Monday, September 29, 2008

319 Grant Progress, Thank You Town of Douglas!

I know this picture is not too exciting at first but it is a very special "hole in the ground".

We are very fortunate to be living in a state that supports lakes and ponds through grants like the 319 NPS (non point source pollution) grant that the MPA received last spring. There are several aspects to the grant such as educational outreach programs as well as structural modifications around Manchaug Pond that are designed to filter "first flush" nutrients that enter the lake when there is a rain storm and feed the weeds that are in the lake. These nutrients come from fertilizers, lawn herbicides, animal waste, automobile tires, and general pollution.

Our grant has seven sites that are scheduled to be worked on this fall. I was thrilled to come back after working out of town to see that the two Douglas sites have been completed which are located on Holt Road between Manchaug Campground and King's Campground.
A very BIG thank you to the town of Douglas for completing the work so quickly!
I took a ride to check them out Saturday afternoon during the rain storm and they are working perfectly. The photo above is Site #6 which has a gabion and purge pool. This site will annually filter 265 lbs of total suspended solids (TSS) per year as well as Phosphorous and Nitrogen. Site #7 down the road will eliminate 975 lbs of suspended solids per year. Combined these sites will eliminate a total of 1,240 lbs. of TSS, 1.42 lbs of Phosphorous and 7.5 lbs of Nitrogen per year.

It gets better. When completed, the 5 sites that are in Sutton will eliminate 5,361 total suspended solids, 9.24 lbs phosphorus, and 35.62 lbs. of Nitrogen from directly entering Manchaug Pond. The seven sites sites will filter over 3 TONS of pollution annually....those will be very impressive "holes in the ground".

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fall Drawdown to Begin

Yesterday, our dam owner called the MPA President to inform all of you that the fall drawdown of the water level has begun. The gates have been opened to bring the water down to the fall rule curve level. Hurricane Hanna earlier this month did bring the level up above their curve, and yes I know, perhaps the highest our water has been this summer. But it is time to bring it back down.

Don't panic! I know many of us have been longing for higher water all summer -especially those of us down the channel, in the coves and on the shallower Sutton side - but let's remember it is the end of the season. The water has to be brought down before November. Brought down before the critters overwinter in mud, before the lake begins to freeze, and brought down for the weed control.

Here's a little outline/summary of the timing of lake-level drawdown for weed control from the Lycott Enviromental's fact sheet. The drawdown reduces the number of weeds by leaving them exposed and/or freezing them. Those resistant to freezing can actually be pulled from the sediment when the ice layer is raised as the the water level is quickly brought up. This method was recommended to the MPA back in 1990 and again in 2003 by Lee Lyman of Lycott for us here on Manchaug:

~ Gradually begin the drawdown mid-September to early October taking the level "down at a rate of approximately one-to-two inches per day" to "allow certain aquatic organisms such as fresh water mussels, crayfish, turtles and amphibians to migrate to deeper portions of the water body to over-winter."

~ The lowered water level should be maintained during November and December until there is a prolonged period (5-7 days) of temperatures below 15 degrees F.”

~ Refilling should begin in “early January regardless of the weather conditions.” This eliminates concerns of unsafe ice in March and ensures successful refill as “the water body should not be in a lowered condition during the spring and/or early summer, as terrestrial plants will flourish on the exposed sediment...”

MPA has worked with the dam caretaker since 1990 to fine tune the fall/winter drawdown so as to control the weeds without having to use herbicides. Yes, some years it didn't happen or the weather wasn't with us but on the whole it has been a cost free, effective method for Manchaug Pond. We are hoping the new rule curve effort will include the weed control program in its scope.

Thank you to the dam owner for the courtesy call. Much appreciated!

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Big Guy!

Titled "The Big Guy", this photo was emailed to me this week. I had to share it with you!

THe lobster is not native to Manchaug Pond nor was he found here but the diver is! It was also reported that the lobster was released as he was too big to take home!

Dam Owner Calls MPA to Report Change in Water level

Today the MPA President received a call from the dam owner.

The reason we're open? My guess would be Hanna, Ike and the other potential storms of the Hurricane Season which give the dam owner a legitimate reason to open things up. Even though we still haven't reached our summer high for waterlevel yet. Also the previous caretaker would have given the MPA a courtesy call notify us of the opening- reason and how much - so we could "let the people around the lake know." We had a friendly working relationship with him, it would be nice if that continued with the two new caretakers. Perhaps the dam owner's spokesman will call next week with an update.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Public Hearing Continued to Oct 15

Last night the Sutton Conservation Commission once again took up the subject of dam owner's proposed new lower water level. I'll give you more details later today.... but for now...

The public still has an opportunity to submit comments and concerns as to the impact of this low water level on the wetlands, wildlife, etc to the Commission....

and we hope to see you Oct 15th at 7:00, Sutton Town Hall for the next meeting.

This is a 2006 file photo of the cove at the Old Holbrook Campground. Try fishing at that campsite! Looks more like a bog than a lake!

