Belle Isle Urban Wild

Ownership: Department of Neighborhood Development
Neighborhood: East Boston

The Belle Isle site is located on the west side of Belle Isle Inlet, just north of Logan Airport and across the inlet from Winthrop. This small, coastal site is a city-owned in-holding located within the state-owned Belle Isle March Reservation, the largest remaining, in-tact salt marsh system in Boston. Historically used by a sport-fishing club, the site was acquired by the city for tax foreclosure in 1990. Chronic dumping and nearby industrial operations had seriously degraded the site's ecological integrity, recreational value, and aesthetics. However, the city recently completed a state-mandated soil remediation program at this site in 2005. The Urban Wilds Initiative seized upon this opportunity to restore the site back to its original condition as a salt marsh and coastal bank. Contaminated soil was removed from the site and the area was graded to allow restored tidal flows and the establishment of native salt marsh vegetation. This project has dramatically improved site ecology, providing about 1.3 acres of intertidal habitat for fish, shellfish, and birds. In addition, the project has improved coastal access for residents by providing a pedestrian pathway. This pathway link between the DCR reservation and Saratoga Street will form a portion of the East Boston Greenway extension in this area.