Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Saturday's Clean-up

Last Saturday provided a beautiful sunshine-filled morning for the MPA spring clean-up. Volunteers met at the state boat ramp on Torrey Road to share some conversation over coffee and donut before heading out.

Hitting the streets and shoreline, the usual bottles, fast food cups and food wrappers were found as well as some unique items: a small safe, a rug and a catch of old garden ornaments.

The broken garden statues were found over the side of the road which bordered a wetland area with skunk cabbages and water running toward Steven's Pond. These delicate little wood anenome (Anemone quinquefolia) were found growing around the rubbish down the bank in the transitional area between the road and the wetlands.

The haul was less than our fall clean-up as Manchaug Pond sees far more visitors over the spring and summer than in the winter. Click the title to link back to see photos of the fall. It also gives us an opportunity to survey the watershed and remove rubbish which are sources of pollution. Oil cans found in the area between the dam and Steven's Pond are a prime example.

After the work was done, volunteers gathered round to discuss a little composting and view a new product purchased by a lake resident to start a worm farm.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Subject: Manchaug and Whitin Reservoir WaterLevels and Acts of Vandalism at Manchaug

Thursday night's sunset shows the beauty of Manchaug Pond.

Concerning our lower than usual waterlevel on Manchaug Pond...The following is a letter dated April 23, 2008 which our MPA President received on Friday on your behalf from the Mumford River Reservoir Company and The Manchaug Reservoir Corporation the dam owner and operator:

Subject: Manchaug and Whitin Reservoir WaterLevels and Acts of Vandalism at Manchaug

Dear Mr. Schmidt:

The purpose of this letter is to update our neighbors on changes relating to water level management at Manchaug Pond and Whitin Reservoirs this spring as well as recent acts of vandalism at the manchaug Dam.

Hydro Projects North, has owned the controlling interests in the reservoir corporations which operate the dams on Manchaug Pond and Whitin Reservoirs for over twenty years. During this time, the reservoir corporations have strive to balance recreational interests, aquatic needs, and minimum water
flow needs. However, the number one priority has been, and continues to
be, the safe operation of the dams in compliance with applicable laws,
rules and regulations.

Our neighbors, who live around and enjoy the two ponds, have likely noticed that the water levels are not as high as they have been typically in the past at this time of year. This is because both dames are presentlybeign operated a lower level upon
the recommendations of the professional engineering firm that recently
completed the annual inspections of the two dams. These recommendations
were driven not by any change in condition of the dams, but rather by
guidance from the Massachusetts Office of Dam Safety that took effect
for the dams this year, requiring safe operation of the dams to
accommodate possible high rainfall events. It is very important to note
that this does not mean the dams are unsafe or are any less safe than
they have been in the past. We are told the guidance and compliance
requirements reflect the Office of Dam Safety's latest thinking on dam

Given that our number one priority is safe operation of
the dams in accordance with applicable law, we have conformed to the
recommendations of the engineers. We also have requested a meeting with
the Office of Dam Safety to discuss the inspection results and our
engineer's recommendations, and in that meeting we hope to determine if
a safe alternate course of action is available to us. This meeting is
tentatively scheduled for Monday, May 5.

We also feel it is very important to make all of our neighbors aware of recent vandalism at the Manchaug dam. On two occasions within the last month, unauthorized person(s) entered the fenced and locked area on the Manchaug
Dam, cut off the locks, and forced shut the low level outlet gate for
the Dam, presumably in an attempt to raise the water level in the Manchaug
Pond Reservoir to the prior year's springtime water level. This
trespass and vandalism is a violation of the law, and as such we have
filed reports with the Town of Sutton Police Department and the Office
of Dam Safety. These acts of vandalism jeopardize the safe operation of
the dam. We feel that it is important to emphasize that these acts will
not achieve their presumed objective or raising the overall reservoir
water levels and will potentially interfere with the recreational use
of Manchaug Pond for the following reasons:

* Closing the low level outlet gate will not raise the water level in Manchaug Pond beyond its current levels. At the times of both acts of trespass, the water level in the Pond was at or just above the spillway elevation, thus closing the outlet gate only increased the water flowing over the spillway. The water level may only be raised above the spillway height by installation of flashboards. Following our engineer's recommendation, the flashboards have not and will not be installed until safe operation of the dams has been discussed with the Office of Dam Safety. Thus, the trespasser(s) risked damaging the outlet gate, jeopardized safe operation of the dam and ultimately had no impact on the overall water levels.

