Saturday, December 13, 2008

Manchaug Pond's Waterlevel

Yesterday, while the ice storm did not hit the lake, the rainfall is bringing in volumes of water primarily runoff from the watershed. The lake level has been maintained at a much higher level than usual this fall so it will be something to watch.

The following photos, also taken yesterday, show water coming in from the watershed at two locations: Lackey Road and Aldrich Pond. The flow also brought out the Town's Highway Department staff to clear ditches on Manchaug Road.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

October, November, and now December POSTPONED!

BELIEVE IT OR NOT! it is official.... The continuation of the Sutton Conservation Commission Public Hearing to consider the changes proposed by the Manchaug Pond dam ownerHAS BEEN POSTPONED to JANUARY!

... so much for the dam owner and the town working to get the waterlevel down to its lowest level before December 1 as recommended by the MASS Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. December 1 in order to protect "Amphibians, reptiles and other aquatic organisms (who) need to be able to move to deeper water before ice formation and substrate freezing. etc." So much for my spring peepers and others who were eliminated from the cove behind my home last year because of the new waterlevel. So much for 15 years of good, state-of-the-art, cost-free control of invasive exotic aquatic weed species as recommended by Lycott Environmental.

Can't blog now.... while others ponder, the MPA is busy.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dam/Waterlevel Mtg POSPONED to Dec. 3rd

The Sutton Conservation Commission public hearing to consider the changes proposed by Manchaug Pond dam owner HAS BEEN POSTPONED from Wednesday, November 19th to WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 3RD!

Stay tuned....

Monday, November 03, 2008

Date Changed Again - Con Comm/Dam Owner Hearing

Notice to our members that the dam owner has requested another continuance to November 19th for the Sutton Conservation Commission meeting. The time will be posted when the schedule is set.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

UPDATE - Sutton Con. Comm / Dam Owner Hearing

A notice to our members that the hearing that was originally to take place on October 15th has been rescheduled for Wednesday November 5th at 8:05 PM at the Sutton Town Hall.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Remembering a Dear Friend of Manchaug Pond

It was with great sadness that the MPA learned today of the passing of Fuddy Colonero, our dam caretaker. Pictured here (center) at an MPA Annual Meeting a few years ago, there was no one more dedicated to his work than Fuddy. As an employee of the Guilford mill in Douglas, his charge was the waterlevels and dams of the Manchaug and Whitin Reservoirs.

Many of us knew Fuddy very well, seeing him each morning just after 7 a.m. checking the Manchaug Pond dam and waterlevel. He would also call the MPA often giving us details to pass on to the residents around the "reservoi" as to what he and "Mother Nature" were planning - telling me specifically how many inches we were open, what the weather forecast was, how many inches we were up or down, and how we compared to Whitins or to years past. One day he even came to my door with a gift of his delicious homemade Italian cookies. He was a friend to us and to the lake he served.

He would also be sure to tell you that the weather channel was on at his house 24/7. He knew our lake, he knew the dam, and he worked with our organization to address our concerns and issues. He watched the lowest property on the lake to keep it from flooding but yet kept the water as high as he could to keep us all happy. Yes, sometimes things wouldn't work quite right and "Mother Nature" wouldn't cooperate with him by providing enough snow cover or rainfall - but Fuddy had the data and knew the ins and outs of it all and would tell you about it. He worked with the association to fine tune the timing and extent of the draw down to impact the aquatic weeds and he attended Annual Meetings and a committee meeting here and there to explain the priorities of the mill and its use of our water. His commitment to Manchaug Pond was above reproach. He wore his MPA hat and sweatshirt well.

Fuddy has been greatly missed here on Manchaug Pond! and will continue to be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fall Lake Clean Up

Litter and Coffee Cups and Trash, on my!

It took a while to find a coffee cup that did not incriminate one store over another. The Fall 2008 Lake Clean up will be this Saturday October 25th and Sunday October 26th from 9-12. We will meet at the boat ramp and trash bags will be issued. With each cleaning event there has been a decrease in the amount of trash that is hauled away which is GREAT news. Your efforts go a long way in keeping the lake clean and beautiful!
Here is a picture of some choice pieces found at our prior clean up...... I did not know there were elephants in Sutton but we found one.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Working on the Dam

Anonymous said...

went by the lake today 10/17/08 and they were working on the dam!!
October 17, 2008 2:59 PM

Thanks for posting! Yes, I understand from conversations this summer that the dam owner had hired R. H. White to conduct the annual routine maintenance on the dam. I suspect this is the work currently being done.

Let me report that on July 27th of this year, the MPA President expressed concern to the dam owner that the routine annual maintenance and repairs had not been addressed last year nor this year. On August 4th the dam owner informed the MPA that money had been allocated to have trees and brush cut as well as routine patch work in the wall and outlet and minor repairs to the sleeve of the culvert. This is good news as we do not want the dam to fall into disrepair.

