Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Dam closed to 1 inch - Water is high.

Fuddy reports closing the gate to 1 inch on Sunday. He has Whitins open 3 inches. He found this to be his easiest year yet with no hurricanes hitting the area.

On the sale of the mill and three dams, he hasn't heard anything new. He says the dam owner is still trying to find a buyer who wants the whole package. Machines are still being taken out of the mill. Four large heater units have been brought in to heat the mill so the pipes do freeze. The propane blowers are outside the building and are cheaper than hiring staff to fire up the boilers all winter.

On the dams, the Douglas Board of Selectman told the MPA, that while they are not interested in ownership of any of the dams, they do want a written agreement with the future owner(s) that the 16 cubic feet per second flow will be maintained for their town's sewerage treatment plant.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Watershed District Topic of Meeting Set for Thursday

This Thursday, December 14th at 7:00 p.m. all those interested in Manchaug Pond and the MPA's initiative to form a Watershed District are invited to the church hall at St. Anne's Church on Main St in Manchaug across from Bek's Fuels. The MPA President will make a PowerPoint presentation explaining the mission, goals and objectives of the MPA members' call to form the municipal district. Further he and the Treasurer, in working with the District Clerk of the long existing Cedar Meadow Lake Watershed District have worked up an initial budget for the first year and the estimated cost to the pond abutters and those with water rights. Attorney Walter Jabs, hired by the MPA to spearhead this effort, will attend outlining the draft legislation and bylaws which will set the framework for the district. This action is driven by the MPA membership who voted unanimously at two meetings earlier this year to pursue formation of the municipal district.

All interested are invited and encouraged to attend. Bring questions, concerns and thoughts, as the purpose of this meeting is to provide factual information to all.

This meeting is the rescheduled from November where a blackout in Manchaug and

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Manchaug Pond Indian Artifacts in Museum

Do you like arrowheads? Did you find a few while the water level was down?

This week a long time member and resident of Manchaug Pond from Area 2 brought to our attention the fact that a large collection of Indian artifacts from Manchaug Pond are on exhibit at The Robbins Museum in Middleboro.

Here's the details this member provides to all of you:

"WHAT? Indian Artifacts from the Central Massachusetts collection of C.C. Ferguson

WHERE? Massachusetts Archaeological Society at the Robbins Museum of Archaeology 17 Jackson St., Middleboro, Mass. Weds. 9-4 and Sat. 10-2. (Click title for link or call 508-947-9005 for direction and information.)

WHEN? Now through Spring 07'

NOTE: The bulk of C.C. Fergusons's collection comes from Manchaug Pond and downstream along the Mumford River. His collecting done in the 1920's, 1930's and 1940's and is the most complete of Manchaug Pond ever put together.

C.C. was a graduate of Harvard College, an educator and many years Superintendent of Schools in Millbury Mass.

A must see for anyone interested in the antiquities of Manchaug Pond."


Friday, November 24, 2006

With Rain, Dam is Opened Again

Just received another call from the caretaker of the dam, Fuddy. He had closed the gate of the dam earlier in the week down to one inch. Today he opened the gate back to 8 inches to get rid of yesterday's rain. But most importantly we are already up to where we should be for this time of year. Yes! Already up to where we should be this time of year!

Some may say we are still too low but if you take a look there are a few reasons to keep it down... docks legs are in the water at King's Campground (not good with freezing weather ahead, water flowing from the watershed quickly brings us up (it was flowing like a brook down the hill from Lake Manchaug Camping to the lake), my neighbor is just one of many going through the hearing process to clean up their beach area, and others are still repairing walls and docks, and we use lake level drawdown to reduce the aquatic weed growth.

Remember that here at Manchaug Pond, one inch of rain brings us up 10 inches with the run-off from the watershed. Fuddy reports using the same system this year as they have for 23 years. He reports the lake went up 6 inches with just this last rainfall on Thanksgiving. If he hadn't opened it, the water level would have come up a foot plus. Further, Fuddy reports we have had 4 1/2 inches in 2 weeks. If he hadn't opened the gate, we would have come up about 4 feet!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Dams in the News: A Sutton Dam No One Wants!

