Sunday, July 30, 2006

Boating Safety

Kids, adults who need a refresher!! take the online exam to earn your Boating Certificate.

One of our members pointed out that I shouldn't have left out the obvious boating rules.... boats on the lake at night need lights and tubing and waterskiing is out of the question after dusk until sunrise. Also NO tubing or skiing through the channel.

Common sense helps a lot on the water!

Try the link!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Boating Safety Laws

A few water-related fatalities have hit the news lately so I thought a quick review of some boating basics is in order.

1. Life jackets are required by ALL jet-skiers, ALL water-skiers, ALL tubers, ALL canoer and kayakers from Sept 15 to May 15th, and ALL children younger than 12 years old. No exceptions.

2. Life jackets must be in good condition (no rips or dry rot!), readily accessible if not on you (stowed in the seat is not accessible!), and one for each person onboard. Also check proper size and weight limits.

3. No open containers of alchohol on Manchaug Pond. No drinking is the law.

4. Don't forget a ladder os required for water-skiers, tubers, and swimmers.

5. Registration and numbers for all boats with a motor.

6. Fire extinguisher for those motorboarts over 26 feet with an outboard motor or all inboards.

7. ALL motorboats need an anchor, bailer, and a line. If under 16 feet, a paddle or oar is required.

8. To operate a jet-ski you must be 18 or older. 16 and 17 year olds may complete a Safety Education training and then may operate with this certificate.

9. To operate a motor boat you must be at least 16 years old, or 12 years old with an adult 18 or over on board supervising. Children 12 -15 years old may obtain a Safety Education Certificate to obtain alone

10. Horn or whistle or bell for all boats.

11. Speeds of more than 45 mph are considered excessive. Within 150 feet of a skier, swimmer, marina, or a dock must operate less than 6 mph. Do not operate within 150 feet of a swim beach.

Have a great weekend! Click the title for a link to more info.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Water Level an AMAZING 6 Inches Down From Full!

The report is in... we're only 6" below full! Fuddy calls it "amazing" to remain this constant. He says we were 8" below, but we are up with that last rain and some run-off from the watershed. Of course the gate remains closed with nothing going out except through the crack between the spillway boards. With this heat, we usually get evaporation taking us down, but not yet.

For those of us new to all this, you might ask ... What does Fuddy mean by the term "below full"? Well, Manchaug Pond is considered "full" when the water level is to the top of the spillway boards. If 6" of the board is showing, then we are 6" below full. Simple as that.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Kayak Invasion!

I received a call from Area 5 at 6:30 tonight... "Did you get a picture of that! A kayak invasion of Manchaug Pond!!"

Later down at the shore, this is what I saw coming around the point from Area 5...

...thirty plus kayaks and canoes.

An hour or so later, another group went by. It wasn't an invasion. It was the RI Kayak Association and the Blackstone Valley Paddlers Club who set out on the waters of Manchaug Pond from the state boat ramp for the evening.

Monday, July 24, 2006

MPA Submits s.319 Nonpoint Source Pollution Grant: Manchaug Pond NPS Improvement Project

The Manchaug Pond Nonpoint Source Improvement Project was resubmitted last month in an effort by the MPA to secure state monies to address weed-causing nutrients, bacteria and sediment getting into the lake from the watershed.
Our proposal was one of 16 grant requests received by the State asking for a piece of the $2 million they expect to be available. The MPA is asking for $129,250 - requests this year ranged from $77,768 to $300,000. Last year the requests were lopsided with one heavy hitter asking for $1 million which threw the rest of us out. So providing we get the grant - which we are told looks good! - there is a matching component where the Town of Sutton will provide labor, etc to install a number of storm drains, catch basins, etc and the MPA will provide volunteer hours getting educational information out on animal manure best management practices, septic systems, fertilizers, unpaved roads, and the like to those using the lake and in the watershed.

I'll let you know when we hear!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Board Meeting Last Night

So what were you doing yesterday evening? The MPA Board of Directors held a meeting in Area 5.
Topics on the agenda?
1. the pending sale of the dam
2. forming a watershed district
3. the water level and the broken dam gate
4. the s. 319 Non-point Pollution Grant
5. the annual meeting of the members
6. Sutton's Lake Patrol Program
7. Nomination/election of a new board

A new member came to the board meeting, his Area Representative recommended him as an Area Rep. for Area 4. Elections will be held at the annual meeting.

What to get involved?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Sutton Police Renew Committment to Lake Patrols

Tuesday's Telegram reports the Sutton Police Department is planning to step up their Lake Patrol program on Manchaug, Singletary and Ramshorn Ponds. Two recent lake deaths, one on Quinsig and the other on Stoneville Pond in Auburn, have the police looking to prevent such fatalities on the town's lakes. In recent years, sightings of the police boat have been rare! It was actually the lake associations of the three ponds which years ago asked police to patrol the ponds as the number of boats made the lakes dangerous. The MPA worked with the chief and officers to secure a boat, equipment and funding for officer hours. The MPA also donated $$$$ to get the program started.

