Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Help Needed!

Here's a post from a few days past which pictured two docks over on the Camp Blanchard shore...

Anonymous said...

I just returned to the lake and noticed my neighbors dock is missing - it's the green one above and belongs to the Donovan's on Bigelow Road. I called them and they are looking for help in retrieving it as they don't have a boat and mine it too little. If anyone can assist, contact me and I will call them.
-mj mccauley 476-1546
May 27, 2009 1:54 PM

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Storms All Around ...

Yes we did received rain today at Manchaug Pond - once early this morning, late this afternoon and then again this evening. But while the east side of Sutton was loosing power with thousands of others, and Auburn and Grafton were having wind, torrential rain and hail the size of ice cubes, here over the lake we found a rainbow after just and inch of rain.



I find that is often the case on Manchaug Pond. Last week friends in Connecticut reported a frost. None here. We often can safely plant in mid May without worry of loosing the plants to frost. Memorial Day was that traditional weekend for planting. Last summer and even this spring, rain storms were all around us but seem to part away over the lake. Then there was the ice storm which missed the lake area with the line of damage just starting on Lackey Road.

I am not saying we don't get our share as we often have cooler temps, wind and storms that seem to circle back.

Sutton Conservation Commission requested the dam owner put a rain gauge at the Manchaug Pond Dam rather than rely on the gauge at the Douglas mill. Wise idea as the weather is different here on the lake.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Quiet Day on the Lake



The boat ramp gatekeeper is officially at her seasonal weekend post, and this is the official weekend when the seasonal residents move to their summer lakeside homes but it was a quiet Saturday on the lake.... except for that campground "under new management" celebrating this evening! Sure glad it isn't karaoke night as we can hear them loud and clear!


:) the summer season has started!
and the waterlevel is still going UP!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Look What You're Missing!



This photo is for "ye of little faith" ... in the MPA, in the Sutton Conservation Commission, in the MassDEP, in our legislators, in the Superior Court, and in the Douglas Conservation Commission... and took your little campers and went to another lake!

Look what you are missing! There's no place like home on Manchaug Pond!

(Golden Manchaug Pond with tonight's sunset!)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Blue Jay Restaurant

An old favorite years ago was the Blue Jay Resturant and lobster pond. As a child, it was amazing to see that tank of live lobsters waiting to become someone's dinner! Of course now you can just head to Walmart to see the same thing. The Blue Jay was a favorite to the summer crowd of Manchaug Pond, feeding the many campers and seasonal residents.


But with the fire that hit the restaurant and apartment, today work has begun to clear the site and begin anew. It would be nice if the popular restaurant was indeed rebuilt.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Today's fishing

With the comment "We are glad the water is up!", one of our readers sent these photos...

...of three fisherman


and the fish caught on the second cast.



4 lbs. 2 oz. is the record for Calico Bass in Massachusetts.

For information on fishing Massachusetts waters- best ponds for bass, last year's trophy winners, record catches, boat ramp maps, etc
go to MassWildlife at this link: http://www.mass.gov/dfwele/dfw/recreation/fishing/fishing_home.htm

A Dam, 2 Docks and Conservation

Flashboards are still in! Water continues to come up but as you can see we still have a ways to full. If you look on the left side of the boards you'll see little red tags. Each board is numbered. 4 boards are visible, 3 underwater making for 7 total. Once they are all under water, we are told we will have realized a 3 1/2 foot increase in the level of the water.


A buzz around the lake shows a few boats at docks in the campgrounds as the campers arrive at their summer homes. Seasonal cottages and year round homes are still pretty quiet and docks which spent the fall and winter on the shore are floating away with the rising waters. These two where photographed yesterday evening. I am sure they will be rescued and secured over the weekend.