No, it is not Manchaug Pond's dam, not Steven's, not Tucker's, not Singletary's, not Ramshorn's.... Can you name it, do you know where it is?

Does it look familiar at all?

How about from this angle?

How about the flow from the other side of the road?

Give up!?!

It's called SINGING DAM, and it is located on the Blackstone River in the Wilkinsonville section of Sutton and is the future site of the Sutton 300's Tricentennial Park.

The park design has been long completed and is posted on the site and in Manchaug center.

Construction of the 5 acre park is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2005.

What? 2005? It's 2006 now, going on 2007! What's the hold up?

Well, Sutton Selectman report that the $$ is all there for the Park: $$ from the Blackstone River Valley Corridor Commission Heritage Partnership Program has been long spent on the design. $$ has been secured to fund construction through the Mass Highway Dept. Transportation Enhancement Program. Further, DEP reports Blackstone National Golf Course is providing $26,250 in funds directly to the Town of Sutton for use in the design and construction of the proposed Tricentennial Park (as part of a DEP penalty to golf course for taking too much water out of the course's 5 wells to irrigate the course without telling DEP.) The park is reported to "include picnic tables, historic markers, interpretive signs, a trail, canoe portage, public art, and a reflective area".

Sounds nice and the project is well funded!

So what's the hold-up?

Well, the dam. The company across the street owns it and doesn't want the liability. A Sutton Selectman tells the MPA that the town doesn't want ownership either, so the Town of Sutton has asked State Rep. Jennifer Callahan to press the state to take over ownership. We'll see how long this goes on....

Friday, November 17, 2006

Water Level - Dam Open Now for Aquatic Life

This photo was taken today of the water coming out of our dam here on Manchaug - specifically out the new gate. Why is the dam open when we are still low? Well, the state is requiring the dam owner maintain a flow to "support the aquatic life" downstream. Fuddy got the call from the engineer in Maine earlier this week saying he should open the gate a bit.

Further Fuddy does report that the waterlevel is coming up nicely with all this rain and run-off from the watershed. He has seen the level come up 2 1/2 inches from one day's rain. Course we new that looking at the rain gauges!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

An MPA Clean up TODAY!

Just a reminder to put on those MPA sweatshirts and head to the shore with your gloves and garbage bags this morning!

The MPA 1st VP will be in Area 1 and 2 heading things up and a big orange Town of Sutton truck will be parked roadside to hall it away.

The President is working this morning at the real job and regrets he can't make it!

I'll be hitting the computer typing the Committee minutes to the Watershed District Committee's last meeting, sending out two notices - one for the next Board of Director's Meeting and the other for the rescheduled Water District info meeting and photocopying handouts. Tomorrow, I update you on a call the MPA received from Sutton Selectman Mike Chizy and his concerns for another dam in Sutton.

Friday, November 10, 2006

MPA Meeting Rescheduled to Dec. 14

Last night the MPA had to cancel the informational meeting set to discuss and update all parties on the formation of the Watershed District. Why cancel? A power outage hit the village of Manchaug and the shores of Manchaug Pond both the Sutton and Douglas sides which lasted from just after 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The MPA President spoke directly with National Grid workers who were on site minutes after the outage hit. They expected the outage to last about a half hour so the meeting was not cancelled. As the clocked ticked, darkness set in and members came from far and wide - throughout Central Massachusetts, and as far RI - gathering in the parking lot.

The meeting has been rescheduled to Thursday evening, December 14th, same location. All will receive a notice in the mail.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Real Estate Tax Credit for Persons Age 65 + (known as the Circuit Breaker Credit)

Have you heard about the Circuit Breaker Credit? Get money back because of the property taxes you have paid. My neighbor, who found out about it only this year, filed for the last three years and received a check totaling over $2,000.

Who qualifies? Well, you need to be over 65 years old; made less than $ 46,000 if you file as single, $58,000 as head of a household, and $70,000 if married filing jointly; and your assessed property value is no more than $684,000. You also need to file a state tax return in Mass.

The tax relief program was started in 2001 but if you haven't taken advantage of it you are allowed to file back three years.

Check out the link to see if you qualify! You can get up to $870 for 2006 alone!


