Saturday, January 18, 2014
Manchaug Pond Foundation in Sutton receives EPA grant to protect watershed
SUTTON — Residents around the 380-acre Manchaug Pond bordering Sutton and Douglas are moving forward with plans to restore the lake’s water quality with the help of a water protection grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state Department of Environmental Protection.
Ms. Henry said the grant will fund projects to filter the nitrogen, phosphorus and “total suspended solids,” a term for the microscopic flotsam and jetsam from the roads, including bits of tire rubber, that muck up the water.
“All of that, especially after a big rainfall, ends up getting flushed right into the lake,” Ms. Henry said. “This will end up capturing and filtering it.”
Specifically, the money will go to planting rain gardens and restoring vegetation on public and private property at five sites around the pond to better filter and absorb runoff, and improving storm drains so stormwater will flow from roads to appropriate collection and outflow sites.
In addition, the group is working with Whittier Farms, which sits along tributaries to Manchaug Pond, to plant blueberry bushes and revegetate a buffer zone to catch runoff. The Whittier family will create a rain garden to catch runoff from the roof of its milk store. Ms. Henry said the Whittier rain garden will serve to educate the public about water protection.
The Manchaug Pond Foundation will also conduct public outreach and distribute educational materials about restricting fertilizer use. Phosphorus from fertilizer and animal waste contributes to excessive plant and algae growth in freshwater ponds, which reduces oxygen for other aquatic life and can lead to murky “dead zones.” Nitrogen from fertilizer, septic systems and other sources does the same as it flows into saltwater.
Ms. Henry said that the foundation plans to develop a watershed protection toolkit with educational resources for all ages. The group intends to post the material on its website so it will be available after the three-year grant expires.
Engineering plans for the work have been largely completed, and the foundation is obtaining Conservation Commission permits to begin the ground projects in spring.
Contact Susan Spencer at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @SusanSpencerTG.