Friends of Dolan Pond is a local organization that promotes the protection and preservation of the Dolan Pond Conservation Area in West Newton, MA.
A 1995 naturalist's resource survey report concluded that Dolan Pond Conservation Area provides unique habitat for both wildlife and a variety of plant species that are rare within the City of Newton. Although only 8 acres in extent, the area provides a mosaic of environmental conditions that encourages biological diversity. Included among the plant species of special significance found growing in the area are netted chain fern, Atlantic white cedar, round leaved sundew, swamp milkweed, poison sumac, and cotton grass. Although the majority of the conservation area is dominated by red maple swamp, the interspersion of open water, scrub/shrub thickets and wet meadow/vegetated swales provides for a rich wildlife habitat. Wading birds such as green heron, waterfowl (e.g. mallards, wood duck, and green winged teal) and many species of warblers have been observed at Dolan Pond Conservation Area. Aquatic areas provide habitat for amphibians and snakes. The 1995 report stated that Dolan Pond was a "very special jewel with the City of Newton's open space system."
Dolan Pond consists of 8 acres of wetlands traversed by paths and footbridges, and is ideal for walking, bird watching, and nature study. Quinn and Dolan Ponds are quite shallow allowing ice-skating in the winter season. The Dolan Pond area is managed by the Newton Conservation Commission, with day to day management by the city environmental planner, Martha Horn at the City Hall Planning Dept. In 1979, the city acquired the privately owned portions with aid of state funds. The area was destined for housing plots as can be seen by the boundaries on the city planning map. There are entrances to area's paths from Auburndale Avenue, Stratford Road, Cumberland Road (North/South), and Webster Park. Many commercial street maps incorrectly show streets running through the area! Parking is available on Webster Park, Cumberland Road. and Stratford Road. Due for completion in May, 2003 is a large improvement project funded by a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). Included in this project are handicapped accessible parking, pathways and boardwalk, wildlife overlooks, information kiosks, steps, and other features.
Dolan Pond Conservation Area contains four ponds. At the western end (closer to Cumberland Road ) is Dolan Pond. The land here was originally a farm owned by Charles Dolan. At the western end (closer to Auburndale Avenue and Stratford Road) is Quinn Pond. This end of the area was formerly owned by Catherine Quinn. Locals sometimes called it "Secret Pond". Banana Pond is the central pond of the area, crossed by a footbridge. It is shaped like a banana and is the deepest of the ponds. Irene's Pond is a small shallow pond to the right when entering the area from the Webster Park loop street.
Over 130 species of birds have been observed at Dolan Pond. These have included such rarities as prothonotary warbler, worm-eating warbler, louisiana waterthrush, long-billed dowitcher, ruffed grouse, and white-eyed vireo). Over 25 different species have nested here. A wood duck nesting program was begun in the fall of 1998 as a Boy Scout project (Troop 355, Newton). Two nestboxes apiece were placed on the shores of Quinn and Dolan Ponds and one near Banana Pond. The boxes have been occupied by wood ducks, flickers, eastern screech owls and squirrels. Wood duck chicks successfully hatched in 2000 and in 2002. A biodiversity survey conducted on June 9-10, 2000 found approximately 120 different plant, animal, and insect varieties.
The area supports one of the largest coyote populations in Newton. Nearby residents are advised to keep cats and small dogs in at night. Muskrats are often seen in the ponds and in addition to the usual squirrels, skunks, and raccoons, fishers (member of the weasel family) have been seen on occasion. As part of the Newton Pride Wildflower Initiative, native wildflowers have been planted including marsh marigold, blue-flag iris, cardinal flower, New England aster, blue vervain, swamp milkweed, monkey flower, jacobs's ladder, and obedient plant. Local citizens, teachers, students, and parents have been involved in wood chipping the paths, wildflower plantings, weed removal, cleanup day, bird/nature walks, nestbox programs, and signage.
For further information, please contact the Friends of Dolan Pond at (617) 969-6222 or by email at DolanPond@aol.com.
Friends of Dolan Pond
Home | Dolan Pond News
Friends of Dolan Pond
24 Henshaw Terrace
West Newton, MA 02465
Copyright © 2001, All Rights Reserved
Visitor Number .