Boston Harbor is a natural harbor and estuary of Massachusetts Bay, and is located adjacent to the city of Boston, Massachusetts. It is home to the Port of Boston, a major shipping facility in the northeastern United States.
A harbor or harbour is a sheltered body of water where ships, boats, and barges can be docked. The term harbor is often used interchangeably with port, which is a man-made facility built for loading and unloading vessels and dropping off and picking up passengers. Ports usually include one or more harbors. Alexandria Port in Egypt is an example of a port with two harbors.
An estuary is a partially enclosed coastal body of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea.
Massachusetts Bay is a bay on the Atlantic Ocean that forms part of the central coastline of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Since its discovery to Europeans by John Smith in 1614,Boston Harbor has been an important port in American history. It was the site of the Boston Tea Party, as well as almost continuous building of wharves, piers, and new filled land into the harbor until the 19th century. By 1660 almost all imports came to the greater Boston area and the New England coast through the waters of Boston Harbor. A rapid influx of people transformed Boston into a booming city.
John Smith was an English soldier, explorer, colonial governor, Admiral of New England, and author. He played an important role in the establishment of the Jamestown colony, the first permanent English settlement in North America, in the early 17th century. Smith was a leader of the Virginia Colony based at Jamestown between September 1608 and August 1609, and led an exploration along the rivers of Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay, during which he became the first English explorer to map the Chesapeake Bay area. Later, he explored and mapped the coast of New England. He was knighted for his services to Sigismund Báthory, Prince of Transylvania, and his friend Mózes Székely.
The Boston Tea Party was a political and mercantile protest by the Sons of Liberty in Boston, Massachusetts, on December 16, 1773. The target was the Tea Act of May 10, 1773, which allowed the British East India company to sell tea from China in American colonies without paying taxes apart from those imposed by the Townshend Acts. American Patriots strongly opposed the taxes in the Townshend Act as a violation of their rights. Demonstrators, some disguised as Native Americans, destroyed an entire shipment of tea sent by the East India Company.
The health of the harbor quickly deteriorated as the population of Boston increased. As early as the late 19th century Boston citizens were advised not to swim in any portion of the Harbor. In the 19th century, two of the first steam sewage stations were built (one in East Boston and one later on Deer Island). With these mandates, the harbor was seeing small improvements, but raw sewage was still continuously pumped into the harbor. In 1919, the Metropolitan District Commission was created to oversee and regulate the quality of harbor water. However, not much improvement was seen and general public awareness of the poor quality of water was very low. In 1972 the Clean Water Act was passed in order to help promote increased national water quality.
The Clean Water Act (CWA) is the primary federal law in the United States governing water pollution. Its objective is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation's waters; recognizing the responsibilities of the states in addressing pollution and providing assistance to states to do so, including funding for publicly owned treatment works for the improvement of wastewater treatment; and maintaining the integrity of wetlands. It is one of the United States' first and most influential modern environmental laws. As with many other major U.S. federal environmental statutes, it is administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in coordination with state governments. Its implementing regulations are codified at 40 C.F.R. Subchapters D, N, and O.
Boston did not receive a clean water act waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency, leaving Boston with little incentive to increase water quality of the harbor. Since the mid-1970s organizations within the Boston community have battled for a cleaner Boston Harbor. More recently, the harbor was the site of the $4.5 billion Boston Harbor Project. Failures at the Nut Island sewage treatment plant in Quincy and the companion Deer Island plant adjacent to Winthrop had far-reaching environmental and political effects. Fecal coliform bacteria levels forced frequent swimming prohibitions along the harbor beaches and the Charles River for many years.The city of Quincy sued the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) and the separate Boston Water and Sewer Commission in 1982, charging that unchecked systemic pollution of the city’s waterfront contributed to the problem. That suit was followed by one by the Conservation Law Foundation and finally by the United States government, resulting in the landmark court-ordered cleanup of Boston Harbor.
Sewage treatment is the process of removing contaminants from municipal wastewater, containing mainly household sewage plus some industrial wastewater. Physical, chemical, and biological processes are used to remove contaminants and produce treated wastewater that is safe enough for release into the environment. A by-product of sewage treatment is a semi-solid waste or slurry, called sewage sludge. The sludge has to undergo further treatment before being suitable for disposal or application to land.
