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River Named for MOSES Member

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The U.S. Board of Geographic Names has labeled a brook on the Harvard Forest property in Petersham, Mass., as ‘Arthur Brook’ in honor of former MOSES member and environmental champion, Arthur John Screpetis (1950-2009). The brook is a 1.1 mile tributary to the larger Bigelow Brook.

Fellow coworker and MOSES member Warren Kimball, retired, submitted the petition to name the brook after Arthur.

Screpetis, a 37-year employee of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and a MOSES member, began his career with the Commonwealth working for the Division of Water Pollution Control. In 1974 he was one of the primary authors of operational protocols for water quality monitoring in lakes. He participated in the research and development of, and the funding for, numerous cooperative projects with State and Federal agencies, including the Massachusetts Stream Classification Project. His work on the development and implementation of the Mass. Watershed Initiative and the Mass. Estuaries Program was especially impactful.

Throughout his career, Screpetis received numerous recognitions for his “outstanding service,” including the prestigious Manuel Carballo Award for Excellence, primarily due to his work on the Watershed Initiative. According to Joe Dorant, MOSES president, “Arthur is remembered for his many years of dedicated service to both DEP and the many rivers, streams and wetlands that his work saved. The work he completed on the development of the state stream and lake inventories is still in use today. Just as important as Art’s devotion to his work for the Commonwealth was his interests as a naturalist and wildlife biologist.”

Mr. Screpetis belonged to many associations and organizations, including MOSES, The Wildlife Society, the American Society of Mammalogists, the Association of Field Ornithologists, the Eastern Bird Banding Association, the American Ornithologists Union, the New England Botanical Club, the Society of Wetland Scientists, and the Northeastern Naturalist-Humboldt Field Research Institute, to name a few.

A native of Lowell, Mass., Art was an experienced astronomer, avid runner, professional nature photographer and baseball enthusiast. Pictured below is Arthur (right) and fellow MassDEP “Water Wrats” (and MOSES members) Dave Howland (left) and Warren Kimball (center).

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Joe Knows MOSES

Utility Relocation Policy Earns MassDOT National Excellence Award

MOSES members instrumental in development of the incentive-based reimbursement policy.

The system of streets and roads serving the U.S. is over 4.2 million miles long and occupies about one percent of the country’s total land mass. Massachusetts roadways account for over 35,000 of these miles. The most obvious users of this intricate network are cars and trucks; less noticeable are the utility lines, often located to the side of the pavement or underground. 

If a road is widened to allow for increased traffic, or a city street is rerouted for building construction, utility lines may have to be moved. Aside from the obvious expense, movement of these lines can be time consuming, causing significant traffic and construction delays.

The Federal Highway Administration’s Excellence Award recently recognized MassDOT engineers for their establishment of an incentive-based reimbursement policy for utility relocations. Under the policy, MassDOT will reimburse 50% of the actual costs incurred for necessary utility relocation only if the utility owner completes the work within the duration schedule set by all participants. This procedure ties utility relocations to the construction contractor’s schedule, strongly incentivizing coordination between all parties. 

MOSES members, including Guy Rezendes and Mike Hartnett, both with MassDOT, were instrumental in the development of the nationally acclaimed Utility Incentive-Based Reimbursement Policy. Rezendes, MassDOT state utilities engineer in the Boston headquarters and Hartnett, District 3 construction engineer, assisted in the development of the DUCE (District Utility/Constructability Engineer) position to help speed along MassDOT projects, often held up by utility relocations. The engineers observed that utility relocation can be a major contributor to project delays. The DUCE team, in turn, developed a new process for how MassDOT interacts with the utility companies, saving everyone, particularly the residents of Massachusetts, considerable time and money.

Prior to the establishment of the DUCE position and process, the MassDOT  state utility engineer would distribute plans to the utilities, but that was as far as it went. There was little coordination between the parties and no real incentive to finish the job on time. Now, with Utility Incentive-Based Reimbursement Policy in place, MassDOT engineers meet with the utility engineers at the 25% mark in the design process, plan out the relocations, involve all designers in the process, incorporate the utility relocations in new designs, develop a project schedule that includes the utility relocations and ensure that the utilities stay on schedule for their relocations so they meet the requirements for reimbursement. There are many other pieces of the puzzle that are included, from acquisition of easements for utilities to completion of agreements that limit the duration of a relocation and minimize the overall impact to utilities. It is this early coordination of numerous directives by the DUCE engineers that helps to make this a successful program.

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  • MOSES members making a difference around the world. Each year, MOSES scientists and engineers donate their time to Engineers without Borders. Here is just a small sampling of the good and important work they do.

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