Filling in the Gaps, BOHA Style

It’s been a great, short week that has felt even shorter due to more BOHA trips! This week I’ve been focusing on the final push for volume II of the Boston Harbor Islands CLR, and I’m excited to say it’s oh so close (I’m talking one missing photo close). The very last matching photo is of Deer Island from Long Island. Luckily, I will be on Long Island next week to take said photo and also to help out with some FMSS data collection with my new best friend, the Trimble.

On Wednesday I assisted Bill Fuchs of the NPS in navigating the invasive/exotic plant species team to sets of plots on different islands. We made it to Raccoon, Button, Sarah, Ragged, Sheep, and Hangman Islands, as well as a drive-by of Shag Rocks. On each island excluding Shag Rocks, Bill and I located plots and navigated to the center of each one (3 or fewer plots for smaller islands and 8+ plots for larger islands), letting the botanists know where the center of their 15 meter survey radius was. The very same plots had been surveyed last in 2004 by Ted Elliman of the New England Wildflower Society, and it was interesting to hear his comments on how different the plots are in 2016 from what they looked like or what plants it consisted of back in 2004. I recently noticed a parallel between the work that I have been doing with the Boston Harbor Islands CLR and the work that Ted and his crew are doing with the invasive plant survey, and I really enjoy being involved in both.  It gives me fresh perspectives on the islands which I find both refreshing after seeing these wonderful landscapes in pixel form for so long, and helpful to my understanding of the islands.

On Thursday I got the unique opportunity to visit Deer and Moon Islands to gather missing photographs. Nadia Caines of the MWRA Deer Island Treatment Plant gave me an abbreviated tour of the amazing water treatment plant as she guided me around to photograph the facilities. I was lucky enough to go up into one of the working sludge digesters, which has spectacular views to the Boston skyline as well as many neighboring Harbor Islands. Getting onto Moon Island was slightly tricky, but I managed to get the photos I needed, with my police escort, of course. While on Moon I was able to see where the Long Island Bridge (demolished in 2014) connected with Moon Island Road. It was quite the adventure (and there’s more to come)!


A fragrant view from Button Island


View from the top of Deer Island sludge digesters


Remnant 19th century sewage treatment plant on Moon Island


View of the Boston skyline from the western tip of Sheep Island

2 responses to “Filling in the Gaps, BOHA Style

  1. Love the photos and stories, Melissa. Your week is like a master scavenger hunt of uncommon Boston Harbor Islands locales! You are so lucky to have gone up into one of the working sludge digesters!

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