Quincy is the largest city in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States. It is part of Metropolitan Boston and one of Boston's immediate southern suburbs. Its population in 2014 was 93,397, making it the eighth-largest city in the state. Known as the "City of Presidents," Quincy is the birthplace of two U.S. presidents—John Adams and his son John Quincy Adams—as well as John Hancock, a President of the Continental Congress and the first signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Deer Island is a peninsula in Boston, Massachusetts. Since 1996, it has been part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. Although still an island by name, Deer Island has been connected to the mainland since the former Shirley Gut channel, which once separated the island from the town of Winthrop, was filled in by the 1938 New England hurricane. Today, Deer Island is the location of the Deer Island Waste Water Treatment Plant, whose 150-foot-tall (46 m) egg-like sludge digesters are major harbor landmarks.
The lawsuits forced then-Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis to propose separating the water and sewer treatment divisions from the MDC, resulting in the creation of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority in 1985. The slow progress of the cleanup became a key theme of the 1988 U.S. presidential election as George H.W. Bush defeated Dukakis partly through campaign speeches casting doubt on the governor’s environmental record,which Dukakis himself had claimed was better than that of Bush. The court-ordered cleanup continued throughout the next two decades and is still ongoing.
Michael Stanley Dukakis is a retired American politician who served as the 65th Governor of Massachusetts, from 1975 to 1979 and again from 1983 to 1991. He is the longest-serving governor in Massachusetts history and only the second Greek-American governor in U.S. history, after Spiro Agnew. He was nominated by the Democratic Party for president in the 1988 election, losing to the Republican candidate, Vice President George H. W. Bush.
The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) is a public authority in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that provides wholesale drinking water and sewage services to certain municipalities and industrial users in the state, primarily in the Boston area.
Before the clean-up projects, the water was so polluted that The Standells released a song in 1965 called "Dirty Water" which referred to the sorry state of the Charles River. Neal Stephenson, who attended Boston University from 1977 to 1981, based his second novel, Zodiac, around pollution of the harbor.
The Standells are an American garage rock band from Los Angeles, California, formed in the 1960s, who have been referred to as the "punk band of the 1960s", and said to have inspired such groups as the Sex Pistols and Ramones. They are best known for their 1966 hit "Dirty Water", now the anthem of several Boston sports teams and is played following every Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins win.
"Dirty Water" is a song by the American rock band The Standells, written by their producer Ed Cobb. The song is a mock paean to the city of Boston, Massachusetts and its then-famously polluted Boston Harbor and Charles River.
Neal Town Stephenson is an American writer known for his works of speculative fiction.
Since the writing of the song, the water quality in both the Harbor and the Charles River has significantly improved, and the projects have dramatically transformed Boston Harbor from one of the filthiest in the nation to one of the cleanest. Today, Boston Harbor is safe for fishing and for swimming nearly every day, though there are still beach closings after even small rainstorms, caused by bacteria-laden storm water and the occasional combined sewer overflow.
Boston Harbor is a large harbor which constitutes the western extremity of Massachusetts Bay. The harbor is sheltered from Massachusetts Bay and the open Atlantic Ocean by a combination of the Winthrop Peninsula and Deer Island to the north, the hooked Nantasket Peninsula and Point Allerton to the south, and the harbor islands in the middle. The harbor is often described as being split into an inner harbor and an outer harbor. 180 miles (290 km) of shoreline and 34 harbor islands.The harbor itself comprises fifty square miles with
The inner harbor was historically the main port of Boston and is still the site of most of its port facilities as well as the Boston waterfront, which has been redeveloped for residential and recreational uses. The inner harbor extends from the mouths of the Charles River and the Mystic River, both of which empty into the harbor, to Logan International Airport and Castle Island, where the inner harbor meets the outer harbor.
The outer harbor stretches to the south and east of the inner harbor. To its landward side, and moving in a counterclockwise direction, the harbor is made up of the three small bays of Dorchester Bay, Quincy Bay and Hingham Bay. To seaward, the two deep water anchorages of President Roads and Nantasket Roads are separated by Long Island. The outer harbor is fed by several rivers, including the Neponset River, the Weymouth Fore River, the Weymouth Back River and the Weir River.
Dredged deepwater channels stretch from President Roads to the inner harbor, and from Nantasket Roads to the Weymouth Fore River and Hingham Bay via Hull Gut and West Gut. Some commercial port facilities are located in the Fore River area, an area which has a history of shipbuilding including the notable Fore River Shipyard.
