Malibu/Savin Hill Beach is a small bay located just a few minutes south of the UMass Boston campus. It is a microcosm of Boston Harbor, with boats, dog walkers, swimmers, and fishermen and women sharing the beach and bay with salt marsh, heron, and visiting striped bass. This project is a LivingLab experiment in linked community-university ecological stewardship - how can we care for both people and place for the long term?
View Malibu and Savin Hill beaches/bay in a larger map
Stewards 2012: Lisa Greber, Julia Frederick
Stewards 2010-2011: Lisa Greber, Nicoletta Vianella
Stewards 2009: Lisa Greber, Alexander Etkind, Meredith Eustis, Patty Slattery
The GHP Malibu Beach project began in the summer of 2009 and has been ongoing since, assessing both the ecology of the bay as well the needs of the human residents to see how people and ecology can best work together in a small area. The assessment to date has included an intertidal biodiversity survey, transect studies of existing salt marsh, and analysis of water and sediment quality.
We also asked the community to share their stories, including their reasons for visiting the beach, their knowledge of some of its ecology, and their vision for its future.
At Malibu Beach, we are doing celebration as well as science. GHP students participated in a beach clean-up campfire and community meetings. We also participated in the second annual Malibu Beach Festival, sharing pictures of mud snails, snowy egret, and several invasive tunicates with children and adults alike. At the festival we collected people’s visions for a green Boston Harbor: cleaner water for swimming; boat rentals on the beach; more fish to come back in the harbor and beyond.
Look for our full report soon - including the possibility for installing floating wetlands on the southern (highway) edge of the bay to improve water and sediment quality and to provide additional wildlife habitat, as well as for more venues for the community to understand, steward and celebrate the bay.
Photo credits: Malibu Beach cord grass (Spartina alterniflora):M. Eustis.