Thanks again for your input!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Notice-Sutton Conservation Comm. Meeting

The dam owner has requested a postponement of the October 15th meeting to November 5th. The time has not been determined as of yet but will be posted when it is set.

Here is some fall foliage for our readers that are not here to see the spectacular show we have this year!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sutton Con Comm Meeting

The dam owner has requested a postponement of the Notice of Intent continuance meeting with the Sutton Con Comm to November 5th. I will let everyone know when they post the time. Please let interested people in your area know of this.

5-Nov-2008 Wednesday CONTINUATION OF SUTTON CONSERVATION COMMISION PUBLIC HEARING for Notice of Intent filed by Manchaug Reservoir Corp. to lower waterlevel of Manchaug Pond. Location: Sutton Town Hall, Uxbridge Road, Sutton. Meeting starts at 7:00 P.M. with agenda posted 5 days prior. All interested persons are encouraged to attend. Written testimony and concerns about the impact to Manchaug Pond wetlands, coves, and wildlife, etc. can be submitted anytime to the Sutton Conservation Commission, Sutton Town Hall, Uxbridge Road, Sutton, MA 01590.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Waters Farm Days

As with sunsets, you can never have take too many pictures of Manchaug Pond. This was taken Saturday morning before the Waters Farm Fall Festival opened. During both days it was amazing the number of comments about what a beautiful lake this is and how much of a treasure Waters Farm and the lake must be to the town. We are very fortunate. The people involved with the Waters Farm Preservation do an outstanding job of putting this event together. The Waters Farm Days is run entirely by volunteers who average over 20,000 hours each year to ensure the success of the farm and the Waters Farm Festival. Their hard work makes this event such a success. There is something for everyone with shingle making demonstrations, tractor pulls, house tours, blacksmithing, sugaring demonstrations and pony rides just to name a few. I am hard pressed to say what my favorite was but I did have the absolutely BEST apple crisp I have ever eaten...can't wait for next year!

Save the dates - October 3rd and 4th 2009 will be the 30th annual Waters Farm Days Festival.

Friday, October 03, 2008

MPA at Waters Farm Days - Octber 4th and 5th

This year the Manchaug Pond Association will be exhibiting at the WATERS FARM 29th Annual Fall Farm Days & Festival Saturday, October 4th and Sunday, October 5th 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day.

The MPA educational exhibit will assist you the homeowner as to the best practices you can employ around your home and landscape to protect our water resources. We all live in a watershed whether it be the watershed of Manchaug Pond, the Blackstone River or another great water resource. The exhibit will be staffed by a member of our Board of Directors and provides many handouts for you to take home.

Stop by while you are visiting the farm!

(click the link/post title for more information on the Farm Days!)

Check out these photos taken in 2006.

Did you know that Dorothea Waters Moran served as secretary of the Manchaug Pond Association?

Monday, September 29, 2008

319 Grant Progress, Thank You Town of Douglas!

I know this picture is not too exciting at first but it is a very special "hole in the ground".

We are very fortunate to be living in a state that supports lakes and ponds through grants like the 319 NPS (non point source pollution) grant that the MPA received last spring. There are several aspects to the grant such as educational outreach programs as well as structural modifications around Manchaug Pond that are designed to filter "first flush" nutrients that enter the lake when there is a rain storm and feed the weeds that are in the lake. These nutrients come from fertilizers, lawn herbicides, animal waste, automobile tires, and general pollution.

Our grant has seven sites that are scheduled to be worked on this fall. I was thrilled to come back after working out of town to see that the two Douglas sites have been completed which are located on Holt Road between Manchaug Campground and King's Campground.
A very BIG thank you to the town of Douglas for completing the work so quickly!
I took a ride to check them out Saturday afternoon during the rain storm and they are working perfectly. The photo above is Site #6 which has a gabion and purge pool. This site will annually filter 265 lbs of total suspended solids (TSS) per year as well as Phosphorous and Nitrogen. Site #7 down the road will eliminate 975 lbs of suspended solids per year. Combined these sites will eliminate a total of 1,240 lbs. of TSS, 1.42 lbs of Phosphorous and 7.5 lbs of Nitrogen per year.

It gets better. When completed, the 5 sites that are in Sutton will eliminate 5,361 total suspended solids, 9.24 lbs phosphorus, and 35.62 lbs. of Nitrogen from directly entering Manchaug Pond. The seven sites sites will filter over 3 TONS of pollution annually....those will be very impressive "holes in the ground".

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fall Drawdown to Begin

Yesterday, our dam owner called the MPA President to inform all of you that the fall drawdown of the water level has begun. The gates have been opened to bring the water down to the fall rule curve level. Hurricane Hanna earlier this month did bring the level up above their curve, and yes I know, perhaps the highest our water has been this summer. But it is time to bring it back down.