Tonight: 9:15 at Sutton Con. Com Mtg

Manchaug Pond is on the agenda for 9:15... the time was just confirmed by our 1st VP at the Town Hall... and they have a quorum.

See you there.

Should I mention that I submitted the requested documentation proving we have fanwort -a 2003 Aquatic Weed Survey conducted by Lycott Environmental as well as information on lake level drawdown, timing of when to lower and when to raise as well as other info.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Con Com Mtg Tomorrow Night

The continuation of the Sutton Conservation Commission's review of the new water level for Manchaug Pond proposed by the dam owner is slated for this Wednesday, September 17th in the Sutton Town Hall.

As of yesterday the secretary reported that this item is scheduled for 9:15 p.m. on the agenda. But stay tuned, I'll report here if there is a change... rumor has it that due to the large turnout and the time needed to consider the topic, the Con Com may postpone to a separate Wed. where it would be a stand alone issue at that meeting.

Will keep you posted.

Here's a photo of the Old Holbrook Place campground in 2006 when the dam owner took the water down to make repairs. You can see that Manchaug Pond, especially on the Sutton side, is very shallow. Taking the water level down 3-4 feet can leave quite a few docks stranded, coves dry and the water yards away from the shore.

Looking at this makes it very easy to understand why timing with a drawdown is SO important - why the fish kill, why boats hit rocks, how docks became useless, why wildlife was lost in the coves, and why neighboring wetlands dried this summer, etc., etc.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Water is flowing...

Yes the water is flowing and yes the blog has been too quiet.

And you asked what's new?

Today, Monday is a beautiful, cool sunny day on Manchaug Pond in the mid 60s.

Yesterday was just as beautiful with a breeze.

Saturday into Sunday early morning, Manchaug Pond received a total of 5 inches of rainfall from the remnant of hurricane Hanna. Water is running downstream from Manchaug Pond out the low-level gate and under the flashboards.

Friday, two "men in boots" were at the dam opening things up - the lowlevel gate was opened a good amount letting white water flow and the sandbags were removed from the spillway flashboards
so water could flow beneath them (remember the little stone situated under the bottom flashboard allowing water to run out the spillway even with the flashboards in...)
The reason we're open? My guess would be Hanna, Ike and the other potential storms ofHurricane Season which give the dam owner a legitimate reason to open things up. Even though we still haven't reached our summer high for waterlevel yet. Also the previous caretaker would have given the MPA a courtesy call notify us of the opening- reason and how much - so we could "let the people around the lake know." We had a friendly working relationship with him, it would be nice if that continued with the two new caretakers. Perhaps the dam owner's spokesman will call next week with an update.

Thursday. What was notable about Thursday? Well, noon was the deadline for the dam owner to get back to the Sutton Conservation Commission about the peer/third party review of their Operations and Management Plan for Manchaug Pond. The Con Comm had asked an environemental engineering company, Fuss & O'Neil, to do the review at a cost of $12,000 to be paid by the dam owner.

Weds. night the dam owner went before the Sutton Conservation Commission with a request/Notice of Intent to take a new "cautious position" in controlling the water level of Manchaug Pond at the recommendation of their engineer who is concerned about old Dam Safety Regulations. Specifically, the plan looks to follow a 1930 rule curve which the dam owner nor the previous owner followed. If the dam owner has its way, this will result in the water kept lower throughout the spring, summer and fall seasons with a lower peak finally reached June 1 and sloping right back down.

The way it was presented they didn't want to take it down to the low 1930 rule curve and agreed it was cautious and the recommendation came as a surprise to them - a real catch-22 situation- but they do have to answer to the Office of Dam Safety and operate on the side of caution and limit risk and liability.

Sooo Manchaug Pond forget your fishkills, dry coves and wetlands, recreational boating, useless docks, etc...

Information was presented by the dam owner, but sad to say their spokesperson had Manchaug mixed up with our sister pond, Whitin Reservoir. We understand that Manchaug's flashboard measure 3.5 feet not 2.7, Manchaug is tied hydrologically to Whitin Reservoir but it was Whitins which overflows into Manchaug, and their are 2,000 + dams in the state not 5,000 and if you look at the dam safety reports you'll see historically higher water levels than the reworked graphs the NOI (Notice of Intent) show. Also we understand that the gauge downstream reports the combined flow from Manchaug and Whitins... anyway... the meeting was a bit confusing not to mention you could hear the meeting in the next room better than the speaker in the Selectman's Room... the meeting was

continued to September 17th.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Join the Public Hearing for the Manchaug Pond Waterlevel!

3-Sep-2008 Wednesday 7:00PM

Sutton Conservation Commission
Sutton Town Hall, 4 Uxbridge Road, Sutton.

Come stand with the Manchaug Pond Association in support of the lake by attending this important meeting. Of concern is the dam owner’s new plan to further lower the water level. We have already experienced negative impacts to our lake with the drying of coves, wetland and channel areas; major fish kills involving all species; decline or loss of spring peepers/amphibian populations; excessive weed growth; public safety hazards from exposed rocks; loss of revenue to town and area businesses with drop in visitors to the State Public Access Boat Ramp and campgrounds.

See what it is all about!


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