Monday, September 24, 2007

Press Release Announces Grant Award

The following press release and two photos taken by the MPA 1st Vice President is starting to be picked up by local newspapers. The September 20th issue of the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle published the grant announcement with the view of Manchaug Pond from Waters Farm photo. The press release was written largely by the environmental engineer at CEI and edited by the MPA President, 1st Vice President/Grant Coordinator and Corresponding Secretary and reviewed by the MPA Board of Directors...


Contact: David Schmidt, President Manchaug Pond Association (508) 476-7804
Eileen Pannetier, President Comprehensive Environmental Inc. 603-424-8444 x301

Local Watershed Group Awarded $130,000 State Grant for Pond Improvements

Douglas/Sutton, MA – September 15, 2007 – Over 40 years ago, 35 families with a common interest to protect a pond banned together to form the Manchaug Pond Association (MPA). Forty years later, the group now boasts a membership of over 100 member families along with several businesses and a nonprofit group. With an 18 member volunteer Board of Directors, the group celebrates their 40th anniversary with energy, optimism and an impressive grant awarded to them by the MA Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).

A picturesque area, the 360acre Manchaug Pond lies within Douglas and Sutton and has been slowly degrading over the past few decades. Likely a result of increased development pressures and various nonpoint source pollution inputs, residents have seen a rise in algal blooms and invasive aquatic plants and a decrease in water quality. The MPA lead by Mr. David Schmidt, President and Ms. Marty Jo Henry Vice-President, worked with Comprehensive Environmental, Inc. (CEI), a Milford based engineering and science firm to develop conceptual designs and a successful grant application for funds to help improve the water quality of the pond.

The MassDEP s.319 Nonpoint Source Pollution Grant will provide the MPA with almost $130,000 in funds to be spent on stormwater improvements utilizing Low Impact Development (LID) techniques within the watershed and citizen education on issues such as septic system maintenance and other residential LID techniques such as landscaping with buffer zones and rain gardens to limit runoff of fertilizer nutrients and animal wastes. The grant also includes storm drain management improvements that will be implemented by the towns. The group will provide a 40% grant match with volunteer hours as well as in-kind staff hours to be provided by the Towns of Sutton and Douglas. CEI is currently developing engineering designs for construction with work expected to begin this summer for completion sometime in 2008.

The MPA is a non-profit organization made up of volunteer property owners within the Manchaug Pond Watershed whose mission is “to promote the welfare and correct use of Manchaug Pond and the contiguous area.” Online at

CEI is a local employee-owned civil and environmental engineering and science firm serving the New England area with a focus on comprehensive stormwater, wastewater, water supply engineering, planning and design. Online at

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Directions to Singing Dam

Shi Chian has left a new comment on your post "Dams in the News: A Sutton Dam No One Wants!":


Would you happen to have directions to get to the singing dam from Worcester, MA? Or if you have the address of the approximate location of this dam? Thank you.

Hello Shi Chian! Thanks for visiting! Singing dam is located in the village of Wilkinsonville in the Town of Sutton. The straightest route from Worcester would be to take Rte. 146 south. At the intersection at Boston Road (Tony's Pizza is on the right!), take a left onto Boston Road and follow to the stop sign. Take a left on to Rte 122A heading toward Millbury. On 122A after you go under a railroad bridge, take a right on to Blackstone Street and Singing Dam and the future park and canoe launch to the Blackstone River is just up the street! Enjoy and glad to be off service!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Microburst Hits Manchaug Pond

A microburst hit Manchaug Pond early Sunday morning leaving a wake of destruction. Hitting at 3:30 a.m., the eight minute storm brought high wind, heavy rain, thunder, lightening and hail. Residents in areas 2, 3 and 4 were hard especially hit, waking up to lawns and driveways littered with branches and leaves, ripped off roof shingles and ridge vents, upturned and broken lawn furniture, overturned and sunken small boats and jetskis, a few twisted or submerged docks not to mention over a dozen large trees uprooted and laying on scenic Manchaug Road and Torrey Road.

This severe, quick hitting storm - Force 10 at least on the Beaufort (wind speed) Scale - had to have had wind speeds of at least 60 miles/hour to cause this damage.

The sound of chain saws and leaf blowers continues to fill the air!

More info on Microbursts:

To check out the Beaufort Scale (wind speed):

A site on weather for the kids:

Friday, September 07, 2007

New Links for Boating Laws and Online Course

A weekend in early August, the Environmental Police boat hit the waters of Manchaug Pond for a little "educating!"

Recently we received the following comment and update from Kathy at

"Thank you for providing links on your blog to the official Massachusetts boating safety handbook and online course. Could the Corresponding Secretary please update the links so that they land on the appropriate pages?

Boat Massachusetts Boating Laws Handbook:

Boat Massachusetts Online Course:

Many thanks, and safe boating!"

Don't wait until the police boat is talking to you to find out it is against the law to pull a skier or tube behind a jetski! Get the facts and know the law before you hop on!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Sutton Public Hearing on DOCK REGS - Last Night!

Sorry to report this after the fact but I didn't know about the Hearing
until it was too late! I guess I need to subscribe to the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle to get the Public Hearing announcements.