On another note, a few MPA members are heading out this morning to River Bend Farm in Uxbridge to attend a workshop given by the New England Wildflower Society and the Metacomet Land Trust on Invasive Species from 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
As you may know, Metacomet conserves properties right here in the Manchaug Pond Watershed - with an MPA Past President instrumental in securing those properties to be protected as conservation lands and to help preserve lake water quality, and secure wildlife corridors linking the Sutton State Forest and the Douglas State Forest.

Todays workshop components include:
· a review of the identification of 20 invasive plants,
· a discussion of survey methods, documentation and
mapping (with GPS) in the field, and,
· an outdoor session where actual invasive plants will be
identified.

To receive emails on future programs visit:
http://www.metacometlandtrust.net/index.htm

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Dam Owner's Plan for Manchaug Pond

To read the dam owner's proposal (Notice of Intent) for Manchaug Pond go to the website of the Douglas Conservation Commission at this link:
http://www.douglasma.org/cdd/concom/news.htm


This in about the judge's decision at the Worcester Superior Court:


The electronic docket contains the following text:

ORDER on Plaintiff's Motion for a Preliminary Injunction: The Court Denies Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction. The Court is mindful that the situation may change rapidly and that the competing risks and harms may vary depending upon conditions. Therefore the court's present ruling is made without prejudice to the refiling of this motion should a substantial change of conditions necessitate the same.
(see order) (Peter W. Agnes, Jr., Justice) copies mailed 5-13-09

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Judge Rules Flashboards Stay In!

As previously reported, the owner of the Manchaug Pond dam filed a civil suit in Worcester Superior Court against MassDEP Unilateral Adm. Order and the Sutton Conservation Commission Order of Conditions (both call for the flashboards in) asking the court to direct the agency & commission to issue a new order consistant with their Amended Notice of Intent filed by Manchaug Reservoir Corp on February 4, 2009.

Well, today the judge made his decision. You will be very pleased to know that the judge has DENIED the company’s request for an injunction. Therefore, the boards must remain in place.

We also await the decision of the MassDEP in the dam owner's appeal to that agency as they did not like the Sutton Conservation Commission's Order of Conditions.

And since Manchaug Pond is in two towns, we are also turning to Douglas who will review the dam owner's proposal with the public hearing before the Douglas Conservation Commission scheduled for June 15th - 8:00 p.m. for Whitin Reservoir and 8:30 p.m. for Manchaug.

s. 319 NPS Pollution Grant Work Begins in Sutton

Yesterday the Sutton Highway Department began work at the State Public Access Boat Ramp as outlined in the EPA/DEP s. 319 Non Point Source Pollution Grant project for Manchaug Pond.








Replacing the pipe that went directly into the lake will be a filtering pool lined with stone.




The stone used around this pipe is "historic" rock, I was told, coming from the egg farm which once stood at the present site of the Manchaug Fire Station just down from Steven's Pond dam.


This filtering sturcture, pervious pavers and a rain garden in addition to the upgrade of the two existing catch basins will address run off at the ramp which have caused these "phragmites" to grow.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Whose Reading the Blog?!


Readership. I find it fascinating! Three counters on the blog track our readers.

Google Analysis says readership is up 31% with 967 visitors checking in 6,011 times since January 1, 2009. Significant wouldn't you say for a small pond in central Massachusetts with only 120 or so shoreline and waterrights property owners.

Wednesday May 6th was a big day with 114 visits.

Between 35-70 loyal visitors checking in everyday - 85% are returning visitors and 15% are new.

How do our readers find us? Most, 46%, come in directly knowing our website, 44% come in from a search engine such as google, yahoo, or aol with the other 10% referred from verizon or blogger.

Those who do a search, type in such things as "manchaug pond blog", or whitin and manchaug reservoir", or "manchaug pond dam" or "lake manchaug assn". Once in a while a reader comes to the site as a result of a search for something like "flashboards," "how litter hurts a lake" or "Manchaug Indians." The keyword search "dep#303-669" brought us 61 visitors while "Lip Rippers Bass Club" brought in 21. "Manchaug Pond Association" and "manchaug pond" are the two most common search words.