Monday, November 06, 2006

VP Organizes Cleanup for Nov. 11th

Mark that calendar again! You are needed and bring a friend!

This Saturday, November 11th our 1st Vice President is spearheading a cleanup for the north end of the lake - that stretch of shoreline in Area 1 and 2 which collects a lot of debris from the wind and wave action across the lake. The Town of Sutton is providing a town dump truck and 15 "Pay-as-you-Throw trash bags (33 gallons each bag) for the effort. Volunteers should report between 9 a.m. and noon.

In other areas around the lake, if you would like to clean up your bit of the shoreline, the rubbish collected can be brought to the town truck in Area 1 or to the boat ramp for afternoon pick up.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

MPA Sets Public Forum on District for Nov. 9th

The Manchaug Pond Association will hold an open forum for all to attend to discuss the creation of a watershed district for Manchaug Pond. The public meeting, Thursday, November 9th, will be held at 7:30 p.m. at St. Anne's Church Hall at 31 Main St. Manchaug. Attorney Walter Jabs Jr. and the MPA will provide information, taking questions and soliciting your input, on this important issue concerning our lake.

Draft documents will be available at the meeting, including the proposed District Act, the bylaws and inital meeting warrant and budget. The legislative process to create the district will be explained as well as how the district will operate.

A letter notifying those who would be interested in attending has gone out to all abutters along the lake shore, all property owners with water rights, all MPA members past and present including renters, and other supporters.

Special thanks to the member who donated the paper and envelops for this mailing :))

Saturday, October 28, 2006

3 1/2 inches of rain so far!

Well, the little rain gauge was reading 3 1/2 inches this evening. I'm sure a call to Fuddy tomorrow will tell us want that means for the lake as far as runoff from the watershed and how much it will bring the water up.

I can tell you that this culvert that the town fixed a couple weeks ago had a full flow of storm water going into the lake this afternoon! Definitely something that needs to be addressed at a latter date by another nonpoint source pollution grant like we were just awarded. They would probably recommend the installation of a catch basin or something across the street!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

What Does that Have to Do With the Lake?

You might take a look at the photo and say, "What does that have to do with the lake and the MPA?"

... well nothing, but... my husband took us for a little ride to Vermont on Saturday and there at the visitors' center just before Brattleboro this metal moose and the sign "Guilford" took me back home and to our own "Guilford of Maine"!

Friday, October 20, 2006

A New Perspective!

What weather we had a dinner time! And continue to have! Is the lake going to fill up in one night?!! This photo was taken, not through a window as it appears, but with the camera out in the rain! The lake is in the center through the trees with my neighbors garage to the left. Did it come down!

Not 10 minutes later the wind died down and the sun popped out between the clouds all the while still raining! And of course, I said to my daughter, "Where there's rain and sun, there's a rainbow! Lets get down to the lake." We grabbed the camera and ran down the lake (remember we're one of those with water rights!) This is what we saw...

It is always amazing to me that you can be looking at things one way, say this dark, ominous looking sky and if you would only turned in the other direction - do a 180 degree turn, just look behind you as we did - you would have a totally different scene. Sure enough, when we turned around there was the rainbow in the middle of the storm! as we stood on that dry, rocky shore, a beautiful blue sky with not one but two rainbows!

A totally different perspective!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Gate Repairs Completed!

THE JOB IS DONE! The old gate is history. The new low level outlet gate is in place. The new gate is holding back water. The rubbish screen is in place. The sandbags are gone with a few to the side. The crews have gone home. The pond is on the refill.

Now if you visit the dam you will notice there is a flow down to Steven's Pond out of Manchaug. Yes, the gate is closed tight! BUT the state has required that this minimium flow be maintained "to support aquatic life downstream" thus the gate was made 3/8 of an inch smaller than the previous one. There will always be a flow in the closed position.

Our MPA President was at the dam this afternoon getting more pictures and talking with the crews. So believe it, this is the final report, the gate has be replaced!

If you see crews there off and on this fall, don't worry as they will be doing some "cosmetic" type work, replacing a bracket here and there, etc. Nothing major.

So I guess now we pray for rain and snow cover! And three cheers for a job well done and a high water summer season and a hardy thanks to the dam owner!!!