Don't panic! I know many of us have been longing for higher water all summer -especially those of us down the channel, in the coves and on the shallower Sutton side - but let's remember it is the end of the season. The water has to be brought down before November. Brought down before the critters overwinter in mud, before the lake begins to freeze, and brought down for the weed control.

Here's a little outline/summary of the timing of lake-level drawdown for weed control from the Lycott Enviromental's fact sheet. The drawdown reduces the number of weeds by leaving them exposed and/or freezing them. Those resistant to freezing can actually be pulled from the sediment when the ice layer is raised as the the water level is quickly brought up. This method was recommended to the MPA back in 1990 and again in 2003 by Lee Lyman of Lycott for us here on Manchaug:

~ Gradually begin the drawdown mid-September to early October taking the level "down at a rate of approximately one-to-two inches per day" to "allow certain aquatic organisms such as fresh water mussels, crayfish, turtles and amphibians to migrate to deeper portions of the water body to over-winter."

~ The lowered water level should be maintained during November and December until there is a prolonged period (5-7 days) of temperatures below 15 degrees F.”

~ Refilling should begin in “early January regardless of the weather conditions.” This eliminates concerns of unsafe ice in March and ensures successful refill as “the water body should not be in a lowered condition during the spring and/or early summer, as terrestrial plants will flourish on the exposed sediment...”

MPA has worked with the dam caretaker since 1990 to fine tune the fall/winter drawdown so as to control the weeds without having to use herbicides. Yes, some years it didn't happen or the weather wasn't with us but on the whole it has been a cost free, effective method for Manchaug Pond. We are hoping the new rule curve effort will include the weed control program in its scope.

Thank you to the dam owner for the courtesy call. Much appreciated!

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Big Guy!

Titled "The Big Guy", this photo was emailed to me this week. I had to share it with you!

THe lobster is not native to Manchaug Pond nor was he found here but the diver is! It was also reported that the lobster was released as he was too big to take home!

Dam Owner Calls MPA to Report Change in Water level

Today the MPA President received a call from the dam owner.

The reason we're open? My guess would be Hanna, Ike and the other potential storms of the Hurricane Season which give the dam owner a legitimate reason to open things up. Even though we still haven't reached our summer high for waterlevel yet. Also the previous caretaker would have given the MPA a courtesy call notify us of the opening- reason and how much - so we could "let the people around the lake know." We had a friendly working relationship with him, it would be nice if that continued with the two new caretakers. Perhaps the dam owner's spokesman will call next week with an update.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Public Hearing Continued to Oct 15

Last night the Sutton Conservation Commission once again took up the subject of dam owner's proposed new lower water level. I'll give you more details later today.... but for now...

The public still has an opportunity to submit comments and concerns as to the impact of this low water level on the wetlands, wildlife, etc to the Commission....

and we hope to see you Oct 15th at 7:00, Sutton Town Hall for the next meeting.

This is a 2006 file photo of the cove at the Old Holbrook Campground. Try fishing at that campsite! Looks more like a bog than a lake!

Tonight: 9:15 at Sutton Con. Com Mtg

Manchaug Pond is on the agenda for 9:15... the time was just confirmed by our 1st VP at the Town Hall... and they have a quorum.

See you there.

Should I mention that I submitted the requested documentation proving we have fanwort -a 2003 Aquatic Weed Survey conducted by Lycott Environmental as well as information on lake level drawdown, timing of when to lower and when to raise as well as other info.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Con Com Mtg Tomorrow Night

The continuation of the Sutton Conservation Commission's review of the new water level for Manchaug Pond proposed by the dam owner is slated for this Wednesday, September 17th in the Sutton Town Hall.

As of yesterday the secretary reported that this item is scheduled for 9:15 p.m. on the agenda. But stay tuned, I'll report here if there is a change... rumor has it that due to the large turnout and the time needed to consider the topic, the Con Com may postpone to a separate Wed. where it would be a stand alone issue at that meeting.

Will keep you posted.

Here's a photo of the Old Holbrook Place campground in 2006 when the dam owner took the water down to make repairs. You can see that Manchaug Pond, especially on the Sutton side, is very shallow. Taking the water level down 3-4 feet can leave quite a few docks stranded, coves dry and the water yards away from the shore.

Looking at this makes it very easy to understand why timing with a drawdown is SO important - why the fish kill, why boats hit rocks, how docks became useless, why wildlife was lost in the coves, and why neighboring wetlands dried this summer, etc., etc.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Water is flowing...

Yes the water is flowing and yes the blog has been too quiet.

And you asked what's new?

Today, Monday is a beautiful, cool sunny day on Manchaug Pond in the mid 60s.

