In addition to annual maintenance and management of the town's conservation trails and meadows, the Lexington Conservation Division and Conservation Stewards are engaged in a number of projects to improve the town's conservation infrastructure, wildlife habitat, ecosystem health, and scenic value.
Find out about our current projects:
- Cotton Farm Revitalization
- Garlic Mustard Pulling
- Meadow Restoration at Joyce Miller's Meadow
- Deer Browse Monitoring Program
- East Lexington Habitat Enrichment Project
- Daisy Wilson Meadow Improvements
- Sandplain Wildflower Restoration
- New Wayfinding Signage System
- Ecological Restoration of the Idylwilde Old Community Garden Site
- New Shade Street Trail Easement Complete
- Willard's Woods Daylighting Project
2018 has been a record-breaking year for garlic mustard pulling in Lexington. This year, we filled more than 150 contractor bags with garlic mustard from 11 different sites, including Idylwilde, Daisy Wilson Meadow, Dunback Meadow, Cotton Farm, Cataldo Reservation, the Minuteman Bikeway, Lincoln Park, and Lower Vine Brook.
We engaged over 70 volunteers in this effort for over 160 volunteer hours- amazing!
Many thanks to the following groups for their participation in this work:
The Citizens for Lexington Conservation
Lexington Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Cub Scouts
Lexington High School Freshman Earth Science Students
Daughters of the American Revolution
If you pulled garlic mustard on your own, either on one of our Town properties or in your own yard, please consider reporting your bags to The New England Stewardship Network's Garlic Mustard Challenge.
UPDATE: June 2018
The Conservation Division and Conservation Stewards completed the ecological resotoration of Joyce Miller's Meadow in June 2018!
The project began in 2016 and involved the removal of approximately 3 acres of dense understory to re-open the former meadow. Joyce Miller’s Meadow is Town conservation land situated adjacent to the Arlington Great Meadows and accessible via the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway.
The project — which improved the site for both wildlife habitat and enhanced recreation — was funded by the Community Preservation Act through a vote by Town Meeting 2015.
The project involved selective removal of both native and non-native trees and shrubs; removal methods included both tree and brush cutting as well as herbicide use on invasive species.
Additionally, the Conservation Division partnered with Grassroots Wildlife Conservation (GWC) — a Concord-based non-profit organization — to re-introduce several species of sandplain wildflowers once native to Lexington at the site. Volunteers from the Lexington Conservation Stewards worked with GWC staff to propogate these wildflowers in pots over the winter 2017-2016 and 2017-2018; a portion of the plants were installed in late August 2017 and the remaining flowers scheduled for installation in late summer 2018 . One of the species, New England Blazing Star, is a state-listed species of special concern. Wildlfower restoration work on the site will be ongoing.
Joyce Miller's Meadow — classified as sandplain grassland or shrubland by the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program — evolved through a regime of periodic fire and boasts abundant populations of little blue stem grass, scrub oak, haircap moss and lowbush blueberry; the Conservation Division is currently researching the practicality and potential for using prescribed fire to manage the site in the future.
The Conservation Division has partnered with the Minuteman Technical High School earth sciences program to develop a long-term deer browse data collection project for the purpose of measuring the impact of Lexington's deer population on the health of our forests. Students constructed one deer exclosure and adjacent control plot at Cranberry Hill Conservation Area in the spring of 2018 and will build two more during the 2018-2019 academic year. Researchers at Harvard Forest helped design the project; the data will be used both locally by the Lexington Conservation Division and regionally to help guide decisions about deer management.
In 2017, Conservation Steward Director Holly Samuels began a long-term ecological restoration project at Cataldo Reservation in East Lexington. The purpose of the project is to diversify the native habitat at Cataldo Reservation for supporting wildlife, and to prevent the seed bank of invasive plant species from sprouting. The long-term aim is to provide a model for restoring adjacent natural areas in East Lexington, as well as other conservation areas in Lexington. This will be a multi-year project and maintenance will need to continue indefinitely.
In 2018, the project engaged over 100 volunteers from Lexington High School, Lexington Scout Troops, Grace Chapel, and other groups. For more information on the project and to get involved, contact email@example.com.
