Friday, April 20, 2007

Waterlevel Stablizes at 3 '' Over Full

Here's an update on the water level for those of you who can't just look out the window!

As of yesterday we are 3 inches over full but the height of the water on Manchaug Pond had leveled off, with no change reported in a 24 hour period.

Last Saturday morning while the sun was shining and before the rains came, the low flow gate was opened to the max. It remained open as the rains came down bringing 5 inches or more to the area. The significant run-off from a saturated soil of the watershed accounts for heavy water running into the lake and the considerable increase in the level. With the lake on a steady rise and an over full level, flooding was the concern. - some homeowners already reporting damage to docks and sunk boats. Weds morning a board was taken out of the spillway to further arrest the rising waters. Thursday morning's reading showed success with no increase in the water level.

Driving around the lake earlier in the week, on Manchaug Road in Sutton and on Oak Street, Douglas, I could see how the storm drain grant will not only benefit the lake but also the roadways where large puddles form and streams of water slow traffic and make for ice conditions in cooler temperatures.

Blue skys, warmer temperatures, and no rain are in sight for the weekend. Last evening I watched an eagle circle and glide high above the treetops over Torrey Road for quite a while and then head across the lake toward Area 8. Seems this magestic bird was also enjoying the spring sunshine.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Bald Eagle Preliminary Count

Released January 29, 2007

"Preliminary eagle count reports from a concentrated surveying effort on January 5, 2007, by MassWildlife staff and volunteer observers resulted in 49 American Bald Eagles and 1 Golden Eagle. This event was part of a two week nationwide Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey conducted annually in January. Sightings from observers and other interested citizens are still coming into the office. These reports will be compiled and analyzed at a later date.

A tally of eagle sightings by area from the January 5th survey are as follows: 21 --Quabbin Reservoir (16 adults, 5 immature); 11 -- CT River (adults); 2 -- Westfield River (adults); 1 -- Sandisfield (adult); 1 -- Blandford (adult); 2-- Wachusett Reservoir (adults); 3 -- Merrimack River (adults); 6 -- Lakeville/Middleboro area (4 adults, 2 immature); 2 -- Watuppa Pond, Fall River (adults); 1 -- Westport River, Westport (adult); 1 -- Great Herring Pond, Plymouth (adult). The Golden eagle and two new eagle nests were seen at the Quabbin Reservoir. As of 2006, there were at least 25 known nesting territories in the state with successful fledging of 16 eaglets.

Eagle restoration efforts have been funded over the years from a number of sources; funding has come from the former Bank of Boston, and hunting and fishing license fees (Massachusetts' Inland Fish & Game Fund), the Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Fund, as well as support from National Grid, federal aid from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Massachusetts Audubon Society. Citizens who wish to contribute to other protection and restoration efforts for important rare wildlife and their habitat can donate directly to the Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Fund or contribute on the "endangered wildlife conservation" line on your Massachusetts income tax form with all such contributions being deposited into the Fund. To those who have donated over the years: Thank You! For those who haven't, please join us in supporting this important wildlife conservation effort."

Friday, April 06, 2007

Water Over the Causeway

The waterlevel is up! The two inches plus of rain and the inch of snow
cover has the water level up so that the causeway wall is under water
and the Big Rock at the other end of the lake as of yesterday only had
about 6 inches showing. The water is roaring out of the Manchaug dam but
the dam at Sutton Falls is also roaring. The water coming in, rain, snow melt and runoff from the watershed is bringing us ever closer to full! (Remember Lycott Environmental told us our lake was fed by runoff from the watershed not spring fed.)

Also the spring newsletter is in the making. If you would like to submit an
article, historical piece, question to the Skipper or an editorial, children's piece,
classified advertisement or announcement - all are welcome! I did have two individuals ask if their name could be left off their submission. Fine by me, but please be sure to credit original authors, or references for historical pieces, and quotes.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Why the Grant for a Non-point Source Pollution Project?

Many may think the lake is in great shape but those who have enjoyed it's waters for 20, 30 or more years tell a different story. "You could see the bottom clearly!" and less weeds!

Today's Telegram and Gazette ran an article about new EPA regulations and the Route 20 sewage treatment plant. "Environmental officials have attributed low oxygen levels in the bay (Narragansett Bay in Rhodes Island) to the Blackstone River, and in part to the wastewater treatment facility and to companies that border the river," the article reports. There is some debate whether or not the treatment plant is really to blame. The concern is the "release of nitrogen and phosphorus nutrients which increase algae and other plant life that, when the die, reduce oxygen in the water."

What does this have to do with Manchaug Pond, you ask? Well, let me quote a description from our grant project: "The Pond (Manchaug) is 303d listed impaired by organic enrichment, low dissolved oxygen, and noxious aquatic plants and exotic species. Manchaug Pond directly feeds the Mumford River, which leads to the Blackstone River, both rivers are also 303d waterbodies." Now clearly the Route 20 facility has nothing to do with us, but our lake is suffering similar problems and feeds both the Blackstone and the Bay. The grant project directly targets the primary causes of water quality problems in the pond. The first component of the project identifies seven prioritized sites, 5 in Sutton and 2 in Douglas, where roadway runoff will be controlled and filtered. This will reduce nutrients, sediments and erosion.

Three other components of the project will use education as a means of reducing and or eliminating other nonpoint pollution stemming from homeowner practices and horsekeeping activies.

A spokesman for the EPA was quoted in the Telegram as saying of the Blackstone and the Bay, "It's a less healthy ecosystem. It's not able to sustain the eco-life and fish and water systems that you would want to see."

The MPA continues to fulfill its mission statement: "To promote the welfare and correct use of Manchaug Pond and the contiguous area."

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A Boat Ramp in the News

Manchaug Pond Public Boat Ramp Winter 2007

Today I found an interesting article in the Worcester Telegram which
tells of an effort to build a boat launch at South Meadow Pond in
Clinton. What I found interesting is that the state Office of Fishing
and Boating is supporting a small ramp which allows "only boats that
can be brought in on top of cars, such as canoes and kayaks."
Fishermen, the neighboring property owner and the Town - Selectman,
Department Heads and a subcommittee - support a larger ramp which
would allow the parking of cars with trailers. Mr. Jack Sheppard,
Director of the state Department of Fish and Game, which encompasses the
fishing and boating access office, believes "the pond size, wetland
considerations and financial factors dictate that a car-top access is
most appropriate for this location."

The Manchaug Pond boat ramp is also a ramp under the jurisdiction of the Department of Fish and Game, presently managed by the Town of Sutton. Previously it was managed by the DEM. Overuse, illegal parking of the Torrey Road and neighbors' property, dumping on Blueberry Island are among the reasons the MPA asked for town management which include a gate, port-o-let and a gatekeeper on weekends during the season.

For more info:
This site offers maps of state ponds by town and then if you click the site you get a topographical view.

For a list of all the Public Access Boat Ramps visit this site of the Dept.
of Fish and Game. Click the numbers to the far right for their list of
fish prevalent at each pond.


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