Green Harbors Project

at the University of Massachusetts Boston

Savin Hill Cove

Water quality monitoring in the Biomimicry LivingLabs engages UMass Boston students and is sponsored by the MIT Sea Grant and the Schmidt Family Foundation.

Biomimicry LivingLabs received a $200K grant from the Schmidt Family Foundation for 2013-15. Here is the proposal for the restoration of the Savin Hill Cove, presented at the Boston Living with Water International Competition.

Boston Water and Sewer Commission Water Quality Monitoring at Morrissey Blvd. Drainage Conduit Project (Executive summary)

Green Harbors Project students and Prof. Anamarija Frankić have been working with students from Newton High School and Outward Bound from Thompson Island on salt marsh restoration in Savin Hill Cove, adjacent to the UMass Boston campus. On Saturday, Sept. 24, 2010 at low tide, we came to the site to measure basic water quality in the intertidal area with fringing salt marsh, and found 156 oysters throughout the Cove. In 2015, there were about 7,000 native oysters that have established a nice shellfish reef habitat. Native oyster population are thriving and will contribute to improving water quality and biodiversity in the Cove.

Please note that this area is contaminated and closed to any shellfishing, including oyster collection and harvesting.

The oysters found in the Cove are both European oysters (Ostrea edulis) and native Eastern Oysters (Crassostrea virginica). From their sizes, we estimate the native oysters range from 2 months to 5-6 years old. The oysters were found in areas where ground water is seeping out into the cove creating small channels, where substrate (bottom) is firmer and lacks accumulation of silt and mud, therefore providing more suitable conditions for oysters to attach as spats and to survive.

We have also installed the first floating island and planted 2 inch cord grass (Spartina alterniflora) to help buffer the shoreline and improve water quality. Floating islands are made of a non-toxic PET plastic matrix that has holes for plants to grow on/in. We are working with Biomimicry New England  to identify environmentally-friendly materials that will replace present plastic used for floating islands.

EEOS 476 SyllabusStudent Projects 

"Assessment of policy conditions, constraints, and consequences in the process of shellfish restoration: the complex permitting process for restoration of urban harbors" (Paper PDF) (Presentation PDF)

"Development of sustainable solutions to mitigate sediment and contaminant re-suspension during storm surge and tidal inundation in urban harbor (Savin Hill Cove)" (Paper PDF) (Presentation PDF)

"Assessment of existing fish advisories in Boston Harbor and comparison between three urban estuaries: Neponset, Charles and Mystic Rivers" (Paper PDF) (Presentation PDF)

"Shifting Shorelines of Savin Hill Cove 
(GIS Land use/Land cover mapping)" (Presentation PDF)

Anamarija Frankić and Stephen Norris, May 2014 presentation for the Savin Hill local community, Biomimicry LivingLabs.

Boston University student Ashley Jones wrote an article about the Biomimicry LivingLabs.

For background information about the cove, view previous student capstone projects: Savin Hill restoration and Savin Hill dredging.

Click here for water quality data from the MWRA (Massachusetts Water Resources Authority) (Savin Hill Cove is Station 39).

Visit the Savin Hill Yacht Club

Student projects in progress:

"Environmental assessment of the Cove: Historical Changes in Local Biodiversity" 

"Evaluation of essential fish and shellfish habitats (ESH) and how will sea level rise scenarios and changing climate impact the ESH in the Cove" 

"Assessment of potential human health impacts from present water quality in 
the Cove" 

"Using Floating islands to help restore ecological services in urban harbors through biomimicry-based design and engineering"

"Using the Biomimicry LivingLabs to strengthen campus-community interactions in addressing environmental issues in the Savin Hill Cove"

"Assessing local businesses, technologies, innovative environmental solutions and inviting them to showcase their products at the Biomimicry LivingLabs"

"Develop social media communication for outreach and education about the Biomimicry LivingLabs and the Student Capstone Projects"