* If the outlet gate is damaged due to unauthorized operation, it would likely be very costly to repair and require the water levels to be immediately lowered significantly below what they are now in accordance with ODS procedures.

* Lastly, untrained operation of the dam is very unsafe. Any untrained persons who take it upon themselves to trespass and operate the dam risk bodily injury or death, due to hydraulic forces present in the dam.

If you have any questions about the water levels or the operation of the dams, we kindly ask that you direct any inquiries to our local attorney... Mr. Cooper has established lines of communication with the Presidents of both Reservoir Associations and we urge you to wrk through those organiations, as that will result in the fastest and most efficient attention to your concerns.

If you have any information regarding the trespass and vandalism of the Manchuag Dam, please call the Town of Sutton Police Department at (508) 865-4449.

We take great pride in our stewardship of the dams and the reservoirs over the past twenty years as well as our partnership with the towns of Douglas and Sutton. While we recognize that lower water levels may be a cause of concern for some, please remember that safe operation of the dams in compliance with applicable law is the ultimate priority.

We sincerely appreciate the productive and cooperative relationship we have had with our many neighbors, and we would like to thank everyone in advance for the understanding and cooperation as we determine the safest course of action that yields optimal results for all.

Wendy Porter for the Mumford River Reservoir Company and the Manchaug Reservoir Corporation

Monday, April 21, 2008

Elevation, Latitude and Longitude

Are you into numbers?

Check out the numbers for Manchaug Pond!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Spring Clean up 2008 - Sat. April 26th

Mark that calendar! Our 1st Vice President has scheduled a Spring Cleanup of the Manchaug Pond Watershed for Saturday March 26th from 9 am to noon.

Tell a Friend!

A great Community Service project!

Date & Time: Saturday, April 26, 2008
9:00 AM-12:00 PM

Suggested Audiences: Elders, Adult, College, High School, Middle School, Elementary

Location: Public Access Boat Ramp, Manchaug Pond
20 Torrey Road
Sutton, MA 01590

Cost: Free

Sponsored by: Manchaug Pond Association

Description: Join the Manchaug Pond Association and volunteers from the Blackstone River Watershed Association for a major Spring Cleanup Event of the shoreline of Manchaug Pond, the Public Access Boat Ramp in Sutton, and the roadsides of the watershed. Volunteers should bring their own gloves and meet at the state boat ramp on Torry Road. Educational information on septic system maintenance, rain gardens, and healthy lawns and landscapes will be available. See you there rain or shine!
More Information:

Website: http://www.manchaugpondassociation.blogspot.com/
E-mail: MPA319grant@charter.net

Check this and other MPA community events as we list them on the Worcester Telegram Social Web Calendar! http://www.socialweb.net/Events/74651.lasso

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sutton Mandates 15-0-5 Fertilizers ONLY

With the warmer temperatures of the weekend, the
lawns are greening up, the trees are budding and the forsythia will
soon be in bloom. Before you head to the garden center for fertilizer,
crab grasspreventer or weed and feed or spend your money putting the
care of your landscape with a company... you may wish to educate
yourself as to the best options and techniques for your lawn, the
watershed you live in, and your pocketbook and take a look at your
town's local bylaws and regulations. If you live in the Blackstone
River watershed register for Thursdays Healthy Lawn and Landscape
Workshop given byDEP and sponsored by the Manchaug Pond Association. (See post below.)

Last September, the Town of Sutton's Conservation Commission adopted more
stringent regulations in addition to their local bylaw regulatinglakeshore
activities by further regulating fertilizer use and tree cutting. I believe the intent was to call attention to our watersheds and look for the protection of our lakes,ponds and rivers. This ad makes it clear that activities in the watershed directly effect our water resources. Fertilizing around the home landscape can result in runoff which fertilizes our lakes promoting aquatic weed growth. The regulations are as follows:

--- Any 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.

(To identify local regulation or bylaws check
the link to the right for the MA Conservation Commissions or call your
local Conservation Commission.)

So remember...
-Keep fertilizer use to a minimum-only use if a soil test indicates the need
-Use fertilizer as directed
-Use a non-phosphorus fertilizer when you decide fertilizing is necessary
-Use native grasses and shrubs to reduce the need for extra watering
-Leave natural undisturbed buffer strips to protect lake shore

And register for the Healthy Lawns workshop at MPA319Grant@charter.net


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