Two other counters tell me where readers are from. The cluster map is the latest one to be added to the blog. It is nice to have a visual for all to see and we do have many readers from across the country. Those readers include our shoreline property owners from 33 communities in 7 states as well as family and friends and the many campers who spend their summers here or fisherman who enjoy Manchaug Pond. We also have loyal readers from Steven's Pond and Whitin Reservoir.

Where ever you hail from, we're glad you stopped by. If there is specific info you are looking for and you don't see - just ask!

Also maybe it is time for another poll... what topic should be asked?

Trip Around the Lake


Back in the 40 year old 12ft Mirrocraft with the new 4 HP Yamaha for an evening drive around the lake. Got to love it! Very different feel from the 28 ft pontoon boat. The SanPan is still hung up on the rocks from the late winter ice floe, suffering from low water. But the water is rising, the flashboards are still in, and no new news from the court room saying things should be any different.








Windy Mother's Day


What a wind! So we headed to the west side of the lake where the ledge and hill side offered protection. Otherwise it was a beautiful, sunny day with the waterlevel continuing to rise.

Today may bring more news on the legal front with the dam owners civil suit against the Town of Sutton and the MassDEP. I'll let you know if I hear anything.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Campers Arriving & Tournaments in Full Swing- Summer Season is Here!



It was a beautiful day on Manchaug Pond. A trip around the lake in the Mirrocraft row boat equipped with new oars and a new 4HP Yamaha engine revealed campers setting up, bass boats fishing, a cormorant diving for lunch and a few boats actually sitting in a bit of water at the campground docks. That dock that got loose last week has settled on the sand bar at Blueberry Island and appears to be one from the YMCA. Rain and run-off continue to bring the water level up. Although we still have a good two feet (up) to go at least we are above last year's fish kill level.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Manchaug Pond: "Should be Preserved Forever"

"Two occasions on the lake during the summer and fall of 2008, I observed a BALD EAGLE. The confirmation of the species was confirmed by observation at distances as close as 50 meters, and with binoculars. The environment available to this grand creature should be preserved forever. Thank you."
Submitted this week by an MPA member with their dues/support form.




See this photo and more Alaskan photos of eagles fishing/swimming on this website:
http://www.ketchikanphotos.com/Wildlife/Bald-Eagle-swimming.html

Summer 07 - Photos of the Sea Plane

How about these photos from the summer 2007 of the sea plane submitted by MPA Area 4 Representative to the Board of Directors David Wilson!












Thursday, May 07, 2009

Beauty of the watershed

Last night and today we continue to receive rain to bring up the waterlevel which is still a couple feet below our "normal" high level for this time of year.



Up in the watershed, water is flowing down to the lake. Here's a glimpse at a wetlands feeding Manchaug Pond.





Skunk cabbage, moss, ferns, wood anenome and marsh marigolds among the rocks and flowing water make it truly a place of peace and beauty. Makes you wish the next hearing for the dam could be held right here! All the engineers and attorneys could put their "desktop, conceptual evaluations" aside and experience the reality that makes Manchaug Pond worth preserving.



Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Water Rising & Flashboards Still In

The lake is coming up! The rain we had yesterday is doing the trick with run-off still flowing in from the watershed.


A look at the flashboards tells us we have a ways to go to get to the top, but we are thankful that the flashboards are still in.


As you know, the DEP issued a Unilateral Administrative Order to the dam owner to put the flashboards in. The dam owner took the 3 day period given to put the boards in doing so on Friday April 24th. But the dam owner also decided to take the DEP and Sutton Conservation Commission to court in a civil suit to try to get the flashboards back out. With papers served late last week, surprisingly, Monday was the day in court. The judge heard both sides, noted the short notice for the defendants to prepare and himself needed time to read the Asst. Attorney General's side of the case. A ruling from the judge is expected Friday or Monday. MPA's President and 2nd Vice President attend and observed the proceedings.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Floating Dock Loose

An MPA member from Area 7 reports today that a dock floated by at 6:57 a.m. It sits low in the water.