In the 1830s members of the maritime community observed physical decay in the harbor. Islands in the outer harbor were visibly deteriorating and erosion was causing weathered materials and sediment to move from where it was protecting the harbor to where it would do the most harm. Recent shoaling experiences and comparisons with old charts caused observers to insist that the inner harbor was also filling and created widespread anxiety about the destruction of the Boston Harbor. Although the scientific understanding of hydraulics was still in its infancy and there were high degrees of uncertainty regarding the meeting of land and water, scientists and engineers began to describe the Boston Harbor as a series of channels created and maintained by the scouring force of water moving in and out of the harbor, river systems, and tidal reservoirs. This interpretation came to be known as the theory of Tidal scour. This understanding of the harbor as a dynamic landscape assuaged concerns some had over the negative impacts of land fill operations of land and real estate developers.
As the 19th century progressed the acceleration of urban growth dramatically increased the need for more land. The Ordinance of 1641 extended the property rights of riparian owners from the line of low tide to a maximum distance of 100 rods (1,600 ft; 500 m) from the line of high tide. Generally, other states drew the line of private property at high tide. However, extending shore lines into bordering bodies of water was not unique to Boston. Chicago built into Lake Michigan, New York extended itself into the Hudson and East rivers, and San Francisco reclaimed sections of its bay. The Boston Harbor's unique geography inspired the law that made land reclamation such a widespread activity in Boston. By the end of the nineteenth century the city had created more land in two generations than it had in the previous two centuries.
Boston Harbor contains a considerable number of islands, 34 of which are part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area since its establishment in 1996. The following islands exist within the harbor, or just outside it in Massachusetts Bay:
Two former islands, Castle Island and Deer Island, still exist in a recognizable form. Castle Island was joined to the mainland by land reclamation, while Deer Island ceased to be an island when the channel which formerly separated it from the mainland was filled in by the New England Hurricane of 1938.
Nut Island is a small former island in Boston Harbor that was joined by landfill to the Houghs Neck peninsula in northeastern Quincy by the 1940s so it could be used as the site of a sewage treatment facility.
Two other former islands, Apple Island and Governors Island, have been subsumed into land reclamation for Logan International Airport.
In 1996, the Boston Globe reported that Mayor Thomas Menino and MIT engineer Clifford Goudey were planning a program to use the great tanks on Moon Island as a fish farm or a temporary home for tuna or lobster in an attempt to implement a recirculating aquaculture system in Boston Harbor.The prices of both these fish types vary by season. The plan was to collect and store fish in the tanks and sell the fish at higher prices when they were out of season. Nothing has come of this plan to date.
Hull is a town in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States, located on a peninsula at the southern edge of Boston Harbor. Its population was 10,293 at the 2010 census. Hull is the smallest town by land area in Plymouth County and the fourth smallest in the state. However, its population density is within the top thirty towns in the state.
The Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area is a National Recreation Area situated among the islands of Boston Harbor of Boston, Massachusetts. The area is made up of a collection of islands, together with a former island and a peninsula, many of which are open for public recreation and some of which are very small and best suited for wildlife. The area is run by the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership. It includes the Boston Harbor Islands State Park, managed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Twenty-one of the 34 islands in the area are also included in the Boston Harbor Islands Archeological District.
The Port of Boston,, is a major seaport located in Boston Harbor and adjacent to the City of Boston. It is the largest port in Massachusetts as well as being one of the principal ports on the east coast of the United States.
Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) is an environmental advocacy organization based in New England. Since 1966, CLF's mission has been to advocate on behalf of the region's environment and its communities. CLF's advocacy work takes place in four program areas: Clean Energy & Climate Change, Clean Water & Healthy Forests, Healthy Oceans and Smart Growth. CLF works to promote renewable energy and fight air and water pollution; build healthy fishing communities and protect marine habitat; fight sprawl, promote public transit and defend public health. Conservation Law Foundation is a nonprofit, member-supported organization with offices in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.
Moon Island is situated in Quincy Bay, in the middle of Boston Harbor, Massachusetts, and is the location of the Boston Fire Department Training Academy, and Boston Police Department shooting range. All of the land on the island is owned by the City of Boston but the island is under the jurisdiction of Quincy, Massachusetts. It is also part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area.
Long Island is located in Boston Harbor, Massachusetts. The island is part of the City of Boston, and of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. The island is 1.75 miles (2.82 km) long and covers 225 acres (0.9 km2).