Yesterday was just as beautiful with a breeze.

Saturday into Sunday early morning, Manchaug Pond received a total of 5 inches of rainfall from the remnant of hurricane Hanna. Water is running downstream from Manchaug Pond out the low-level gate and under the flashboards.

Friday, two "men in boots" were at the dam opening things up - the lowlevel gate was opened a good amount letting white water flow and the sandbags were removed from the spillway flashboards
so water could flow beneath them (remember the little stone situated under the bottom flashboard allowing water to run out the spillway even with the flashboards in...)
The reason we're open? My guess would be Hanna, Ike and the other potential storms ofHurricane Season which give the dam owner a legitimate reason to open things up. Even though we still haven't reached our summer high for waterlevel yet. Also the previous caretaker would have given the MPA a courtesy call notify us of the opening- reason and how much - so we could "let the people around the lake know." We had a friendly working relationship with him, it would be nice if that continued with the two new caretakers. Perhaps the dam owner's spokesman will call next week with an update.

Thursday. What was notable about Thursday? Well, noon was the deadline for the dam owner to get back to the Sutton Conservation Commission about the peer/third party review of their Operations and Management Plan for Manchaug Pond. The Con Comm had asked an environemental engineering company, Fuss & O'Neil, to do the review at a cost of $12,000 to be paid by the dam owner.

Weds. night the dam owner went before the Sutton Conservation Commission with a request/Notice of Intent to take a new "cautious position" in controlling the water level of Manchaug Pond at the recommendation of their engineer who is concerned about old Dam Safety Regulations. Specifically, the plan looks to follow a 1930 rule curve which the dam owner nor the previous owner followed. If the dam owner has its way, this will result in the water kept lower throughout the spring, summer and fall seasons with a lower peak finally reached June 1 and sloping right back down.

The way it was presented they didn't want to take it down to the low 1930 rule curve and agreed it was cautious and the recommendation came as a surprise to them - a real catch-22 situation- but they do have to answer to the Office of Dam Safety and operate on the side of caution and limit risk and liability.

Sooo Manchaug Pond forget your fishkills, dry coves and wetlands, recreational boating, useless docks, etc...

Information was presented by the dam owner, but sad to say their spokesperson had Manchaug mixed up with our sister pond, Whitin Reservoir. We understand that Manchaug's flashboard measure 3.5 feet not 2.7, Manchaug is tied hydrologically to Whitin Reservoir but it was Whitins which overflows into Manchaug, and their are 2,000 + dams in the state not 5,000 and if you look at the dam safety reports you'll see historically higher water levels than the reworked graphs the NOI (Notice of Intent) show. Also we understand that the gauge downstream reports the combined flow from Manchaug and Whitins... anyway... the meeting was a bit confusing not to mention you could hear the meeting in the next room better than the speaker in the Selectman's Room... the meeting was

continued to September 17th.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Join the Public Hearing for the Manchaug Pond Waterlevel!

3-Sep-2008 Wednesday 7:00PM

Sutton Conservation Commission
Sutton Town Hall, 4 Uxbridge Road, Sutton.

Come stand with the Manchaug Pond Association in support of the lake by attending this important meeting. Of concern is the dam owner’s new plan to further lower the water level. We have already experienced negative impacts to our lake with the drying of coves, wetland and channel areas; major fish kills involving all species; decline or loss of spring peepers/amphibian populations; excessive weed growth; public safety hazards from exposed rocks; loss of revenue to town and area businesses with drop in visitors to the State Public Access Boat Ramp and campgrounds.

See what it is all about!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Caught in an Artic Votex

Where have I been?! July 28th was my last blog entry here, snuck in the one on August 2nd and now another dated August 14th! The blog has been in a big void especially with everything going on. The weatherman says we have been in an arctic vortex.... sure!

Sure! I can definitely relate to that! Look at the photo of a whole lane of artic vortexes! But with all this exceptionally rainy season, the dam owner's representative reported the lake had come up only 11 inches by July 30. Two months later with plenty of help from nature, the dam owner missed by a few feet their new "Full" date goal of June 1st.

The weather has been swirling around us bring in storm after storm. But so has life and the issues the MPA is facing on behalf of Manchaug Pond. We are the busiest we have been in years! Save Wednesday evening, September 3rd on your calendar for Manchaug Pond.

Stay tuned and the next post will give you a major update!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Going back to read the comments...

Hello readers! Lets go back and read the three comments posted after the last blog entry just to catch us up with life!

Blogger leslie said...

I am a seasonal resident on Lake Manchug, after reading this article I didn't see anything that said the water level would not be an issue again next year. Is there something that the seasonal residents can do to ensure this does not happen again. Can the company that has rights to the dam leave it open again next year.

