Friday, May 22, 2009
Dredging planned for state park farm pond
The state Department of Conservation and Recreation is seeking to dredge the farm pond near the ice cream stand at Great Brook Farm State Park. At their May 14 meeting the Conservation Commission (ConsCom) heard details of the project. Consultant Dan Herzlinger of ESS Group in Providence, Rhode Island presented the plan, which he indicated is intended to remove accumulated sediment and increase the water storage capacity of the pond.
There is no surface water inlet; the pond is fed by groundwater and runoff from adjacent higher areas. The proposal is to gradually drain the pond into the adjacent outflow stream, let the sediment drain (dewater) in place, then transport it to the adjacent farm fields. Herzlinger said the plan follows the state Lake and Pond Management Guidelines which include recommended time-frames intended to minimize wildlife impact. Accordingly, drawdown would be completed by early November, and the pond refilled by April. A pipe from the pond to the road would also be installed for Fire Department use.
Much of the ensuing discussion focused on the impact of the project on wildlife – including whether, following drawdown, frogs and other fauna might be exposed to freezing conditions at a time when they are unable to adapt or move. Commissioner Tom Brownrigg pointed out, that with some dredging projects, a small section of a pond is kept intact, for the aquatic organisms to congregate.
There were also questions about whether steep slopes would be required to create sufficient water storage capacity. Children have long enjoyed playing along the edges of the pond and observing its aquatic life. Commissioner Tricia Smith said she wants to see any public safety issues addressed now so that the pond does not end up being fenced.
The Commission will seek review by a wildlife or aquatic biologist and clarify the needs of the Fire Department before proceeding. The hearing was continued to June 18, at 8:45 p.m. ∆
© 2009 The