The Daisy Wilson Meadow Improvement Project involves invasive species removal, brush clearing, the construction of a new 180' boardwalk along the trail leading into the meadow from Moreland Avenue, and the beautification of the stone wall frontage. The Conservation Stewards received a wetlands permit for the work from the Lexington Conservation Commission in June 2015.
The boardwalk was completed in the fall of 2017. In April 2018, Girl Scouts from Lexington Troop 63054 undertook a native plant restoration project at the property as part of their Silver Award service project. The plantings are all native edible plants that will provide screening and privacy both for trail users and for neighbors along the field at Daisy Wilson Meadow. Arlington resident and experienced forager Russ Cohen served as a mentor on the project.
Invasive plant management and improvement of the scenic view into the meadow from Moreland Avenue will be ongoing.
In 2016, the Lexington Conservation Division began a multi-year native wildflower restoration project aimed at enhancing sandplain grassland habitat in Lexington while providing important food resources for native insects, butterflies, and other pollinator species.
The Conservation Division has partnered with Grassroots Wildlife Conservation (GWC), a Concord-based non-profit organization, on the project; GWC is providing technical expertise as well as the wildflower seed for the project.
The highlight of GWC’s work will be the propagation of New England Blazing Star, a state-listed species of special concern. New England Blazing Star was once common to this area but is no longer found in Lexington.
In 2016, GWC planted approximately 275 sq. ft. of wildflowers, including New England Blazing Star, wild lupine, yellow wild indigo, and butterfly milkweed on the summit of Whipple Hill; Lexington’s Girl Scout Troop 71659 assisted with this project.
GWC has also established several areas of sandplain wildflowers at Joyce Miller’s Meadow and will continue work at the site through 2018 as part of the Conservation Division’s Conservation Meadow Preservation Program.
Read GWC's Restoration Proposal
The Conservation Stewards have developed a wayfinding signage system featuring colored directional arrows and informational signs; the system was piloted at Whipple Hill in 2016.
Signage was installed at Lower Vine Brook in 2017; plans to roll out the system at Willard's Woods are in the works for 2019.
In the summer of 2017, the Conservation Stewards completed a new trail connection through a new conservation restriction that runs parellel to Shade Street on land currently owned by King Street Properties and occupied by Shire. The trail, which connects Spring Street with an existing fire road and trail system on the property out to the corner of Shade and Weston Streets, is part of the ACROSS Lexington Route H.
The Lexington Conservation Division and Lexington Conservation Stewards are restoring the old garden site at Idylwilde Conservation Area to improve wildlife habitat, protect natural resources, enhance access for visitors, and improve the aesthetic quality of the site.
Work began at the site in the fall of 2014 and is ongoing.To learn more, check out the land management plan prepared by Parterre Ecological.
What is Stream Daylighting?
In urban design and urban planning, daylighting is the redirection of a stream into an above-ground channel. Typically, the goal is to restore a stream of water to a more natural state. Daylighting is intended to improve the riparian environment for a stream which had been previously diverted into a culvert, pipe, or a drainage system.
Why Do This Here?
The existing Willard Woods stone drainage culvert was failing and required replacement. This effort will both accommodate drainage needs but also improve habitat value. The Willard’s Woods stream daylighting project was identified as a priority project during Town-wide watershed and stream assessment planning and is a part of Lexington Public Works efforts across the community to enhance drainage systems in an ecologically-appropriate way. For more information check out our stormwater site.
The Project Also Includes:
- Construction of a pedestrian bridge across the “new” stream.
- Construction of a vehicular bridge (for fire access) on the trail to Brent Road.
Start – Late August/Early September 2015
End – Late Fall, 2015
Final Plantings and Invasive Plant Management – Through Spring 2016
Temporary Impacts to Trail:
The trails around the stream daylighting project (area around Willard’s Pond) will be temporarily closed during construction.
The trail from Brent Road into Willard’s Woods will be closed for the Fall. Thank you for your patience.
- Lexington Public Works Director: David Pinsonneault
- Lexington Town Engineer: John Livsey
- Lexington Conservation Administrator: Karen Mullins
- Construction Contractor: SumCo
- Engineer: Woodard & Curran, Inc.
- Landscape Architect: Regina S. Leonard Landscape Architecture & Design
Funding: Town of Lexington
For More Information, contact John Livsey firstname.lastname@example.org