July 30, 2008 8:20 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would have asked the governor if he would commit to fast track legislation to have the Office of Dam Safety take ownership and control of the Manchaug Pond Dam. The Office of Dam Safety currently controls 341 dams throughout the state, Manchaug Pond should also be one of them.

Manchaug Pond is a Great Pond and should have enough water in it to be enjoyed by the Commonwealth(read all about it in Chapter 91, The Massachusetts Public Waterfront Act of 1866). From the website "Through Chapter 91, the Commonwealth seeks to preserve and protect the rights of the public and to guarantee that private uses of tidelands and waterways serve a proper public purpose."


July 30, 2008 8:55 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess the question I would ask is plain and simple is how do we not have this promblem next year! The sad thing is that I am only a camper on the pond and we save 12 months out of the year to be there. The main reason we are there is for the joy of the water with our boat which has been sitting on its trailer. But if there is no water then there is no reason for most of us campers to be there a lot of us will be leaving the area!!

August 01, 2008 7:22 PM

more to come...

Monday, July 28, 2008

MPA Talks With Governor Deval Patrick

Who cares about Manchaug Pond today? Who cares about our low water level? Who cares that some property owners around the lake still can't get their motorboat in the water? Who cares Manchaug had a major fish kill with over 200 dead fish counted in three locations? Who cares that the spring peepers are gone from one of our coves because it is dry? Who cares that the yearly routine maintenance on the dam didn't happen last year and hasn't happen yet this year? Who cares that gate receipts at the state ramp are down as visitors don't like low water, hitting rocks and broken props?

Who cares?

The MPA cares! 100 members strong, with over 40 years of stewardship, the MPA continues telling others why they need to care about Manchaug Pond.

Rep. Kujawski suggested to a couple MPA members who live in his district that they attend the Governor's Town Meeting Tour in Webster to talk about Manchaug Pond.

Rep. Kujawski cares about Manchaug Pond.

Last Wednesday, the MPA came face to face with Governor Deval Patrick!
Right there at Bartlett High School in Webster the MPA spoke for you to the Governor.

Wait! First... tell me what you would say if you had a chance to put one question before our Governor - up close and personal like!? Think a minute... you're at the mic... this is your moment... the floor is all yours.... everyone is quiet and waiting! What would you ask Governor Deval Patrick for Manchaug Pond? Tell us!

The MPA President Dave Schmidt asked the Governor the "big" Manchaug Pond question! and you know...

The Governor already knew about Manchaug Pond. The Governor cares!

Comment below with your question! Tells us what you think the MPA President should have said!

Read about the Governor's tour at
(The Telegram didn't care about Manchaug Pond and our question but they did care about the Governor visiting our district. :))

(Thanks to MPA 1st Vice President Marty Jo Henry for her photos!)

MPA continues to built sound relationships around town, around the county and around the state and a network of allies for Manchaug Pond.

(Do you want to hear the MPA question?! Let us hear your's first!)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

From Sunday to Sunday - 10 inches of rain!

From last Sunday to today we have had numerous thunderstorms bring us a total of over 10 inches of rain by the little garden rain gauge!

This photo of the flash boards taken on Friday showed 4 1/2 boards out of 7 still exposed. The waterlevel should continue to go up as runoff water flows in from the watershed and of course with more rain in the forecast.

Tonight's sunset was exceptionally beautiful after the thunderstorm. And my husband reports the old 28ft pontoon boat is finally floating - front and back!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Clouds were building for this much needed rain!

When I took the photos of the contrails, the clouds were building for the much needed rain we are now finally receiving. With the warm weather, the lake was going down further and further reaching a point where many of us were loosing the couple inches of water that made it possible to get our boats out on the lake. Worcester County has been receiving rain but not here on Manchaug Pond. As a neighbor put it "There's an umbrella over Manchaug with storms all around us!" I'd receive phone calls during the day from board members who work in Westboro, Northbridge and other areas of Worcester County, all excited to report the 2 inches of rain they were receiving to have me report dry conditions lake side. Well that is over as this week the skies have opened up on Manchaug Pond! Sunday afternoon brought almost an inch, Sunday night saw winds of 23.7 miles per hour with more rain to bring the total by Tuesday to over 2 1/2. Keep it coming!!

Skies the day of the contrails:

Area 2 looks like the Golden City!

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Couple photos taken the beginning of the week:

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Whitin Reservoir Watershed District in the news

Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Whitin Reservoir district gets ready to buy dam

Waterfront property owners pursue control


DOUGLAS— Residents who live or own property along Whitin Reservoir are moving along with plans to buy a dam that controls the water level.

The Whitin Reservoir Association recently completed all of the steps necessary to be able to call itself the Whitin Reservoir Watershed District.