Dam Gate Repairs Near Complete!

The MPA President was at the dam all day yesterday watching the whole process and learning more about the gates, their operation and the structure of the dam. He tells us the gate is still under water and he took alot of close up pictures which will be shared with blog readers tomorrow. He said as the state dam safety reports state, the dam is structurally sound and is made up of great granite blocks. He also took pictures of the Sutton Highway Department working on the header of a nearby culvert under a nearby road which needed repair.

The President met off site today with the crew from R.H. White about today's work. The crane today (see photo) is larger as it is being used to lift 1600 pound sandbags into place to block the flow so the divers can get the old gate out. Two series of sandbags are planned to block the flow to expose the gate and so the least amount of water is taken out of the lake. The dam owner's hydraulic engineer from Maine continues to be on site. Yesterday a temporary wood frame was put in to guide and hold the new steel gate in position ready too replace the old wood gate. The gate is 2 feet by 2 feet. If things continue to proceed as planned, repairs could be completed ahead of schedule and as early as this afternoon or tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Repairs Begin Today on Dam

Here's a photo taken at 8:45 this morning with a full crew on board from the crane to the plant manager to the work crews to the engineers.

The day was wrapping up at 4:30 p.m.

There is water coming out of the dam this evening but Fuddy's friend "Mother Nature" is already working to bring the lake back up to normal!

Monday, October 16, 2006

More on Tomorrow's Dam Repairs and the Mill

Just had our Area Representative from Area 5 call in saying he spoke with the R.H. White truck at the dam this afternoon... a crane is coming in tomorrow to lift the new gate into place in front of the broken gate so that the switch can be done with little water loss from the pond. Also safety will be the word of the day as the Sutton Rescue will be parked at the site with the workers using harnesses and other safety equipment and precautions.

I should mention the previous posting was prompted by our Treasurer who reported the gate was closed tight even though it is broken and was wide open. This put me on the phone to the caretaker. (Read the previous post for his update!) Fuddy also reports news on the mill in Douglas - crews from Canada are currently taking out machinery. Fuddy personally hopes the mill will be sold to a manufacturing company and not for condos. Both our President and an Area Rep. from Area 4 reported hearing rumors out there of a bid being made for the mill and the three dams but this has not been confirmed so we'll wait for the facts and the details. Our President did make a few calls to confirm... more as we get information.

Tomorrow, the MPA's two main photographers are scheduled elsewhere so if anyone is at the dam with a digital camera, email us a few pictures!! Oh, and try to stay out of the way and not make a pest of yourself :)) But get the pictures!!

This is it! The Gate is Closed!

This morning our dam owner closed the dam gate. As you know, having received the certified letter and also in an MPA mailing, that they had anticipated the water level would "reach its lowest point on or about October 15th" Fuddy reports the water level in the lake has been going down at a rate of about 4 inches a day for a while. He has been taking readings at 7:00 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day. Today, the gate closed easily - he "could have closed it with one finger" - as the pressure from the force of the lake is no longer there! Tomorrow the repair crew will begin working. Once repairs are complete, the refill will begin. Fuddy is hoping for good snow cover this winter so the snow melts from the watershed fill us up quickly. Manchaug Pond is NOT fed by streams but by rain, runoff from the surrounding watershed, water flowing from Aldrich Pond and beyond in the watershed to the pond at Singletary Rod and Gun Club.

I'll get photos of the dam later today and post them for you! Did you know the property owners from around the lake come from 30 different cities in 7 states! The internet and the MPA Blog sure gives you a bird's eye view! Those who live year-round on the lake and have a digital camera, send me some photos from your area!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

A Photo from Days of Higher Water

Here's a photo of Manchaug Pond taken by a reader/member. I am not sure when it was taken but it is a beauty!

A member of the Sutton Conservation Commission paid a visit to Manchaug Pond today! Quite surprised at the shallowness of the pond! She thought it was a much deeper lake in the over 20 foot area. I informed her that the state Public Access Board has it listed at 13 feet.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Water Level Almost There

Thanks to the staff of the Douglas State Forest for repainting the channel markers this past winter.

