Saturday, October 28, 2006

3 1/2 inches of rain so far!

Well, the little rain gauge was reading 3 1/2 inches this evening. I'm sure a call to Fuddy tomorrow will tell us want that means for the lake as far as runoff from the watershed and how much it will bring the water up.

I can tell you that this culvert that the town fixed a couple weeks ago had a full flow of storm water going into the lake this afternoon! Definitely something that needs to be addressed at a latter date by another nonpoint source pollution grant like we were just awarded. They would probably recommend the installation of a catch basin or something across the street!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

What Does that Have to Do With the Lake?

You might take a look at the photo and say, "What does that have to do with the lake and the MPA?"

... well nothing, but... my husband took us for a little ride to Vermont on Saturday and there at the visitors' center just before Brattleboro this metal moose and the sign "Guilford" took me back home and to our own "Guilford of Maine"!

Friday, October 20, 2006

A New Perspective!

What weather we had a dinner time! And continue to have! Is the lake going to fill up in one night?!! This photo was taken, not through a window as it appears, but with the camera out in the rain! The lake is in the center through the trees with my neighbors garage to the left. Did it come down!

Not 10 minutes later the wind died down and the sun popped out between the clouds all the while still raining! And of course, I said to my daughter, "Where there's rain and sun, there's a rainbow! Lets get down to the lake." We grabbed the camera and ran down the lake (remember we're one of those with water rights!) This is what we saw...

It is always amazing to me that you can be looking at things one way, say this dark, ominous looking sky and if you would only turned in the other direction - do a 180 degree turn, just look behind you as we did - you would have a totally different scene. Sure enough, when we turned around there was the rainbow in the middle of the storm! as we stood on that dry, rocky shore, a beautiful blue sky with not one but two rainbows!

A totally different perspective!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Gate Repairs Completed!

THE JOB IS DONE! The old gate is history. The new low level outlet gate is in place. The new gate is holding back water. The rubbish screen is in place. The sandbags are gone with a few to the side. The crews have gone home. The pond is on the refill.

Now if you visit the dam you will notice there is a flow down to Steven's Pond out of Manchaug. Yes, the gate is closed tight! BUT the state has required that this minimium flow be maintained "to support aquatic life downstream" thus the gate was made 3/8 of an inch smaller than the previous one. There will always be a flow in the closed position.

Our MPA President was at the dam this afternoon getting more pictures and talking with the crews. So believe it, this is the final report, the gate has be replaced!

If you see crews there off and on this fall, don't worry as they will be doing some "cosmetic" type work, replacing a bracket here and there, etc. Nothing major.

So I guess now we pray for rain and snow cover! And three cheers for a job well done and a high water summer season and a hardy thanks to the dam owner!!!

Dam Gate Repairs Near Complete!

The MPA President was at the dam all day yesterday watching the whole process and learning more about the gates, their operation and the structure of the dam. He tells us the gate is still under water and he took alot of close up pictures which will be shared with blog readers tomorrow. He said as the state dam safety reports state, the dam is structurally sound and is made up of great granite blocks. He also took pictures of the Sutton Highway Department working on the header of a nearby culvert under a nearby road which needed repair.

The President met off site today with the crew from R.H. White about today's work. The crane today (see photo) is larger as it is being used to lift 1600 pound sandbags into place to block the flow so the divers can get the old gate out. Two series of sandbags are planned to block the flow to expose the gate and so the least amount of water is taken out of the lake. The dam owner's hydraulic engineer from Maine continues to be on site. Yesterday a temporary wood frame was put in to guide and hold the new steel gate in position ready too replace the old wood gate. The gate is 2 feet by 2 feet. If things continue to proceed as planned, repairs could be completed ahead of schedule and as early as this afternoon or tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Repairs Begin Today on Dam

Here's a photo taken at 8:45 this morning with a full crew on board from the crane to the plant manager to the work crews to the engineers.