No wind yet today and only enough moisture overnight to partially wet the ground but it is raining now! Two MPA Board members have been doing a rain dance! A method the former dam caretaker, Fuddy, used to employ. :)

The next post will bring you up-to-date on the "drama" with the dam - yesterday's day in court.

Monday, May 04, 2009

The Weather Channel Predicts 6 Days of Rain!

Threaten to take The Weather Channel widget off the blog and what a response - 6 days of rain in the forecast! Well, lets leave it on and see what happens! Sure would be nice to have it rain all week to end with sunshine on the weekend!

Remember 1 inch of rain can cause Manchaug Pond to come up 10 inches (.84 feet our dam reports say) If you're a reader from Whitin Reservoir, 1 inch will bring your water level up 1.35 feet.

For those of you following the drama on the dam, flashboards are still in with the courts still reviewing the case.


How about this little sunshiny flower which popped out of the sand on the beach last month - Coltsfoot, I'd say.

A Few Weekend Fisherman







Sunday, May 03, 2009

New York Camper and Fishing Club Check in...


This was the image at the Public Access Boat Ramp the day after our Spring Cleanup event. At 7:05 this morning another club, and another tournament was heard as the voice of the caller sent boats roaring out across the lake. Instead of starting at the ramp, the boats slowly moved up the channel and through the causeway and started on the other side.

The Town of Sutton who manages the state ramp reported last year gate receipts were so low they did not cover expenses. I would venture to say a first since they became managers at the MPA's request in 1991, as we have a very popular ramp.

We are still getting run off from the hillsides of the watershed, bringing up the level of Manchaug Pond since the flashboards went in. The rain gauge has been near useless and the "Weather Channel" forecast widget has to go! I'm tired of 10 day forecasts with plenty of storm clouds and weather alerts with Manchaug Pond realizing none of it. Again this demonstrates the importance of capturing snow melt and rains beginning mid-March.

A bass club has offered to help and yesterday, a New York camper checked in concerned with this summer asking if Douglas Conservation Commission's involvement means the waterlevel is still in questions even though the flashboards went in. You can read the comments and my response at the end of yesterday's post. But the MPA views the Douglas Conservation Commission's involvement as a very positive development. Since the dam is in Sutton, Douglas will probably look at the impact the waterlevel is having to the wetlands on the Douglas side.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Notice of Certified Letter

Yes, I received from the US Postal Service today notice of a certified letter from MRC waiting for me to pick up on Monday.

This is notification to all property owners abutting Manchaug Pond and those with water rights, that the dam owner has filed a Notice of Intent with the Douglas Conservation Commission (DCC) of their revised Operation and Maintenance Plan for Manchaug Pond dam. A public hearing will be held allowing you to hear about the plan and again ask questions and present your concerns.

Friday night, May 1, I checked out the DCC website to find that Manchaug Pond and the dam owner, Manchaug Reservoir Corp at Interface, is on the agenda for Monday, May 18th at 8:30 p.m.
http://www2.douglasma.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=59&t=1148


You'll notice Whitin's NOI was available on the DCC website but Manchaug's wasn't. I'll keep you posted when I get details.... and I'll see you there.

Also you'll notice Whitin Reservoir is listed on the agenda for June 1st - that's the continuation requested by their dam owner, MRRC and the Whitin Reservoir Watershed District.



Friday, May 01, 2009

Town Stops Flow from Stevens Pond

Yesterday the Town of Sutton Highway Dept, keeper of the Stevens Pond dam, was seen closing the gate to retain water.

Stevens is low and with the flashboards in at Manchaug and the future of the waterlevel and dam still uncertain, it was a wise move. Run-off still continues to flow from the watersheds but forcasted rain showers have left us with little more than a sprinkle or two.

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