Saturday, June 30, 2007

Begin the weekend in silence!

Last night's Manchaug Pond...

This morning I noticed... the silence.

6:45 a.m. Besides a few songbirds chirping, there was silence - no boats, no jetskis, no music, no talking, and no roosters crowing in the distance.

7:05 a.m. The same... silence.

7:10 a.m. One bass boat roaring out of the channel from the Public Boat Ramp. One boat. Just one!

Why the silence? On the boat front, there are no fishing tournaments listed for this weekend and next! Two weeksends of sleeping late if you like or two weeksends of early morning peace :) Click the title of this post to link to the state ramp schedule to see for yourself.

If you are new to Manchaug Pond and the MPA, the State Public Access Boat Ramp used to open before 6:00 a.m. with the count and the roar of the bass boats occuring minutes later. It was at an MPA Annual Meeting inwhich our members asked John Hebert, then the Sutton Police Chief if the time could be delayed a bit. With a definite "yes" and a siting of current laws on allowable noise and reasonable times, immediate action was taken. Our thanks to Mr. Hebert who has since retired from the Police Dept, but continues to serve the community as a recently elected member of the Sutton Board of Selectman.
I should note that prior to the MPA's strong support and request for the Town management of the State Boat ramp, there was no gate or gatekeeper to monitor use of the ramp. User came round the clock, and once the parking spaces were filled, parked along the roadsides and on neighboring lawns. The gate is now closed when the ramp is full, and at 10:00 p.m. seven days a week and opened in the morning thanks to the dedication of our town gatekeeper.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Reading the Newspaper

In the News...

Today- Woman injured by a vehicle near Parker Road and Manchaug Road yesterday morning - Well that explains what all the sirens were about.

Yesterday-Mass Environmental Police announce increase in patrols on selected lakes across the state after recent jetski accidents.
Remember when operating a jetski that you must wear a life jacket, cannot operate between sunset and sunrise, cannot operate within 150 feet of a beach, cannot tow anything, and cannot operate if under 16 years old.

- In N.H. a woman pinned down a fox and held it there for 10 minutes waiting for police after it bit her daughter. Glad it wasn't our foxes from Manchaug Pond!.. You know I haven't seen a fox this year in Area 3. Wonder were the little ones who sat on my porch last year went to live.

Thursday - Two black bears eating at a bird feeder on a deck at a home on Coes Pond in Worester. Wasn't it just a few years ago a black bear was spotted here on Manchaug Pond in Area 5 eating seeds from a bird feeder! Take those feeders in early in the season!

- In Douglas, an article titled "Decision on watershed district near" hits home! Selectman in Douglas have been hard at work with legal counsel and the lake associations to craft a document they can fully support which would create a municipal district for Whitin Reservoir. Douglas consulted their legal counsel, having him review the document and make recommendations which they felt would protect both the interests of the town and the towns people. The lake associations' attorney incorporated the changes into the document addressing the board's concern over the flow into the Mumford River for the wastewater treatment plant downstream, as well as concerns over the powers of eminent domain and that the town appointed member of the district have voting rights. Progress!

I wonder what will be in the Sunday paper! :)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Haybale Maze?

My husband came home a few weeks ago with "You've got to see this!" Neither the property owner building the new summer cottage, my husband nor I had heard of this...
an access for critters mandated by the Conservation Commission!

It is a break in the fence which allows wildlife to come up from the lake yet still prevents erosion into the lake during construction. Wouldn't you know that beside this duck, a snapping turtle was found last week on the construction site! Each year a female snapper comes up from the lake at this house or the one next to it, crosses the road and heads up the neighbor's lawn to find a spot in the shrub bed to lay its eggs.

Incredible isn't it! And to think we could be living in a 3 decker in Worcester missing all this! :)

Enjoy the lake! Today was the longest day of the year I'm told.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Yesterday's Evening Cruise

A beautiful evening to kayak around the lake.
This mother and daughter from Douglas access the lake from our State Boat Ramp for a trip around the lake after supper.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Water Transparency and the Secchi Disk Test

This is a photo taken from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency NOT our MPA volunteer actually performing the annual Secchi test on Manchaug Pond.

I've been "visiting" the land of 10,000 lakes on the web as they seem to be very committed to water quality as well as experienced in taking action! For instance, through legislation Minnesota has used watershed districts since 1955 to protect their many lakes. One source reported 49 watershed districts, another 249! They have the statutes and regulations all layed out as to how the district functions, its purpose and powers. They even have a professional association for the watershed districts! Anyway lets get back to the Secchi test!

What is a Secchi? Well, every MPA Annual Meeting, our gentlemen experienced Secchi volunteer gives a quick overview and a report. He has been doing it for years! Thanks Don! (Oh sorry, I'm not suppose to use names, but couldn't resist!) Minnesota reports: "Secchi transparency (clarity) is a quick and easy measurement of lake's water quality. Secchi transparency provides an indirect measure of the amount of suspended material in the water; which in many Minnesota lakes - is the amount of algae in the water." Here in swallow Manchaug Pond we not only see algae but also sediment and organic material (decomposing pine needles, leaves, etc) brought in by erosion and runoff from the watershed.

The Secchi disk is one small monitoring device we have been using for many years on Manchaug Pond. Our efforts with the Nonpoint Source Pollution Grant project and the watershed district are actions we are and can take to keep our lake healthy. This positively impacts down stream as well- Steven's Pond, the Mumford River, the Blackstone...