Today, the Sutton Police want you follow the boating laws and be ready as they routinely perform safety inspections on the boats they meet. Remember that you need a life jacket (accessable - not stowed away!) for each person, a fire extinguisher and horn, and a ladder if you are swimming, tubing or skiing. Sutton also has an open container bylaw which means no drinking on the lake! They will enforce no matter if you are on the Douglas or Sutton side.

If you see a problem on the lake you wish to report, call the Sutton police at 508-865-4449.

Thanks to an MPA member in Area 5 for the great photo!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Weekend Off.

"There will be no crisis this week... my schedule is full.""

Saw this sign at Yankee Candle, Deerfield, Massachusetts today.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Dam - "What's Going On?!" Update 5

Fuddy, the caretaker of the dam, just called. The dam gate is shut tight with no water going through. We were losing an inch a day, down 8-9". How did they stop the leak you ask? Well, they tried more sandbags and fabric as I reported earlier today (see previous post!) to block the holes but that didn't work. What did? They took a 12 foot pipe and banged in into place over the broken gate which knocked the gate into a closed position. No flow!

Now Fuddy will control with the boards and the dam owner will deal with it in the fall.

Well done!

The Dam - "What's Going On?!" Update 4

Guilford has called in R.H. White and the divers once again! First thing this morning the teams arrived at the dam to work on reducing the flow. I took these photos less than a half hour ago. I didn't want to get too bold and pesty with the camera so there are no close ups. Seems every third person traveling by stops to ask "What's Going On?!" and "Is it repairable?"

A diver is placing more sandbags and a special fabric around the gate - he was up to sixty bags when we got there but then R.H. White pulled in with more sandbags and a new roll of fabric.

He's hoping less water is flowing and so are we!

Thanks to Guilford for keeping on top of this.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

We're Not the Only Ones With Trouble!

I know the waterlevel is going down. Tell your neighbors who don't have internet and read the blog what is going on. I'm working on a newsletter to inform the entire membership. But it looks like we're not the only ones with troubles... yesterday's Telegram reports a lock on the Erie Canal in New York is hung up due to heavy rains which prevented the sloop from the movie "Pirates of the Caribbean II: Dead Man's Chest" from sailing through. Also, I am relieved we don't have a tunnel to share Boston's woes and we have an open container law in Sutton and hopefully residents and lake users with common sense to prevent headlines like Lake Quinsig. Reading the morning paper is not the way to start the day on an upbeat note!

I'll let you know on any development on the dam, but in the meantime we will turn to other topics from the submitted Non-point source pollution grant to daily life on the lake. Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Dam - "What's Going On?!" Update 3

Yesterday our MPA President spoke with Fuddy's boss - Guilford's plant engineer... it is clear the dam remains a priority and serious business with Guilford even though the operation has relocated to North Carolina and in light of this new development with the broken gate. The concern at present is the amount of water flowing out (too much) and the upcoming hurricane season and inability to control the water flow on a daily basis. Without the gate, the water will be controlled buy removing or inserting boards from the spillway. The boards do allow for lowering and raising but just not the daily fine tuning we are used to. Also the gate cannot be fixed until the lake level is drawn down. Divers inspecting the gate and taking measurements last week noted the incredible force of the water in this area making underwater repairs impossible.

I'll keep you posted!

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Dam - "What's Going On?!" Update 2

Fuddy, Guilford's caretaker, called last night to report the sandbags at the dam gate held us at 5" under full over the weekend.( FYI: Whitins Reservoir, the other dam Fuddy watches, lost 1" through evaporation.) After today's reading, if there is a loss of water, Guilford may decided to put additional sandbags to stop the flow further. Fuddy will keep us posted.

Stay tuned!

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Dam - "What's Going On?!" Update

Well, Guilford and R.H. White have been at the dam all day! We checked in with them a little after 7 a.m., a few times during the day and again before 4 p.m. when divers were again coming out of the water.

The news isn't good. Seems there was debris near the gate but that is not what caused the damage - the shaft of the gate is broken. Old age. Can't just order parts for something like that. They have to be made. Guilford has 200 sandbags positioned to reduce the flow of water out of the lake. Fuddy will do his best to keep the water at this level - using the boards to lower in case of heavy rain/flood conditions.
Repairs will be made in the fall when the water level is taken down.

The Dam - "What's Going On?!"

Guilford has called in the professionals to dive down to get a view of the gate as something (a branch?) is preventing the dam gate from closing.

We are 4 inches down from full.

Stay tuned!

By the way... if you have questions or opinions about the water level PLEASE DO NOT call Guilford in Douglas or in Maine. It really does NOT get you anywhere.

Also you should know that while you're calling for Guilford to close the gate, someone else is complaining the water is too high! It doesn't make us look good as a group. Guilford has a mandate from DEP to maintain a flow for the sewerage treatment plants in Douglas and they have their rule curve they have been following for years.

Ask Fuddy or your MPA Area Rep. or Officer or check here for more info.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Water Level 3 Inches Down From Full

Our dam caretaker reports trouble closing the dam, so a little more water than he would like has been going out the gate. He suspects debris from a previous storm is preventing them from closing the gate so divers are being called in to check it out.

Sunday, July 02, 2006


Millbury, Auburn and Northbridge Sunday night; Worcester Monday night and Manchaug Pond EVERY night!

Sorry my camera didn't capture the beauty! Anyone have better - send them in!


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