MORE DEAD: Mussel & Clam Shells Litter State Boat Ramp

I had heard about this from a fisherman and from a Board member who lives a few houses up from the State Ramp.

Hundreds, perhaps thousands of tiny empty shells on the shore aside of the launch area on Torrey Road. Here are photos taken March 20 and 22, 2009.

Do you see them? They are teeney tiny shells. Open and empty.

My guess is the invasive exotic Asian Clam – this is not a mussel and the location of the state boat ramp makes me think it was brought in and I haven’t encountered them before. I have an email into the Massachusetts Weed Watchers Program to get them identified and to get myself trained on exotic invasive species. (If you want to attend a workshop, let me know: InfoMPA@charter.net) In any case, their name doesn’t matter. What matters is they once lived here with the mussels pictured below and now they are dead.

The dollar bill gives you a reference as to their size.

This last photo was taken at the end of the walkway to the left of the boat launch through the water. These are mussel shells which looked to be about 1 1/2 inches long. It is extremely common to see mussels shell 3 – 3 1/2 inches long on the shore in a cache among the rocks or on the underside of a dock after a muskrat has had a feast. But I don’t remember seeing small ones this size.

The cause of death? As Interface’s engineer Stantec points out in a March 4th letter to SCC concerning our gone and severly declined spring peeper and bullfrog populations in 4 cove areas, the same holds true with our mussel population… “Stantec is not aware of any on-going studies or reports documenting amphibian populations around the reservoir. We are also not aware of any documented report from any local, state or federal agency linking a decline in amphibian populations to the lower water levels from this spring.”

Okay. How about an independent study, and winter drawdown…

Dated September 16, 2008, the MPA presented written testimony to the Sutton Conservation Commission siting 2003 recommendations from Lee Lyman of Lycott Environmental with respect to Interface’s winter drawdown for Manchaug Pond which read:

“Gradually begin mid-September to early October 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 2008 drawdown began the second week of December just before the hearvy rains on the 13th. Too late for the slow moving mussels and clams. Manchaug Pond is also home to crayfish, turtles and amphiblians…

If you notice anything out-of-the-ordinary, any adverse impact to the lake ecosystem, notify the Sutton and Douglas Conservation Commissions.

Further, the state Generic Environmental Impact Report can also be referenced for information on drawdowns: http://www.mass.gov/dcr/waterSupply/lakepond/geir.htm

Comments 6

  1. I agree that calling Sutton Conservation Commission to report anything out of the ordinary or any adverse impact to the environment is needed, but why stop there? Why not also call Phil Nadeau with the Department of Environmental Protection and every state politian, local newspapers, local and state news channels and cable news outlet too? The more people that are aware of Interface Global’s actions at the pond, the better it will be for the pond and it’s creatures large and small. Let’s make sure that Manchaug Pond is in the thoughts and prayers of every household in America. Folks, it is time to get seriously organized. They say that one person can make a difference, but can you imagine what we all can accomplish together?

    So if you do see anything adversely affecting the creatures on the pond, please make those calls to the authorities immediately. Whatever you do, don’t pick up or move any of the dead fish, turtles, mussels or the like. If you can, document your findings with video or photographs just in case someone/something comes along and cleans up before the authorities arrive to document the situation.

    Elinor

  2. I also noticed the same shell problems in my area of the lake that is located directly across from the great Blue Berry Island. many creatures including the crawfish, frogs, ducks and other species will be effected by these shells dying at an alarming rate. We are talking by the millions. Soon the species will die or go else where and then the environment dies with it. I can’t understand why the people of Sutton and Douglas haven’t showed more concern or realize how serious this is? People time to step it up or we will lose the best place in these two towns that have to offer! “Join In”

  3. Elinor, we DO NOT want to flood Phil Nadeau’s phone with calls nor that of his boss. They have enough pressure and are very responsive to us. They have met with us, with others, visited the lake, taken photos, documented fishkills, dried coves, exposed bank, checked the dam, etc. They are all working very hard for us doing an incredible job. Let’s let them do just that. The ball is in another court at this moment anyway.

    Timing is important.

    Also I have found that the staff people in all these agencies are people just like you and me who also have a great love for their work, and who live on a lake, serve on their Conservation Commission are fisherman and hunters, and many who even recreation here – Manchaug is their pond as well as yours and mine! They are allies!

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