Whitin Reservoir Watershed District

103 in favor. 5 opposed. It is final: the property owners of Whitin Reservoir voted last night to form a watershed district – their own municipality within a municipality. The meeting took place in the auditorium of the Douglas high School.

Within one hour’s time, the property owners had asked and answered questions and fears concerning the district’s future, appointed a temporary clerk, amended and adopted by-laws, approved a budget, and elected a Board of Directors for their association which will continue as a social organization.

Specifically, Douglas Selectman Michael Hughes had opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance, next a tally of those in attendance was completed to ensure a quorum was present and then swore in the newly elected temporary clerk. Two gentlemen involved in the 2 year effort (we try not to mention too many names on this blog to ensure privacy!) along with a professional moderator versed in Robert’s Rules took the group of over 100 through each article, making motions and voting to set the organizational structure of the district.

As invited guests, 4 members of the MPA Board of Directors attended and observed an extremely professional, organized and well run first meeting. Our sincerest congratulations go out to the people of Whitin Reservoir!

The MPA pursued the watershed district initiative in concert with Whitin but needed two town’s support which did not happen. The MPA saw a district as a means to give the pond a strong unified voice, simplify administrative tasks associated with our 319 grant, open doors for other grants aimed at land conservation, and position ourselves to act on water level and dam issues in a stronger manner as the majority of the membership saw fit. This district idea came at the recommendation of COLAP, LAPA-West, and other private and Great Ponds which have successfully established watershed districts of their own.

A thunderstorm erupted during the meeting eventually bringing an inch of much needed rain to the very low Manchaug Pond.