The rocky shore makes for few weeds. If possible... if you see some small weedy patches between the rocks, place some rocks over the area.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The MPA in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle

The Millbury-Sutton Chronicle reported in their October 5th issue the MPA coming before the Sutton Board of Selectman's September 26th meeting to ask for their support of a Manchaug Pond District. It is a very lengthy article which highlights concerns and questions of the selectman. The article does get quite a few things wrong starting from the MPA President's name to the fact that the MPA did present the Board with 129 signatures representing 75% of the property owners and those with deeded water rights around Manchaug Pond who support the initiative. The report also fails to capture the intent of the people around Manchaug Pond and why we want a municipal district: to give property owners around the lake a voice! To empower each of us so we can take care of our lake and maintain the water level and secure state and federal $$ to be spent on Manchaug Pond for what we feel is important. The Town told us they don't want our dam or the waterrights and don't have the $$ to maintain it! The state wants to breech every dam it can and has also stated they won't help. The Corp of Engineers doesn't want it. Well guess what... we want it! We love our lake - it is a beautiful resource, a beautiful place to be. The district is NOT about regulating boat motors and trampolines, raising taxes, or taking people's property or about Singletary Lake as the article states. It is about us taking control and deciding what we want for Manchaug Pond.

The attorney, Walter Jabs told us the people at Burncoat paid between $35 and $50 toward their district the first year! Our association's dues are more than that! A pair of sneakers is more that that! Isn't it worth each of us having control of the water in front of our home?!

The Manchaug Pond District is the only way to go. For our lake, our homes and our pocketbooks!

Foggy Sunday morning taken by MPA 1st VP from Area 2 on October 8th.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Certified Letter

A few of my neighbors asked me what the certified letter was about. Given they didn't pick it up at the post office and the fact that our membership includes not only the property owners of Douglas and Sutton around the lake and those of us with deeded water rights but also long time renters and a few campers, I put a copy of the letter in the mail with the newsletter. Forgive me on the newsletter too, it is late as usual.. succumbing to a number of technical difficulties as we tried something new with the transfer from computer to the printer's copier. Anyway it is out and those who are not online may appreciate the printed communication.

Hope you enjoy the photo. This was taken Monday evening on the wall at the channel. Its of a fisherman from the boat ramp who caught a nice bass my daughter spotted swimming in the channel.

Monday, October 09, 2006

A Close Look at the Dam Gate and Spillway

The following photos were sent in by the MPA President and his daughter:
The gate...

The spillway...

How's that for a close-up!
You should also know that the MPA has secured the records on the dam from the State Office of Dam Safety for the past 20 or so years. These include reports on all inspections, maintenance, repairs and emergency plans.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The State Boat Ramp

Manchaug Pond has a special designation by the state as a "Great Pond". Not all lakes have this designation and what makes our pond special is that the public has access to its waters therefore preventing the dam from being breached. (The state is currently of the opinion that breaching old dams, which were needed in the past by many mills in the area, is a good alternative both for the environment and instead of costly repairs and maintenance.) The boat ramp gives the public access to the Pond. Our ramp is state property which for many years was managed by the state through the Public Access Board and the staff of the Douglas State Forest.

Many years ago, the MPA membership petitioned the Town of Sutton to provide more involvement/patroling of the ramp specifically preventing parking on Torrey, Parker and Irma Jones Roads when the boat ramp is full, providing a port-o-let for boaters who spend the day at Blueberry Island, and keeping the boat ramp off limits in the wee hours of the night. Sutton agreed to manage and still does with a gatekeeper who monitors usage on weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Cemetery Commission who mows, and has the port-o-let brought in for users. The Board of Selectman's secretary also registers/monitors the bass fishing clubs which use the lake for tournaments.

The MPA years ago assisted the town with the take over by presenting a feasibility study, pointing out that a fee could be charged to regain the $$ spent for the gatekeeper and port-o-let. The MPA President at the time also secure from the state the gate and a boat for the police department and the MPA donated $$ to equipted the boat with the necessary safety equiptment.

Today's Flow as Viewed from the Dam

A look at the flow from the spillway (dry!), the broken gate (white water) and on to Steven's pond!


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