The designation allows the group to act in many ways as a municipality; residents who started the push for the designation have made no secret that the main reason for forming the district was to allow them to buy a dam owned by Interface Fabrics, which operated the former Guilford of Maine plant on Gilboa Street until 2006.

The company has been looking to sell off assets in the area. Property owners on the reservoir have said that Interface was a good custodian of the dam, but they were nervous about what type of arrangement might be forced upon them if the ownership of the dam changed hands.

The group received support from selectmen for forming the watershed district, and in the spring the Legislature passed a special act establishing it.

Donald Virostek, a board member of the old association, helped guide it through the process of becoming a district.

He said the association met June 16 to formally establish itself as a watershed district and voted in a management committee. Mr. Virostek said 146 property owners live within the district and the vote to establish the district passed by a vote of 105-5.

Selectman John P. Bombara was elected chairman of the management committee. Larry Bombara, Thomas Anderson, and former Selectman Ronald Forget were also elected to the committee.

Selectmen voted to appoint Selectman Michael Hughes as the town’s representative on the committee. District voters also approved Mr. Virostek’s wife, Joyce Virostek, as district clerk, and Louise Anderson as district treasurer.

Mr. Virostek said the clerk and treasurer positions will be put up for election by the district yearly; he said the management committee positions will be staggered to avoid full turnover after elections.

Now that it is a district, the group will be able to raise money by imposing a tax on residents in the district separate from what residents pay in normal property tax to the town.

At the June 16 meeting, the district voted to appropriate $30,000 for appraisal fees, legal fees, and office expenses associated with a possible purchase of the dam.

John Bombara said he was glad to finally have the watershed district up and running. He said that besides the negotiations with Interface, there are no immediate plans to use the watershed district for anything else, such as raising money to keep invasive plant species out of the lake.

“It took two years to get to where we are,” Mr. Bombara said. “We haven’t discussed doing anything else, and with the plants, it hasn’t been too much of a problem for us here.”

Mr. Virostek said Interface Fabrics owns the land underneath the reservoir in addition to the dam that controls its water level. He said company officials have been cooperative and a lawyer representing the company at the June 16 meeting voted in favor of establishing the district. He said the two sides simply need to agree on a price.

The town has assessed the land at more than $1 million, but Mr. Virostek said that is basically a meaningless number and it’s not really a point of reference in the negotiations. He said Interface realizes the dam is not worth that much.

He said the district hopes to have an appraisal done on the property by the start of the fall and hopes to close on the deal by the end of the fall.

He said the water level is lower than usual this summer. Property owners along Manchaug Pond, which also has dams owned by Interface, are concerned about the water levels being too low. But Mr. Virostek said Whitin Reservoir, at least, is deep enough for recreational boating.

“It is as high as it can go,” Mr. Virostek said.

Monday, July 07, 2008

July 4th Weekend

What a weekend! The sights, sounds and smiles had to be experienced! My Canon PowerShot S100 digital elph fails to capture the moments of a great weekend.

The holiday started on the 3rd, Thursday evening, with a couple boats decorated with red, white and blue lights, our nation's flag, patriotic music to be joined by others in a parade around the lake - cut short all too soon by the sounds of fireworks and a few cottages beginning the holiday weekend with the traditional lighting of the shoreline with flares.

Friday the 4th was overcast but the rain never came as cookouts brought family and friends to the shores of Manchaug Pond. Out on the lake that evening a number of boats stayed out in the middle to have the best view of the flares lining the shore. Joining them, we had a boat come along side to ask when the town would begin the fireworks display! That was a good one! As neither Douglas nor Sutton had advertised fireworks this year and I doubt that Manchaug Pond would ever be chosen as a prefered location!

Saturday brought 3/4 of an inch of rain - badly needed on this lake. Every little bit makes it a little easier to push that pontoon boat off the rocks and into the lake! And there are still plenty of residents with boats high and dry1

Sunday ended the weekend with a bang as plenty of sunshine and no wind brought the most visitors the lake has seen this season. The lake was calm in the early morning hours with the old causeway a place of renewed interest making for a great fishing spot as well as providing a "beach" area to land a canoe or kayak from the ramp and swim off the wall or nearby rocks. I have to say it does make me nervous to watch kids swim in the channel when the big ski boats are approaching.

Blueberry Island, no longer the favorite spot to pick blueberries saw alot of activity yesterday as boat ramp visitors hauled coolers, tents, chairs and friends in tubes behind their jetski to claim their beach for the day. Others from the campgrounds and the ramp used the island to start their skiiers or just to walk the sandbar.

More fireworks are predicted in the form of big thunderstorms for today. Let's hope they bring the level of the lake higher.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Getting Ready for the 4th?

July 4th is big on Manchaug Pond. The plans and preparations are in the works for it all: decorated boats for the parade, the lighting of the shore the night before at 9:00 p.m. with flares, campfires, cookouts with family and friends, and fireworks here and there.

