The "Alewife" area near Boston, Mass. surrounds the meeting point of Cambridge, Arlington and Belmont; the centerpoint is the State's Alewife Brook Reservation, a large but little known urban wild. More prominent is the Alewife MBTA subway station which abuts the reservation. This is a critical region for a number of reasons, and several groups have formed to focus on particular issues.

Data for map from City of Cambridge GIS map library. If someone can get me Belmont and Arlington maps...
for a better view, click here ->
[More detailed map]

Alewife Brook Reservation

The Alewife Brook Reservation is approximately 115 acres consisting of wetlands, wet meadows, ditches and marshes. Its southwest tributaries are part of the Mystic River watershed. Its waters include Little, Yates and Blair Ponds, Little River, Wellington Brook and Alewife Brook, linking the Alewife Reservation to the Mystic Lakes and Boston Harbor via the Mystic River.

Historically, the area is a remnant of the Fresh Pond Marshes, once extensive wetlands that began to be filled during the 1976-84 period. The land in Cambridge, Belmont and Arlington, owned and managed by the MDC is part of the the MDC's historic 17,000 acre park system. The MDC is responsible for coordinating all planning, management, and maintenance activities within the reservation. The Arthur D. Little Company (ADL) owns substantial wetlands and uplands located in Cambridge and Belmont adjacent to the MDC park land.

The Reservation performs important hydrological functions, including filtering of natural and human pollutants, preventing flooding, and acting as s recharge area for groundwater aquifers. Alewife's many trees, plants and other vegetation, and its water bodies, provide food and shelter to a multitude of wildlife such as herons, muskrats, cottontails, turtles, fish and a wide variety of birds.

Alewife Brook Reservation Information from the Metropolitan District Commission.

Unfortunately, the links to stories that have appeared in the Cambridge Chronicle and TAB newspapers relating to Alewife Brook Reservation are no longer archived, but here are some articles/columns. Others have been published since then, but these are ones that used to have working links.

A tour of the Alewife Reservation reveals an urban wildlife oasis - appeared in the TAB on November 12, 1999.

Protecting the last refuge in Cambridge - appeared in the Chronicle on June 10, 1999.


Please go to for a list of current "events."

Groups Working to Preserve the Alewife Area

Note: The page is provided as a service for the groups on this page, in order to clarify the identities of the several Alewife groups. However, resources don't exist to adequately maintain this page (any volunteers?). Fortunately, the Alewife Study Group has graciously offered to lend their website for additional information. Please see the Alewife Study Group's website at

Alewife Neighbors, Inc.
P. O. Box 40-0086
Cambridge, MA 02140

Alewife Neighbors, Inc. was formed in 1996 to serve the residents of North Cambridge by providing reliable information on quality-of-life issues as impacted by past and future development. The organization coordinates and participates in the monitoring and analysis of environmental, flooding, and traffic data collected with respect to development on parcels such as those at Russell Field, W.R. Grace properties, and the Alewife Reservation. ANI sponsors newsletters, neighborhood forums, and other public events. ANI is a tax exempt 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit corporation.

Alewife Neighbors also publishes a periodic newsletter "02140"

The Alewife Study Group
Contact: Ronnie Millar (617-441-8956)

This group of concerned neighborhood residents:

Alewife Watershed Trust
15 Brookford St.
Cambridge, MA 02140
Contact: Carolyn Mieth (617-864-6751)

The Alewife area of Cambridge is home to shopping centers, office parks, some of the City's most prestigious businesses, and a unique and precious urban wetland. The Coalition for Alewife is a joint undertaking of a number of civic organizations in Cambridge, Arlington, and Belmont which have come together to protect and enhance the area's environmental quality in the face of ongoing pressures from economic and transportation development. The Alewife Watershed Trust, the brainchild of that Coalition, will be governed by a board of directors made up of representatives from the three towns, including members of their respective Conservation Commissions, business communities, and neighborhood residents, as well as the MDC.

With the formation of the Trust, volunteers interested in helping with a range of special and ongoing projects to protect and revitalize the Alewife watershed area, including clean-ups, water quality monitoring, wetland restoration activities, public education and awareness initiatives, and fundraising, will be able to contact a single organization to find out how and when they can get involved. In the meantime, interested persons can contact the above-listed number for information about the activities of member organizations (some of which are separately listed under the Safe Neighborhood Initiative), including the Friends of Blair Pond, the Friends of Little Pond, the North Cambridge Stabilization Committee, the Neighborhood 9 Association, the Neighborhood 10 Association, the Cambridge Highlands Neighborhood Association, the East Arlington Good Neighbors, etc.

Coalition for Alewife
Contact: Carolyn Mieth (617-864-6751)

The Coalition for Alewife is a grass roots advocacy group representing Arlington, Belmont and Cambridge residents and their mutual concerns regarding the Alewife area with particular focus on issues related to flooding, habitat, roadways and development with a special interest in the Alewife Reservation and the Alewife Watershed in general. The Coalition has been instrumental in negotiations with the MBTA during the roadway improvements of the late 1980s and has recently played a major role in public meetings regarding the rental of parts of the Alewife Reservation to Arthur D. Little or their successors at Acorn Park.

Friends of Alewife Reservation
Contact: Ellen Mass;

To bring public attention to the MDC Reservation, wetlands, and environs by working with community volunteers, elected officials, Alewife area groups and the Mystic River Watershed Association to preserve and protect the area by means of visible presence of adult volunteer monitors, or school youth projects which include: public clean ups, survey teams, wilderness educational tours and classes, water quality testing and other projects which benefit the Alewife Reservation.

The Friends will also alert businesses and residents of the area of their environmental wetland responsibilities to Cambridge, Arlington and Belmont. Friends will raise funds for purposes of preservation and enhancement of the 115 acres public land Reserve in properly planned and supervised projects through grants, city and town funds, and from benefactors. Friends' volunteers will meet separately in crews, teams and committees to plan their work with the agreement from Directors and Advisors.


Please direct inquiries to the appropriate group.

If you'd like to list your Alewife preservation group here, or have some information to share about the Alewife area, please send an e-mail to