlands, saturated soils and streams have a hydro-connection from Camp Lion, through the City of Peabody's Parcel, onto Spring Pond water supply.  Only in season of a high water table and excessive rain (like the Springtime), may the streams and connecting saturated soils be seen in a short period of a day or more.  There is some video footage available to share of this.

In this second map, additional resource layers are turned on to view Surface Water Protection Zones 1 and 2 surrounding the streams and Spring Pond.  These zones are part of a regulated area.  This is part of the watershed, where the land is drained by the streams into Spring Pond.  These zones extend onto Camp Lion and the rear of Wal-mart's site (indicated in light blue shade and cross hatch).  From onsite observations, it appears these zones may need to be extended to envelope entire stream systems.  

In the map below, the Pine Barrens layer (shaded in olive green) is shown to indicate the areas of intense surface drainage caused from the Pine Barrens (as Leslie reminds us) where ground cover composed of pine needles flushes water at a faster rate.  Onsite observations indicate there are far more pines on site than just within the boundaries of these two zones.

A new and interesting layer is provided by the National Wetlands Inventory Streams and Wetlands (NWI Streams).  This survey affirms stream connection from Spring Pond to the rear of Wal-mart's site!

If you don't believe me or have time to follow the streams and saturation levels in the wet Springtime, check out Mass GIS OLIVER online:  http://maps.massgis.state.ma.us/map_ol/oliver.php

Grants: Wetlands/ Watershed Protection

There are federal and state grants provided to non-profits, private owners or local government agencies to help research the protection of wetlands: water surface protection areas, streams, ponds, water supply, surface drainage or vernal pools. In the City of Salem there are many wetlands, including buffer zones that need immediate protection from the threat of proposed development. The property owners or jurisdictions there of, in which land contains wetlands in Salem include: The City of Salem, The City of Peabody, and Camp Lion. There are also non-profits who rent-lease or operate programs through these woods. In protecting the environment and water quality, for those in ownership, care of or jurisdiction of these wetlands/ watershed areas might find the following link useful from the EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) on how to obtain grants for research and protection of the waterways around Spring Pond. Hope this link is helpful... http://www.epa.gov/region1/topics/ecosystems/wpdg.html


Continuing with the inquiry of underground waterways from the previous post 'Intro:  Watertable', there are some indications from test borings and field observations concluding there are in fact numerous fractures in the rocky hills which highly likely serve as aquifers connecting to other waterways.  Not only is there a concern with protecting surface drainage from pollution, there is a concern with protecting the water table below the surface and saturation levels, especially in valleys where intermittent streams run and connect in seasons or years of high flooding.

From topographical maps, and site studies, the locations of streams and the water table in the valleys and pockets of the hills can be seen, especially in 'wet seasons'.
3d model of site, using data extracted from Mass GIS, using the program Vectorworks, drawn by yours truly.
One would typically assume ledge and rocky hills do not allow for water to percolate through the ground, but taking a closer look at the site conditions, it is easy to tell from a cliff's edge that indeed there are many fractures which run through the rock....  In some cases these fractures result in springs and contain or carry water through.  We will study the location of some fractures, from the test borings in a later post.

Blasting is a concern which others have expressed, which might affect the existing underground waterways.  There will be blasting needed over an enormous area to level the hilltop for a proposed Lowe's (25'± deep) and the ledge around a proposed expanded Wal-mart (45'± deep), which could create further fractures and disrupt existing connecting waterways around Spring Pond, The City of Peabody's reservoir.  The concern includes the Dibiasi subdivision which has already begun blasting on the Marlborough Rd side, moving further into the woods.  

Intro: Watertable

Most of our research and studies of the area's ecology have been concentrated above ground, of the hilly surface conditions that exist around Spring Pond:  woodlands, habitats, topography, wetlands and watersheds (Water Surface Protection Zones, Streams, Vernal Pools, flooding and drainage).  

When concerned with major projects (like the proposed Lowe's and expanding-Walmart) near important waterways around Spring Pond, The City of Peabody's water supply, the water cycle should be the front environmental concern.  Water is vital to life in many ways, and we need to work harder in protecting Spring Pond and the waterways around it.

One may say there is no water table below the rocky hills around Spring Pond, but there are ways to gather facts from boring logs.  In future posts, we will study the boring logs and site conditions from the proposed project (where a core sample of the earth has been taken x-ft below the ground surface).  The logs will tell us where the water table is, and if the results were taken in a dry or wet season.  The log results will define the physical characteristics of the soil conditions.  But before studying the underground conditions of the site, it is essential to understand the meaning of 'watershed', 'water table', 'aquifer', and 'ground water'.... and how close threatening projects are to these waterways.

Beginning with understanding ground water,  there is a hundred times more water beneath the earth's surface than there is in all the lakes and streams above the surface in the world.   Even fractured bedrock may contain and carry water as an aquifer through the voids of fractured bedrock.  Read more here from the USGS:  http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/earthgw.html
An example of under ground water through an aquifer, and surfacing in a valley as a stream or river.