Be sure to hang those flags properly and with respect. On a pole - the US flag is on top. On a building - union or field of stars hung first on left. This site will give more details:

For the lighting of the shoreline: purchase your flares from your MPA Area Representative or at the campground store at the Old Holbrook Place campground or King's Campground. Price is $3.00 a piece or 2 for $5. These flares are obtained for the MPA from the town police department at cost.

Fireworks: They are illegal in Massachusetts but a number of Manchaug Pond property owners have hired a professional to put on great displays over the lake. Be safe!

The parade usually just starts up! This year we will have to do a little circle in the middle to avoid the rocks exposed by the low waterlevel in the coves. Sorry in advance to the residents down the causeway and to the campers at King's - I don't think a nighttime patriotic cruise would be wise this year in the shallows.

I promise pictures! Let us know how your celebration goes! Email photos I can post:

(And Kristen - hope you and your family have a wonderful homecoming on Manchaug Pond! I am sure you will have a blast even with the low water! :))

Monday, June 30, 2008

Massachusetts Outdoor Recreation Map

More tourism talk in the news! June 27th, the day after my last post, I received a news advisory from Mass Wildlife announcing the release of the Massachusetts Outdoor Recreation Map, a directory of what the state has to offer in outdoor attractions and activities.

Ian Bowles, Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), will release the map as part of Governor Patrick’s dedication to enhancing local tourism at a press conference July 1 at the Waldon Pond State Boat Ramp. The state explains that the "informational guide is a great resource and tool for visitors as well as residents. The guide features outdoor safety tips and ethics and helpful information such as locations of state parks, forests, reservations, beaches, and wildlife areas. The updated map is a collaboration between two EEA agencies: the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) and Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)." The map features Fishing & Boating Access Boat Launching Sites with our own Manchaug Pond ramp listed!( And No, there are no caution/warnings notes about Manchaug's low waterlevel!!) You'll also see on the list in the Western District the ramps of 3 Great Ponds who have protected their lakes with a Watershed District: Cheshire Lake, Lake Buel and Goose Pond. (I couldn't resist that bit of trivia!)

This two sided map is an extremely detailed, attractive brochure, listing every state facility in the Commonwealth. A great way to promote tourism - I can see it at all the State rest stops and information centers on the highways!

To view the map and directory: -

To subscribe to MassWildlife News, a free electronic monthly newsletter updating you on research, events, new laws and other agency activities. All you need to do is send an email to:

Thursday, June 26, 2008

"Massachusetts It's all here" even at Manchaug Pond!

Have you ever thought of Manchaug Pond's economic contribution to the area?!

Massachusetts' tourism website for the central part of the state highlights Lake Manchaug in it's boasting opening paragraph!

See for yourself:
Hit the slopes at Wachusett Mountain. Take in the Worcester Sharks, AHL affiliates of the San Jose Sharks. Hang out with Mother Nature at Lake Manchaug and go camping, fishing or boating. Spend the day hiking or snowshoeing, amongst the trees at Otter River State Forest or Wells State Park. Or, kayak along the Blackstone River and know what it really means to "get your adrenaline pumping." With a wide range of forests, ponds and trails easily accessible, Central Massachusetts is home to all of the things you love to do — indoors and out.

here's the link:

Now check out the $$$ economic contribution in dollar$ that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sees as the Value to the Nation of Oxford's Hodges Village natural resource area on the French River for 2006 at this link:

"107,012 visits per year resulted in:

* $1.94 million in visitor spending within 30 miles of the Corps lake.
* 63%of the spending was captured by local economy as direct sales effects.

With multiplier effects, visitor trip spending resulted in:

* $2.10million in total sales.
* $1.15 million in value added (wages & salaries, payroll benefits, profits and rents and indirect business taxes).
* Supported 27 jobs in the local community surrounding the lake."

If we did the math for Manchaug Pond, our numbers would be higher than Hodges as we have more overnight campgrounds and sites with the 4 campgrounds, camp stores.... Trails? Yes, we too have the Mid-State Trail in our watershed. Boat Ramp? Yes, we also have one. We also have day swimmers at the campgrounds and we have day campers at the YMCA facility not to mention the activities at living history museum of Waters Farm.

Interesting isn't it! I happened to speak to a retired couple yesterday who have been at the same campground on Manchaug for 30 years. They were asking about the low waterlevel as they had not seen it like this in all their years! Campers love our lake - do a search and find how many times it is mentioned in blogs! And they will tell you they are regular patrons at Tony's Pizza and other neighboring resturants and coffee shops, they attend our churches, our library, buy food from our stores... How about those fisherman who love Manchaug! They must stop for a coffee on the way in or out...more economic contribution.... hmmm.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Fierce Summer Storms Cause Flooding - but not on Manchaug Pond

Torrential downpours. Dime-size hail. Flash flooding.

