Manchaug Pond Foundation

We are the voice of Manchaug Pond:  shoreline and watershed residents and property owners, campers and fisherman, recreational boaters, member and friends from towns stretching from the lake to across the country from New England to Florida and as far west as California.

In advocacy and action, we come together as the Manchaug Pond Foundation, a 501 (c)(3)  non-profit conservation public charity, dedicated to the preservation and correct use of this 380-acre Manchaug Pond located in the towns of Sutton and Douglas and its 4,288 acre watershed stretching from Oxford, Sutton and Douglas.  For 50 years, the members of the Manchaug Pond Foundation and its predecessor, Manchaug Pond Association have served a leadership role as stewards of the lake and watershed, advocates and educators for its proper use and preservation as part of the Blackstone River system.

Our History



These conservation efforts were started in 1967 when some 35 member families owning property bordering the lake formed its parent organization, the Manchaug Pond Association. They came together in an effort over the conservation of land, saving it from further development. Today, 100 member families and countless users and friends meet the needs presented in the 21st century. The Manchaug Pond Foundation’s actions address a variety of issues, ranging from operation of the dam to water quality and invasive species to wildlife and habitat conservation.

Annual Meeting promotes safe boating

Our Causes & Accomplishments


Dam & Water Level Preservation

Ongoing ~ MAINTENANCE: Working with the Town of Sutton as to the water level and dam needs to ensure public safety, flood control, recreation, and aesthetics as well as healthy fisheries and ecosystems.

2012 ~ DAM OWNERSHIP: Successfully identified, negotiated, and secured an owner for the Manchaug Pond Dam ensuring the future preservation of Manchaug Pond, a public great pond of the Commonwealth. In August 2012, ownership of the dam was transferred to the Town of Sutton from Interface Global with a $350,000 donation to be held in a dam maintenance fund for future needs.

2010 ~ FLOW RIGHTS: Received the flow rights in Douglas and Sutton for Manchaug Pond from Interace Global with the deed now held by Manchaug Pond Foundation.

Safe Boating & Public Access

Ongoing ~ VESSEL SAFETY CHECKS: Annual event held at the State Boat Ramp in cooperation with the Worcester County Sail & Power Squadron. A certified examiner and Foundation volunteers provide one-on-one inspection of boats and education of boaters as to equipment needs, rules and regulations, as well as boating and navigating tips.




1990 ~ TOWN MANAGEMENT OF PUBLIC RAMP: Secured town management of the state-owned public access ramp.

Water Quality

Ongoing ~ ON-LAKE TESTING AND MONITORING: In 2015, renewed and expanded decades-long on-lake water quality testing program which includes testing for water clarity, phosphorus and nitrates.

As part of the Blackstone River Coalition Watershed-Wide Volunteer Water Quality Testing with over a decade of date, we provide volunteers to test at the lake inlet, outlet and up in the watershed.

 Ongoing~ WEED WATCHERS AQUATIC PLANT SURVEY TEAMS: The MPF has two trained teams of volunteers who annually survey Manchaug Pond in a 50 plus point grid identifying all submerged aquatic plants, monitoring existing plant varieties, tracking size of weed bed growth, watchful for new invasives, and following up in kayak’s and snorkel!
With non-native invasives, early detection, identification and eradication is the goal!
Formal training received by DCR Lakes and Ponds Program’s Tom Flannery and Jim Straub as well as staff from Lycott Environmental.

2014-2016 ~ EPA/DEP S. 319 NPS POLLUTION GRANT AWARD: Secured a second Non-Point Source Pollution Grant Award of $208,525 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to make water quality improvements within the watershed. This project will result in construction and employment of low-impact structures and will implement stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) to reduce stormwater flows and associated nutrients, pathogens, and sediment from entering Manchaug Pond. An education component develops a resource toolbox for teachers, parents, and community outreach to children. To date, MPF members, teachers, homeschoolers, and environmental educators are working together to develop the toolbox.

2007-10 ~ EPA/DEP S. 319 NPS POLLUTION GRANT AWARD: Secured and completed our first Non-Point Source Pollution Improvement Grant Award of $219,370 from EPA and MassDEP. Seven locations of pollution were addressed with the implementation of stormwater BMPs at the public access boat ramp and along private and public roadsides in Douglas and Sutton. An educational component in cooperation with UMASS Amherst’s Mass Aggie Program brought proper horsekeeping and manure management techniques to the dozen horse farms in the area and others throughout the state. Additionally, educators from MassDEP provided alternative approaches to homeowners for lawn and landscape care.

2008 ~ METACOMET LAND TRUST LEADERSHIP AWARD: The Metacomet Land Trust Board of Directors formally recognized the Manchaug Pond Association for leadership shown in contributions protecting Manchaug Pond and its environment through the programs implemented with the securing of an S. 319 Non-point Source Pollution Grant as well as the time and effort contributed by the members in maintaining the health of this vital body of water.

Watershed Conservation/Protection

2015  ~   PRIVATE FOUNDATION GRANT: Secured $2,000 in funding for the purchase of landscape maintenance equipment for use in the upkeep of our conservation properties.

2013  ~  BEATON FARM ACQUISITION: 100 acres of prime watershed property saved from development as part of a Chapter 61 acquisition with the town of Sutton. The MPF successfully purchased the Beaton Farm property located in Sutton and Douglas preserving forests, fields and farm including 875 ft of forested shoreline, two ponds, springs and streams, wetlands and a vernal pool, as well as the home, barns and working horse stable and arena with a scenic roadside overlook to Manchaug Pond. This acquisition does much to protect the water sources in the western hillside abutting the lake.