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March 19,

First winter without Spy Pond hard freeze marks the end of an era and identity for the town.

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This marker is located at Spy Pond in Arlington, Massachusetts.


Rising global temperatures caused by greenhouse gas emissions are resulting in warmer winters. This global warming affects areas as large as the polar ice caps and as small as our local water bodies. According to the Arlington Conservation Commission’s 2020 Water Bodies Assessment and Recommendation Report, due to the mild winter in 2020, at Spy Pond “there was no skating or ice fishing for the first time in memory.”


Spy Pond was formed by melting glaciers many thousands of years ago. When it froze, it was used to supply ice for Boston and for shipping to different parts of the world. Ice harvesting from frozen lakes and ponds was an important tradition in the 19th century; skating and ice fishing remain popular today. While few towns in the US continue the industry of harvesting ice, rising temperatures could bring an end to it altogether. As each decade passes, the temperature rises by around 1.3°F (0.7°C). The increase in temperature is also exhausting the pond's oxygen, allowing bacteria and algae to grow.




Resilient MA, Climate Change Clearinghouse for the Commonwealth, Rising Temperatures


Three Rivers Park District, ice harvesting


Farmers’ Almanac, Do Cold Winters Kill Bugs?


ClimeFish, Climate change and impacts on lakes and ponds


An Aquatic History of Spy Pond, 2/9/2021 – Town of Arlington, Spy Pond Committee


2020 Annual Water Bodies Report, Arlington Conservation Commission/Water Bodies Working Group

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