The day was wrapping up at 4:30 p.m.

There is water coming out of the dam this evening but Fuddy's friend "Mother Nature" is already working to bring the lake back up to normal!

Monday, October 16, 2006

More on Tomorrow's Dam Repairs and the Mill

Just had our Area Representative from Area 5 call in saying he spoke with the R.H. White truck at the dam this afternoon... a crane is coming in tomorrow to lift the new gate into place in front of the broken gate so that the switch can be done with little water loss from the pond. Also safety will be the word of the day as the Sutton Rescue will be parked at the site with the workers using harnesses and other safety equipment and precautions.

I should mention the previous posting was prompted by our Treasurer who reported the gate was closed tight even though it is broken and was wide open. This put me on the phone to the caretaker. (Read the previous post for his update!) Fuddy also reports news on the mill in Douglas - crews from Canada are currently taking out machinery. Fuddy personally hopes the mill will be sold to a manufacturing company and not for condos. Both our President and an Area Rep. from Area 4 reported hearing rumors out there of a bid being made for the mill and the three dams but this has not been confirmed so we'll wait for the facts and the details. Our President did make a few calls to confirm... more as we get information.

Tomorrow, the MPA's two main photographers are scheduled elsewhere so if anyone is at the dam with a digital camera, email us a few pictures!! Oh, and try to stay out of the way and not make a pest of yourself :)) But get the pictures!!

This is it! The Gate is Closed!

This morning our dam owner closed the dam gate. As you know, having received the certified letter and also in an MPA mailing, that they had anticipated the water level would "reach its lowest point on or about October 15th" Fuddy reports the water level in the lake has been going down at a rate of about 4 inches a day for a while. He has been taking readings at 7:00 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day. Today, the gate closed easily - he "could have closed it with one finger" - as the pressure from the force of the lake is no longer there! Tomorrow the repair crew will begin working. Once repairs are complete, the refill will begin. Fuddy is hoping for good snow cover this winter so the snow melts from the watershed fill us up quickly. Manchaug Pond is NOT fed by streams but by rain, runoff from the surrounding watershed, water flowing from Aldrich Pond and beyond in the watershed to the pond at Singletary Rod and Gun Club.

I'll get photos of the dam later today and post them for you! Did you know the property owners from around the lake come from 30 different cities in 7 states! The internet and the MPA Blog sure gives you a bird's eye view! Those who live year-round on the lake and have a digital camera, send me some photos from your area!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

A Photo from Days of Higher Water

Here's a photo of Manchaug Pond taken by a reader/member. I am not sure when it was taken but it is a beauty!

A member of the Sutton Conservation Commission paid a visit to Manchaug Pond today! Quite surprised at the shallowness of the pond! She thought it was a much deeper lake in the over 20 foot area. I informed her that the state Public Access Board has it listed at 13 feet.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Water Level Almost There

Thanks to the staff of the Douglas State Forest for repainting the channel markers this past winter.

The rocky shore makes for few weeds. If possible... if you see some small weedy patches between the rocks, place some rocks over the area.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The MPA in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle

The Millbury-Sutton Chronicle reported in their October 5th issue the MPA coming before the Sutton Board of Selectman's September 26th meeting to ask for their support of a Manchaug Pond District. It is a very lengthy article which highlights concerns and questions of the selectman. The article does get quite a few things wrong starting from the MPA President's name to the fact that the MPA did present the Board with 129 signatures representing 75% of the property owners and those with deeded water rights around Manchaug Pond who support the initiative. The report also fails to capture the intent of the people around Manchaug Pond and why we want a municipal district: to give property owners around the lake a voice! To empower each of us so we can take care of our lake and maintain the water level and secure state and federal $$ to be spent on Manchaug Pond for what we feel is important. The Town told us they don't want our dam or the waterrights and don't have the $$ to maintain it! The state wants to breech every dam it can and has also stated they won't help. The Corp of Engineers doesn't want it. Well guess what... we want it! We love our lake - it is a beautiful resource, a beautiful place to be. The district is NOT about regulating boat motors and trampolines, raising taxes, or taking people's property or about Singletary Lake as the article states. It is about us taking control and deciding what we want for Manchaug Pond.