Click the title of this post to take you to a site which shows the Secchi disk in action. "Watch the slide show that follows the change in Secchi transparency for Minnesota lakes from four different classifications of lake water quality." Note that as the water warms, algae growth increases causing water clarity to decrease.

Click on to the title of this post to take you to the Secchi slideshow! And stay tuned for more information :)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Lake Views from the Board Meeting

A recent Board meeting held on the Douglas shore provided these views for those attending. What a peaceful cove!

Also, we are in need of an area representative from Area 3 to serve on the Board of Directors. The husband and wife team who served this area recently sold their home on the lake. If you are interested in taking a more active role, learning more of the details effecting our lake and the association and could spare a Thursday evening now and then let me know!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Salute! Yesterday was Flag Day!

Flags fly high and proud on Manchaug Pond!

Makes me think to look ahead, as in less than a month we will celebrate our nation's birth on July 4th. Decorate your boat, your home, or both! We'll post photos! Also mark your calendar for the lighting of flares around the shore will take place on July 3rd with flares available at the area campground stores or from your area representatives.

Also mark down the Annual Meeting scheduled for Saturday, August 18th. The menu, speaker and other details are being worked out. At the last board meeting, it was actually brought up that we should forget about the brownies from Helen's bakery and go with ice cream! Another individual suggested, since our chef sold her home on the lake, that we have grinders from a local pizza place rather than our traditional hamburgers, hotdogs and corn on the cob! 40 years of success and now a suggestion to change the menu! Radical, don't you think!

ACTUALLY, email your suggestions right here and we'll get them to the Board of Directors!!

(I need to figure out how to put one of those survey/polls on the blog!)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Lake Quiet!

The lake remains quiet except for the roar of the bass boats on weekend mornings. Why the quiet, well the weather is cool and the children are still in school so families are not yet camping and down at their summer homes.

Jetski accidents on Indian Lake and Lake Quinsigamond have been the recent buzz in the newspapers. Inexperienced and young operators are often sighted as the reason for the crashes. We have the potential for the same sort of thing here on Manchaug Pond with new operators coming off the boat ramp. Generally the operators living on the lake have years of experience with boats, the layout of the lake and those rocks and walls, and the traffic patterns and busy areas.

Click this link or the title of this post to review boat safety regulations in Massachusetts or to take the FREE online Boat Safety Test/Certificate!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Why Did the Snapper Cross the Road?

... to get back to the lake!

This beauty was crossing Parker Road in Sutton this afternoon headed down the bank to the area just after the dam between Manchaug and Stevens Ponds. I suspect this is a female who has laid her eggs in the lawn of the first home on the left as you are heading to the village of Manchaug. The previous owner was a friend who would call us each year to watch the young snappers emerge from the sand at the edge of the lawn and run down her driveway heading for water.

If you read your latest issue of Massachusetts Wildlife you would know that "snappers rarely leave the water except to lay their eggs or to move between wetlands." The article reports the findings of a recent study conducted in Grafton, Massachusetts on turtle road mortality.

Click the title of this post to be linked to It is a great publication - beautiful photographs and interesting articles - also one of the editors is a regular here at Manchaug Pond. My husband met him one sunny winter day ice fishing.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

View of Manchaug Pond from Space :)

Click the link (the title of this post) for a satellite view of Manchaug Pond. This is the watershed which feeds water into our lake. Note the islands, and the sandbar which is all that is left to Blueberry Island. Remember that years ago back to the original level of the lake, that the island/sandbar was part of the mainland! What highwater can do!

If you zoom in you can find your house but you won't be able to see if someone is in your driveway as the photo is not from today - no leaves on the trees! :))

Zoom out for a better view of Stevens Pond or even further yet of Whitin Reservoir and beyond!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Healthy Lawns and Landscapes in Your Watershed

May 16th or so, our MPA 1st Vice President attended a MA Department of Environmental Protection workshop in Marlboro titled Healthy Lawn and Landscapes in Your Watershed.

She brought back a lot of information which the MPA will be bring to you - basics on "how to improve water quality, preserve water supply and save time and money on your yard." Specifically you will receive helpful info on caring for your lawn, effective alternatives to pesticides and chemical fertilizers, composting, plantings of grasses, shrubs and trees to eliminate run-off and more, more, more.

Here's a sample of a few basic tips on

~Mow only when the grass is dry to get a clean cut and minimize the spread of disease.

~Mow grass to a height of 2 1/2-3 inches (3" is best!) as the longer the grass, the more water is retained and the longer the roots of your lawn will be making it stronger and more tolerant. Keeping you grass longer also may allow it to outcompete weeds thus reducing the need for herbicides. Hand pick dandelions and other broadleaf weed from your lawn as you spot them - No need for costly weed killers!

~Sharpen mower blades every year to avoid damaging individual grass blades. A clean cut helps prevent disease in the lawn.

~Do NOT dispose of grass clippings in or near the lake. The clippings will break down and encourage the growth of algae which depletes the oxygen in the water and impacts fish and other aquatic species. Leave clippings on the lawn or compost them.

This is all brought to you as part of the Manchaug Pond Nonpoint Source Pollution Improvement Poject courtesy of your MPA and the Mass DEP under a 319 s. Non Point Source Pollution Grant Award.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Wildflowers, Owls and the Old Snapping Turtle in Area 7

Area 7 boasts an owl, a massive old snapping turtle swimming, as well as wildflowers along the roadsides. Here's a few of the flowers to be seen.

Can you name them?


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