Ward Street Grass Roots

A Hingham organization fighting for rational use of our Town’s resources

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The Conservation Commission is addressing several major environmental concerns. We are most concerned about the impact of 13 acres of fenced artificial turf fields and gravel parking lots on wildlife and on the surrounding wetlands and groundwater. Large tracts of trees will be cut down. The proposed field, parking lots and driveway encroach to within 50′ of the wetlands in several places, and cross the 200′ riverfront line from the Plymouth River. These boundaries shift over time. The soil has tested as very permeable. The toxic runoff and leeching from crumb rubber fields along with the migrating fill itself must not impact Plymouth River, Cushing Pond, the South Hingham aquifer, or the surrounding private wells.

The Conservation Commission continues to discuss the proposed turf field project and its impacts on the wetlands, wildlife, ground water, and more. The WSTFF have changed the layout of the fields in response to their concerns. A study on the impact on wildlife will be discussed at the May 3 hearing, when the Commission is also scheduled to vote on allowing a permit.

If you attend the meeting, it is extremely important that you sign in!

Impact on Wildlife

What animals live in the Ward Street woods, meadows and wetlands? How will artificial turf fields affect their habitat?

The acres of land designated as open space in the Ward Street/Cushing Street area are home to many species of wildlife, from the familiar deer, coyotes and turkeys to the equally abundant yet less visible hawks, owls, herons, egrets, red fox, mink, and snapping turtles. Margetts field and the adjoining meadow, woodlands and wetlands provide valuable hunting, feeding, migrating and nesting habitat for these animals and many many others.

With the intense development of South Hingham in recent years, the wildlife have been driven into an increasingly smaller area. Artificial turf fields surrounded by fencing and parking lots replace 13 acres of natural habitat with a surface made of crumb rubber, plastic, gravel and pavement. The proposed project cuts down acres of trees, reaches up to the required 50′ buffer zone around the wetlands on the northern edge, and effectively covers all existing open spaces with artificial surfaces.

Replacing grass and woodlands with synthetic surfaces eliminates food sources for wildlife like worms, insects and plants. Crumb rubber, made of tires and considered a hazardous waste not accepted in our landfills, leeches into the groundwater and runs off into the wetlands as it deteriorates, contaminating water sources for animals and humans alike. And fences and parking lots remove this open space from use by both the wildlife and the people who have shared it for years.

We feel that it is important to teach the next generation that we are stewards of the land and that we must use it wisely and with care. As we increasingly understand the impact of development on our planet, this project is a major step in the wrong direction.

For the complete statement, click here.

To learn more:

Read more about the environmental issues with artificial turf fields here
• Read more about the impact on well water in the area here
• Read more about toxins in turf here
• Read more about what happens to crumb rubber here
• Read more about the impact on wildlife here
NEW Read the San Francisco Synthetic Playfields Task Force Report here