Outer Brewster Island, also known as Outward Island, is one of the outer islands in the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area and is situated some 10 miles offshore of downtown Boston. The island has a permanent size of 20 acres, and consists of exposed bedrock covered by fertile soil bounded by a rocky shore with steep cliffs. It provides a nesting habitat for coastal water birds, including cormorants, gulls, common eider ducks, glossy ibis and American oystercatchers. The birds are aggressive during their nesting season and access by humans, which is by private boat only, is discouraged during this period.
The Deer Island Waste Water Treatment Plant is located on Deer Island, one of the Boston Harbor Islands in Boston Harbor. The plant is operated by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) and began partial operations in 1995. The facility was fully operational in 2000 with the completion of the outfall tunnel.
A. David Mazzone served for twenty-six years as a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
Wollaston Beach is a public beach located along Quincy Shore Drive in the Wollaston section of Quincy, Massachusetts. It is located on Quincy Bay, part of Boston Harbor. It is cared for by the Friends of Wollaston Beach (FWB), and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). At its northern end is the Moswetuset Hummock. It is formally part of Quincy Shore Reservation, which was created by an act of the Mass. Legislature in 1899. Quincy Shore Drive was completed and opened to the public on May 30, 1908, which is considered to be Wollaston Beach's birthday, as the completed roadway connected the small beach known as 'Wollaston' at Beach street, with Atlantic, and Fenno beaches.
The Fore River Transportation Corporation is the operator of the Fore River Railroad, a class III railroad in eastern Massachusetts owned by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority.
The Nut Island effect describes an organizational behavior phenomenon in which a team of skilled employees becomes isolated from distracted top managers resulting in a catastrophic loss of the ability of the team to perform an important mission. The term was coined by Paul F. Levy, a former Massachusetts state official, in an article in the Harvard Business Review published in 2001. The article outlines a situation which resulted in massive pollution of Boston Harbor, and proposes that the name of the facility involved be applied to similar situations in other business enterprises. The work is used as a source in human resources management case studies and is featured on the websites of several business management consulting firms and health care institutions.
The Metropolitan Park System of Greater Boston is a system of reservations, parks, parkways and roads under the control of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) in and around Boston that has been in existence for over a century. The title is used by the DCR to describe the areas collectively: "As a whole, the Metropolitan Park System is currently eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places", as outlined on the department's website. The DCR maintains a separate Urban Parks and Recreation division to oversee the system, one of five such divisions within the department—DCR's Bureau of State Parks and Recreation manages the remainder of Massachusetts state parks. Direct design and maintenance functions for the parkways and roads within the system are provided by the DCR Bureau of Engineering.
Dorchester Bay is the smallest of the three smaller bays of southern Boston Harbor, part of Massachusetts Bay and forming the south shoreline of the South Boston neighborhood and northeast shoreline of the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, as well as the north shore of the city of Quincy in Massachusetts.
Hull Gut is a gut about half a mile wide and thirty-five feet deep, in Boston Harbor running between Pemberton Point in Hull and the East Head of Peddocks Island. Along with its sister channel, West Gut, which runs between the West Head of Peddocks Island and Hough's Neck in Quincy, Hull Gut forms the southern entrance to the Inner Harbor connecting it to Hingham Bay. To the north the gut intersects with the deep-water shipping lane Nantasket Roads. Strong cross-currents and often heavy traffic make the gut a dangerous waterway. The channel is used by oil tankers and other freighters bound for industries around the Weymouth Fore River in Braintree, Weymouth, and Quincy and, historically, was used by the shipbuilding industry.
Nut Island is a former island in Boston Harbor, part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. The island has been connected through a short causeway to the end of Houghs Neck, becoming part of the mainland of Quincy, Massachusetts.
Hingham Bay is the easternmost of the three small bays of outer Boston Harbor, part of Massachusetts Bay and forming the western shoreline of the town of Hull and the northern shoreline of Hingham in the United States state of Massachusetts. It lies east of Quincy Bay and is met at the southwest by the mouth of Weymouth Fore River, also forming part of the waterfront of Weymouth. The bay is home to several of the Boston Harbor Islands.
William Brownell Golden is an American attorney and politician who represented the Norfolk and Plymouth district in the Massachusetts Senate from 1985–1991. He was a candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts in 1990, but lost in the Democratic primary to Marjorie Clapprood.
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