Dam Owner Submits New Rule Curve and Operating Plan for Manchaug Pond

The Manchaug Pond dam owner submitted new documents last night at the Sutton Conservation Commission hearing which included a new rule curve and operating & maintenance plan as well as a preliminary impact evaluation. 7 engineers, 1 attorney and the Manchaug and Whitin Reservoir dams caretaker represented the dam owner.
(file photo)

Their proposal includes:

– Cut peak waterlevel by 3 to 4 feet to 515.9 ft water surface elevation.

– No flashboards will be used to retain waterlevel at any time.

– Reduce lake size by 55 acres from 350 acres to 295 acres.

– Establish a riparian buffer around the lake on newly exposed land owned by MRC/Interface to “provide substantial habitats for local flora and fauna.”

– Reduce fall drawdown from 6ft to 3ft.

– Disconnect of stream habitats to protect resident native coldwater fish species such as brook trout from being “exposed to piscivorous, non-indigenous, warmwater fish species as largemouth bass in the impoundment.”

With the mill closed, relocated and up for sale, the dam is no longer needed in the manufacture of cloth, to provide hydro power, or for the mill’s wastewater plant. MRC expressed it now looks to limit liability by ensuring public safety through adoption of new operation methods siting 2001 Office of Dam Safety guidelines. Our sister lake, Whitin Reservoir, was not mentioned as having a similar need or issue.

Sutton residents can view the 2 1/2 hour proceedings on the local cable channel. MPA President Dave Schmidt speaks for Manchaug Pond at the end of the hearing.

For minutes of previous hearing dates visit:
http://www.suttonma.org/Pages/SuttonMA_ConMin/

Comments 3

  1. I am sick after reading that Interface wants to draw down the water level by so much!

    How was this proposal received by the Sutton Conservation Commission? Did anyone get a feel for how they might decide, or have they already decided? Please tell me that this isn’t a done deal!

  2. Dear Reader,
    The hearing was continued. No decisions have been made. Conservation Commission members were very concerned with the new proposal having raised many questions and issues relating to the lake, the ecology around the lake, the flow and downstream habitat, weather models used, the duties of the caretaker, and the Emergency Action Plan. The Commission stated they contacted the state Riverways Program, Office of Dam Safety, Congress of Lakes and Ponds, state Fisheries and Wildlife, the authors of the Mumford River Low Flow Study and other specialists to secure their expert testimony. Under the Wetlands Protection Act, the chairman also stated that Interface was required to fund the hiring of an independent environmental engineering firm for the ConCom.

    This is not over. The MPA and its members will continue to work hard educating those involved about Manchaug Pond.

    Stay with us!
    the Corresponding Secretary

  3. Interesting that they can afford to hire and send 7 engineers and a lawyer to be at that meeting but are refusing to spend the money for peer review which is a small request of the Con Comm considering the importance of this issue!

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