The attorney, Walter Jabs told us the people at Burncoat paid between $35 and $50 toward their district the first year! Our association's dues are more than that! A pair of sneakers is more that that! Isn't it worth each of us having control of the water in front of our home?!

The Manchaug Pond District is the only way to go. For our lake, our homes and our pocketbooks!

Foggy Sunday morning taken by MPA 1st VP from Area 2 on October 8th.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Certified Letter

A few of my neighbors asked me what the certified letter was about. Given they didn't pick it up at the post office and the fact that our membership includes not only the property owners of Douglas and Sutton around the lake and those of us with deeded water rights but also long time renters and a few campers, I put a copy of the letter in the mail with the newsletter. Forgive me on the newsletter too, it is late as usual.. succumbing to a number of technical difficulties as we tried something new with the transfer from computer to the printer's copier. Anyway it is out and those who are not online may appreciate the printed communication.

Hope you enjoy the photo. This was taken Monday evening on the wall at the channel. Its of a fisherman from the boat ramp who caught a nice bass my daughter spotted swimming in the channel.

Monday, October 09, 2006

A Close Look at the Dam Gate and Spillway

The following photos were sent in by the MPA President and his daughter:
The gate...

The spillway...

How's that for a close-up!
You should also know that the MPA has secured the records on the dam from the State Office of Dam Safety for the past 20 or so years. These include reports on all inspections, maintenance, repairs and emergency plans.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The State Boat Ramp

Manchaug Pond has a special designation by the state as a "Great Pond". Not all lakes have this designation and what makes our pond special is that the public has access to its waters therefore preventing the dam from being breached. (The state is currently of the opinion that breaching old dams, which were needed in the past by many mills in the area, is a good alternative both for the environment and instead of costly repairs and maintenance.) The boat ramp gives the public access to the Pond. Our ramp is state property which for many years was managed by the state through the Public Access Board and the staff of the Douglas State Forest.

Many years ago, the MPA membership petitioned the Town of Sutton to provide more involvement/patroling of the ramp specifically preventing parking on Torrey, Parker and Irma Jones Roads when the boat ramp is full, providing a port-o-let for boaters who spend the day at Blueberry Island, and keeping the boat ramp off limits in the wee hours of the night. Sutton agreed to manage and still does with a gatekeeper who monitors usage on weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Cemetery Commission who mows, and has the port-o-let brought in for users. The Board of Selectman's secretary also registers/monitors the bass fishing clubs which use the lake for tournaments.

The MPA years ago assisted the town with the take over by presenting a feasibility study, pointing out that a fee could be charged to regain the $$ spent for the gatekeeper and port-o-let. The MPA President at the time also secure from the state the gate and a boat for the police department and the MPA donated $$ to equipted the boat with the necessary safety equiptment.

Today's Flow as Viewed from the Dam

A look at the flow from the spillway (dry!), the broken gate (white water) and on to Steven's pond!

Manchaug Pond on Douglas Town Agenda Tuesday Night

Tuesday night the MPA took its request for support on the formation of a municipal watershed district to the Douglas Board of Selectman.
Douglas was already aware of our efforts as well as the grant $$$ we secured recently. State rep. Kujawski had sent them a letter and Chair Shirley Moscynski extend congratulations on our achievement. On the district idea, the board was supportive but looking for more information as to the town's involvement. The MPA gave the petitions signed to date by 85% of the Douglas property owners and those with water rights from Manchaug Pond demonstrating the tremendous support for the Watershed District. We will be meeting with both Douglas and Sutton again with the clerk of Cedar Meadows and providing info other contact info.
If you didn't sign the petition to state your sopport, contact your area rep.


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