The Sutton Conservation Commission held a public hearing last night as part
of their agenda to accept comments on new, more stringent changes they
are proposing to current state dock regulations. The hearing began at
8:00 p.m. with 45 people attending in the room and more flowing into the hall.
Discussion was lively and pointed with those speaking identifying themselves
from Lake Singletary. The outcome seemed to be that the Conservation Commission wants people to voluntarily come to them - they do not want to be strict enforcers. It was decided that the public hearing was continued to November 7th with time to be posted in the Town Hall, and an October 10th workshop of a small group (not identified at this time) would be held to discuss this informally was scheduled to work on the language. The next Conservation Commission would discuss proposed regulations on
trees,abutter notification and fertilizer use.

Co-chairman Mark Briggs carried the hearing with the following changes presented as a handout:

"Sutton Conservation Commission Policy on New Docks

Docks must be located 25 feet from property lines or for properties less than 50 feet wide in a central location.

Docks may be no further than 30 feet into the water measured from the high water mark.

Docks may be no larger than 300 sq. feet.

All applications must be accompanied by a complete plan to scale.

Permits for Docks:
For a new Temporary or removable dock:

Applicant must file a Request for Determination with the Conservation
Commission even if there is no bank disturbance or a Notice of Intent
if the bank area is disturbed. A permit is not required to remove
Temporary Docks in and out of the water.
For a Permanent Dock or Permanent Bank Alteration:

Applicant must file with the Conservation Commission and must file a
Chapter 91 Waterways License Application with the State. Permanent
structures are subject to MGL Ch. 131 Section 40. Bank disturbance may not exceed the lesser of 5 % of frontage or 25 feet.

All docks must have permanent reflectors on each corner.

A Chapter 91 Waterways license is required for all anchored in-water, off shore floating, swimming docks or pontoon structures.

There may not be more than one dock per parcel.

This policy shall not serve to diminish the requirements of MGL or 310 CMR
9.00 but may be applied more stringently as reserved herein. the
Commission may grant certain variance(s) with cause or hardship to this
Regulation. This policy shall not apply to existing or an/or licensed
docks before October 1, 2007. For any substantial repair with major
alteration. A Request for Determination or Notice of Intent shall be
filed with the Commission.

For further information, contact Mark Briggs at 508-865-8728, leave message.

At the next meeting of the Commission, they will propose the following changes to regulations as described in their handout:
Cutting---All trees 5 inches or greater which are felled or are or to
be cut in any jurisdictional area be replaced in kind with planting(s)
of 2 1/2 inch stock or greater.

Abutter Notification---All Applicants must notify any/all abutters within 300 feet of Any property corner or line when filling any application required under MGL.

application of fertilizer on any lawn, landscaping, garden, orchard,
Filed or within 100 feet of any resource area or 200 feet any body of
water be 15-0-5 zero phosphate, slow release.

The MPA Board of Directors will review and keep you posted! The MPA
has presented the dock regulations to the membership in the past and
had full discussion/education at past Annual Meetings and in the

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Douglas Selectman SUPPORT Creation of District!!

YES! 5-0! Unanimous! It was like winning the World Series!
Manchaug Pond Nation!
A year and a half of research, meetings, setbacks, more meetings, more facts, more meetings and finally the vote...

Last night the Town of Douglas Board of Selectman voted unanimously to support "the creation of a watershed district for Manchaug Pond!"

The MPA was allowed to present all our information: the numbers, the support, the reasons and benefits, existing precedents of existing districts preserving "Great Ponds", and our intent and direction. A good number of people from around the pond - Douglas and Sutton alike - were allowed to speak from the heart about their love of the lake and desire to protect this "gem" of a resource.

Douglas Selectman would like us to continue our work with Sutton before the exact language of the Act is reviewed. As the District Clerk of Cedar Meadows Lake Watershed District advised us early on: "Educate, educate, educate!"

Our work continues....
This is the link to view the Selectman's meeting on your home computer... See for
yourself! Watch the August 21st meeting and wait for the posting of last night's Sept. 4th meeting. They did have video problems and the Selectman who is also vice-chair of the cable committee had to improvise. But it is all worth listening to!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Tuesday, Sept 4th, DouglasTown Hall 7:00 p.m

ONE MORE MEETING - See you there!

Tomorrow night, Tuesday, September 4th at 7:00 p.m. the MPA will go before the Board of Selectman in Douglas asking for their support of our effort to form a watershed district for Manchaug Pond.

The Douglas Board recently voted to support the formation of a watershed district for Whitin Reservoir and now is considering the same legislation for Manchaug Pond.

We expected a ruling at their last meeting but.... the vote was delayed until tomorrow night to review what a Sutton resident handed to the Board in opposition. (Check out the August 22nd post.) Also of concern to all is that the Sutton Board of Selectman did not want to participate in the District and would not even consider the new changes made at the request of Douglas legal counsel to limit eminent domain powers and secure a voting seat for the Town. Douglas Selectman voiced concern as to how the district would function without Sutton's participation seeing a need for two willing participants with lake property owners.

While the relocation of the Guilford mill and the pending sale of the dam are definitely what got us doing our homework, the dam and waterlevel by far are NOT the only reason a district is right and good for the future of Manchaug Pond. There are Great Ponds protected by watershed districts; there are districts for lakes in two towns; there are districts protecting more than one pond; there are districts protecting Great Ponds smaller than ours and larger; districts who focus on water quality, weed control, waterlevel, protecting habitats and watershed... and all in Massachusetts. We propose nothing new, nothing that hasn't been done before - only a tried and true method of protecting a beautiful water resource. A method recommended to us by the Congress of Lake and Ponds Associations.


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