Charles River Road, Watertown
  Care about trees? As a Watertown citizen, your voice counts!
  YOU can
  advocate for better tree planning, planting, maintenance 
  and protection in Watertown.
 Don't be shy to contact your City Councilors and elected state and federal officials
to voice your concerns (and to thank them when they too advocate for trees!)

Get in touch in person, by phone or by email. THEY REPRESENT YOU and want to hear from you.

Here are some links to contact information for your representatives.

      Watertown City Council

      Usually meets every second and fourth Tuesday of the month.

      Not sure who your councilor is?  You can look your district up on this map.

      Watertown elected state and federal officials

           Public Forum, Watertown Town Council Meeting
    There's also a regular bi-monthly opportunity to
     speak to the entire City Council -- and to a wider
     audience too, since Watertown Cable TV
     broadcasts City Council meetings live: City
     Council meetings begin with a Public Forum.  (Be
     sure to let the Council know before the start of the
     meeting that you'd like two minutes to speak.)

     Residents can use Public Forum time to present a
     two-minute address on any topic
, including  
     topics not on the night's Council agenda. Take
     advantage of this opportunity to speak for trees!

City committee, board and commission meetings are other key opportunities for citizens
to speak up for better municipal planning and design for healthy trees.

Look for tree-related items on these meeting agendas.

Keep an eye out too for special public forums on upcoming street reconstruction or building development projects.

Check these Watertown government websites and other Watertown information sources for meeting agendas:

Watertown Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals
Planning Board meets 2nd Wednesday of each month, 7pm, City Hall
   ZBA meets last Wednesday of each month, 7pm, City Hall
   with additional special meetings as required

Shade trees are a vital part of urban infrastructure! To protect Watertown's environmental health
and minimize the "heat island effect" of increased hardscape, development plans submitted for
approval to Watertown's Planning Board and ZBA should include green infrastructural components
and minimize the development's negative environmental impact.

Shade trees provide many important urban services beyond the esthetics of "landscaping".
Careful site engineering for the use and long-term vitality of shade trees should be included
from the beginning in any development design.

New urban developments are often built on sites which have long been in urban use.
Ideally, any new Watertown development will IMPROVE on the ecological impact of
the previous use of that land.

  Watertown Conservation Commission
Meets first Wednesday of each month, 7:30 pm, City Hall

The Conservation Commission has stewardship of Watertown's parks,
and has legal responsibility for protecting the Charles River from urban pollution,
much of which is carried into the river by storm drains.

Shade tree root systems can play a major role in minimizing the toxic effects
of storm water runoff by filtering the water before it reaches the drain system
and by absorbing excess runoff.

  Watertown Tree Warden

Holds Public Tree Hearings several times a year

The unique value and vulnerability of municipal shade trees has been formally recognized
in Massachusetts State Law since 1899. E
very Massachusetts city and town must have
a Tree Warden, who is responsible for the planting, protection and management of public
shade trees within a municipality. A Massachusetts Tree Warden must be a Certified Arborist.

Arbor Day, 2008

        Watertown's Tree Warden makes it a priority to educate young
        Watertown citizens about the importance and value of Watertown's shade trees.

tree hearing sign
     Without explicit prior approval from a municipality's Tree Warden, no public shade tree may be pruned or removed except trees which must be sacrificed for the widening of a state highway.

     By Massachusetts State Law, the Tree Warden must hold a public Tree Hearing for any public shade tree for which a request for removal has been received, with the exception of any tree which the Tree Warden determines is an imminent public safety hazard.  

     Any citizen or department in a municipality may request removal of a public shade tree.  The Tree Warden must post a notice on the tree and must publish a general notice announcing the Tree Hearing at least two weeks before the Tree Hearing.

     At the Tree Hearing, the Tree Warden considers each tree on the roster and hears public comments regarding its takedown.  Based on these statements of community impact and on the Tree Warden's own assessment of the tree, the Tree Warden either approves or denies the request for removal.

     To speak for or against a tree removal request, write a letter or email to the Tree Warden, making sure it arrives no later than the day before the  Hearing.  Better still, come to the Tree Hearing to voice your opinion in person.

   Want to learn more about the duties of a Massachusetts Tree Warden and the legal protections required for Massachusetts public shade trees? Here's a link to Chapter 87 of the Massachusetts General Laws, also known as the

Massachusetts Shade Tree Act
Check out these other Watertown community groups advocating for a greener Watertown

Watertown Citizens logo


  Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice and the Environment

East End Neighbors logo

     East End Neighbors
is a concerned citizens group organized to increase
     civic engagement in Watertown’s East End by sponsoring activities,
     disseminating information and creating dialog about local issues.

     Contact: Deborah Peterson deb.peterson[AT]

       The CCG LogoConcerned Citizens Group (CCG) was established in 1971 as a
       non-profit Neighborhood Association representing  the streets between
       Walnut Street and Irving Street on the side of Mt. Auburn Street between
       Walnut Street to Irving Street.  Our goal is to create and sustain a
       supportive community of people who care about Watertown, our
       neighborhood, and issues of concern to us. 

                                                                  Contact:  Rena Baskin rena[AT]
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