Kriston Anderson at Honk!Save the Alewife marchers line up with dead-fish displays; at center in sunglasses is Arlington resident Kristin Anderson. / Marjorie Howard photo

An estimated 45 supporters of Save the Alewife Brook played their dead fish for all they were worth recently.

No sounds issued from these "instruments," but band members more than made up for that with shouts and songs and chants.

The fish were fake, but the issue is real.

The Arlington-based group, led by Kristin Anderson, joined The Honk! Festival of Activist Street Bands on Oct. 7 and 8. On Sunday, they marched from Davis Square, Somerville, to Harvard Square, Cambridge.

"We brought 30 ghost fish and ran out," Anderson wrote in an email to YourArlington. She was referring to the cardboard representations that marchers carried -- large, dead Alewives, intended to suggest that these fish had succumbed to the lethal brew of sewage recently accidentally added to the Alewife Brook from neighboring Cambridge and Somerville.

"That was OK, because Puppeteers Cooperative brought puppets for our people to carry, including those adorable sea horses."

She noted that her friend Sonia played in a brass band from Somerville that marched at the beginning of the parade, so she was in Harvard Square to watch all the groups from the parade march in.

"She excitedly grabbed me when we got there and said that we had the largest group in the parade," Anderson wrote. "That's pretty good. This was our second year in the parade. We keep learning how to do it and will be better next year. So long as there's good weather, we'll knock it out of the park."

Save the Alewife Brook is a local environmental organization started in 2021, Anderson wrote. Its main concerns are with Alewife Brook water quality and the adverse effects of its sporadic flooding. Combined sewer overflows are the group's major focus, and it aims to make an impact on the new Alewife Brook CSO long-term control plan. "We are demanding a necessary investment in the Alewife Brook for a more environmentally healthy river." 

July 1 2022: Save the Alewife Brook seeks funds to improve waterway

This news summary was published Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023, based on information from Kristin Anderson and Marjorie Howard, both of Arlington.

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