But not on Manchaug Pond.
The rain gauge recorded only 1 inch of rain.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Spotted again! Pileated Woodpecker

Early this morning this woodpecker could be heard on the shores of the lake tapping methodically along checking out dead wood for insects. My husband spotted him about 7:30 a.m. in an oak tree along the shore of Manchaug Pond. With the limits of my camera, I was able to get closer and get a picture of him. My husband says it is about time for a new camera with a good zoom lens. This bird is good size - about the size of a crow and the sound of it tapping quite loud. A few years ago these birds nested in the cavity of a very large tree which has since come down in a storm.

Tonight we could hear 3 birds calling to each other from across the channel.
Check out the link to learn more. I also logged him in as being observed here on Manchaug Pond with the eBird site with Cornell Univerity's Ornithology

Saturday, June 21, 2008

On the lake - more activity!

Today saw more activity on the lake. The Boat Ramp reports receipts have been down as visitors are asking to have a look at the waterlevel before they pay. The inch of rain a few days ago brought the lake up about an inch and residents are getting creative - pulling docks closer to the water and pushing pontoon boats across the mud to the water. Here's a little look at blue skies and sunshine on the water!

The Baltimores Vacationing on Manchaug Pond

Baltimore orioles are visiting feeders around the lake.
These photos are from Area 2.

Just a note: MASS Wildlife recommends taking down suet feeders in early spring to deter bears. I did report on a bear earlier who I later found had been seen first in Sutton before going to Northbridge.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Monster Size Fish Head!

MPA Board Meetings... never boring... never know what can be brought up under "New Business!"

Last night a new board member brought a huge fish head to the meeting. It had washed ashore three days ago. He put it in the freezer just so he could show all of us! The picture doesn't do it justice as it was huge!

Too bad DEP didn't get a look at this one. Actually they were looking for live fish for the fish sampling survey yesterday as they went around Manchaug's shore. I heard from another board member they were looking for contaminants. Routine sampling and testing. As lakes go we are clean. We have seen the lake water quality decrease over the years with increased use. Our 319 Nonpoint Source Pollution grant from DEP directly addresses pollutants from stormwater through the construction of 5 new designs - stormdrains, filtering swales, and catch basins along Manchaug Road and Holt Road and at the State Boat Ramp along with a rain garden and pervious paving.

Another major component to the grant is an educational program aimed at homeowners and livestock owners to keep household, landscape and barn pollutants out of the lake. We have already held the DEP Healthy Lawns Workshop and the Blackstone River Coalition presentation this spring. But more information from those presentations later... we'll let this old fish have it day! It was huge!

Arrowheads the Topic Tomorrow at Museum

Manchaug Pond and arrowheads - ask any seasoned resident here on the lake to see his or her collection. My brother-in-law whose Swedish parents had been here way back when, had a collection he mounted in two frames. There must have been over 50 arrow heads in all shapes and sizes. I have even found a few myself! When the lake was down for the 2006 repairs to our gate, plenty of visitors came to search our shores for remnants of the first native settlers around Manchaug Pond. Perhaps this summer with the waterlevel down more will be found.

Interesting too is that Manchaug is named after the Native peoples who lived and fished along her shores. Other area lakes and pond's are named after white men who came later to tame their waters or who owned the property around their shores: Aldrich, Stevens, Singletary, Tucker and Whitin's.

Once again the Robbins Museum in Middleton is offering an educational program of interest to us on Manchaug. Last spring an exhibit of arrowheads collected on our shores was highlighted. Perhaps it is time we paid them a visit!

June 21, 2008 10:30-11:30
Robbins Museum, Middleboro, MA

Is this an arrowhead? That is a question that as a professional archaeologist who enjoys working with the public, I have heard a thousand times from professionals and novices alike. By being introduced to the fine art of flint knapping-the production of stone tools- participants will get the chance to learn to answer that question for themselves. I'll teach you how to make a stone tool and how to use them as well. Band-aids and safety goggles will be provided as needed.

Archaeologist, Craig Chartier, Director of the Massachusetts Archaeological Professionals (MAP) will be offering educational programs for children 6-12 years of age on the third Saturday of every month from 10:30-11:30 at the Robbins Museum of Archaeology in Middleboro, Massachusetts. These programs, which include topics in archaeology, history, and science, consist of a variety of engaging hands-on activities, lively discussions, and useful handouts to further the educational experience. A fee of $7.50 for the first child and $6.00 for each additional child includes all supplies, handouts and museum admission. Parents and siblings are invited to visit the museum and enjoy MAP’s Jr. Explorers area during class time. Preregistration is required as space is limited. For more information or to preregister, visit or contact Craig Chartier at 774-488-2095.


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